11 Foods With A Bad Reputation That You Can Feel Good About Eating

Cheese, carbs, gluten — none of these things are inherently bad. INSIDER

It seems like there are so many rules about what you can and can't or should and shouldn't eat.

Nutrition doesn't have to be so complicated. Plenty of foods that people think of as unhealthy really aren't that bad, and can even be good for you.

As a general rule, food — real food, with as little processing or packaging as possible — is not bad for you. You can eat too much of many foods, especially foods that aren't vegetables, and most of us could improve our diets by eating more plant-based foods.

But that doesn't mean eating carbs or fatty foods are off-limits. Many foods that have been demonized, like those containing gluten or dairy, can be important parts of a healthy diet for most people.

Here's what the science actually says about ingredients like salt, caffeine, and fat — and why you shouldn't worry about eating them, as long as it's in moderation.

Let's get straight to the good stuff — cheese can be part of a healthy diet.

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Sure, cheese is often packed with saturated fat. It can be full of sodium too, and shouldn't make up the majority of your plate. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't eat one of the most delightful foods on the planet.

Cheese is nutrient-packed. It's also a good source of protein, calcium, vitamin B12, and healthy fatty acids that may lower diabetes risk. As a fermented food, it may help boost levels of good gut bacteria that are essential for health. Studies also indicate that cheese intake seems to be associated with a lower risk for heart disease and it may even lower levels of bad cholesterol, though more research is needed.

Eggs are excellent sources of protein and won't raise your cholesterol.

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Eggs are fantastic sources of protein and they are full of other nutrients, including choline, a nutrient that's essential for brain development.

But eggs are also full of cholesterol, which for many years led researchers to encourage people to limit egg intake. Fortunately, that dietary recommendation has changed.

It turns out that for the vast majority of people, dietary cholesterol (from foods you eat) doesn't really have much of an effect on blood cholesterol.

Coffee — and caffeine in general — may provide significant health benefits and reduce cancer and liver disease risk.

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You'll often hear people say that they're trying to limit themselves to one cup of coffee a day or to cut it out entirely.

But when you look at the health benefits associated with coffee consumption, you might wonder why. A significant body of research shows that drinking coffee is associated with a longer life. People who drink more coffee tend to have lower risk for heart disease, various cancers, liver conditions, and degenerative brain diseases.

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