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FEMAIL breaks down the guilty treats that can actually be good for you

Anyone who has attempted to diet knows to cut down on carbs, avoid fatty foods and to pour their beer down the drain.

But a closer look at common dieting wisdom makes you question whether these things are as bad as we think.

In fact, much of the food we consider to be ‘unhealthy’ is actually packed with nutritional goodness.

With this in mind, and in the spirit of ‘everything in moderation’, FEMAIL has broken down the guilty treats that can actually be good for you.

Cut it out? While ditching bread is the first step of many diets, it does contain useful nutrients and fibreCut it out? While ditching bread is the first step of many diets, it does contain useful nutrients and fibre

Cut it out? While ditching bread is the first step of many diets, it does contain useful nutrients and fibre

In moderation: Even alcohol, often the poster child for bad habits, can have some health benefitsIn moderation: Even alcohol, often the poster child for bad habits, can have some health benefits

In moderation: Even alcohol, often the poster child for bad habits, can have some health benefits

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      The first thing targeted in any diet is our intake of starchy carbohydrates such as bread or potatoes.

      But wholegrain breads are choc-full of vitamin-laden germ and endosperm particles, and fibre-rich bran (important for keeping us regular).

      And while they may not do us so much good when they are deep fried in oil, there is a reason potatoes have become a diet staple.

      Potatoes are an excellent source of Vitamin B and are also packed with potassium, niacin and dietary fibre.

      It is true that alcohol is packed with sugar that can make it hard to rein in an expanding waist line.

      But there is also some benefit to indulging in the occasional tipple now and then.

      Beer is laden with vitamins and minerals such as potassium, magnesium and selenium and wine contains Vitamin B6, Vitamin B2 and niacin.

      Research has indicated that both beer and wine, when consumed in moderation, could be able to have a positive impact on the risk of stroke.

      Protein packed: Eggs contain cholesterol but are also full of proteinProtein packed: Eggs contain cholesterol but are also full of protein

      Protein packed: Eggs contain cholesterol but are also full of protein

      Sweet: Although bananas are full of sugar, they are a great source of potassiumSweet: Although bananas are full of sugar, they are a great source of potassium

      Sweet: Although bananas are full of sugar, they are a great source of potassium

      It is wise to limit your egg intake because they are high in cholesterol that can block up your arteries.

      But keep in mind that eggs, and the yolk in particular, are also a nutrient-rich food that contain at least 11 different vitamins and minerals.

      They are also a favourite of body builders and those looking to bulk up for the beach on account of their huge content of quality protein.

      Many dietitians warn against bananas because they are laden with natural sugars and mildly acidic.

      Eating a banana on its own can produce a spike in blood sugar levels, which inevitably leads to a crash later on.

      But carbohydrates aside they are also a great source of potassium, Vitamin B6 and even hard-to-get minerals such as copper and manganese.

      Beefing up: Red meat contains stearic acid which can have a positive impact on the risk of heart diseaseBeefing up: Red meat contains stearic acid which can have a positive impact on the risk of heart disease

      Beefing up: Red meat contains stearic acid which can have a positive impact on the risk of heart disease

      Peanut butter is another guilty treat that many assume must be bad.

      And while it is true that it does contain a high level of fat and a heap of calories, much of this fat is of the type we need in our diets.

      Peanut butter is laden with monounsaturated fats, which can act to lower our risk of heart disease.

      It is hard not to feel guilty about scoffing down a juicy beef burger or a fatty steak.

      In reality, these foods contain high-quality protein and a form of saturated fat that suggests they aren’t as unhealthy as we sometimes think.

      Stearic acid, which is found in beef and pork, is one of many saturated fatty acids found in red meat.

      Research suggests stearic acid can help to lower the risk of heart disease by reducing the level of cholesterol in the blood.

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