Foods With
A Bad Rap



You couldn’t miss New York Magazine’s recent cover story, “The Omnivore’s Guilt Trip”. Did it inspire questions! Why are some foods getting a bad rap? And why aren’t food brands playing on this more by going contrarian and using it to their advantage? There’s a host of foods out there that these days live under a bad sign. Like egg yolks, chocolate and dairy. But are they really baddies? Or is it just speculation? We believe it often may be the latter. To help make our case, everyone at the studio put in their two cents on why some foods shouldn’t be shunned. By no means are we saying go out and wave banners in support of these foods. All we’re saying is some things deserve at least a second look, or perhaps a second taste


Offal. If you eat meat you should respect the animal and not waste any part of it.


Alcohol. For many, its bad rap exists because of its morning-after effects. But despite its sometime bad reputation drinking alcohol in moderation can slash the risk for heart attacks, cardiac disease, diabetes and certain kinds of cancer. In addition, red wine and dark beers are antioxidant-rich, which may make certain cocktails even better for you. So there you have it. Cheers!


Pretzels with ice cream, crumbled potato chips on sandwiches, and rigatoni omelets. Two unlikely foods paired together are often the victim of negative assumptions and responses. My advice — Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!


Egg Yolks. By far more nutritious than egg whites, they are a source of 14 vitamins and minerals. Compare that to egg whites, which provide just three, only one of which at higher levels than yolks. They’re also a source of antioxidants and healthy fat phosphides, which promote cardiovascular, metabolic, and cognitive health. But most important of all, they are way tastier than their counterpart.


Chocolate. Everybody loves it. And if you don’t, well, you’re probably a little weird. Chocolate is pretty addictive and quite delicious, but not all chocolate is that good for you. Luckily, I’m a fan of dark chocolate, and it’s the healthier kind you can eat. Dark has many benefits, most of which derive from its high amounts of cocoa. Cocoa is rich in flavonoids, a unique class of antioxidants that’s really good for you. Flavonoids have been shown to lower blood pressure, regulate cholesterol levels, help improve vascular function and reduce cell damage usually involved with heart disease. The more cocoa your chocolate contains, the higher the flavonoid content. Dark chocolate FTW.


Potatoes. They often get a bad rap, but when baked, roasted or grilled they actually have a lot of benefits. Potatoes are rich in potassium, a good source of fiber, and provide resistant starch, a type of carb that cannot be digested and helps keep you full while regulating blood sugar levels.


Fried Chicken! A little bit of fast food actually helps athletes recover following an exhausting workout. A study recently published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism showed fast food such as fried chicken is just as efficient as a protein bar or sports drink when it comes to glycogen recovery. It’s all about balancing the bad with the good!


Trash cuts. Some of the most underappreciated foods are the trash cuts of an animal. Growing up, my family would cook with tripe, lamb’s head, pig’s feet, and other unpopular and inexpensive cuts. Too often these recipes are recognized for their waste-not mentality, and rarely celebrated for their robust flavors, unique textures and distinctive history. 


Potato chips and ketchup. IT’S THE SAME THING AS FRENCH FRIES!


Colorado candy – nuff said.


Ramen Noodles. Growing up I ate ramen almost every day. Mind you, I can’t defend it against the bad rap it gets. But I can defend its deliciousness. Fun fact: In 1958 Momofuku Ando, the creator of Nissin Ramen products, invented “Chicken Ramen”. With food scarce in Japan after World War II, he recognized the need for an instant snack that could be eaten easily and anywhere, When it arrived on Japanese supermarket shelves, however, it was seen as a very expensive product compared to fresh udon noodles, which sold for one-sixth its cost. Luxury item or not, ramen will always be my personal indulgence during late nights and stressful moments. Long live Top Ramen.


Let’s hear it for slimy foods. Their taste, texture or smell often offend. To many folks the mere idea of them is skeevy. But that’s their loss. Fact is, they’re missing out on some of the most distinctive, tastiest things ever. Here are a few of my faves: Squid, Jellyfish, Octopus, Sea Cucumber, Eel, Oysters, Sea Urchin, Clams, Seaweed, Snails, Mussels, Liver, Okra, Eggplant, Mountain Yam, Fermented Soybeans (Natto), Prickly Pear (Nopales), Dragon Fruit, Passion Fruit, Persimmon, Durian. There is, however, one fellow traveler on the spongy side I cannot stand despite having given it a try several times over the years: Tripe. My dad loved the stuff. Go figure.


Cream, in moderation, is not bad for your health. A little cream goes a long way, and the fat it contains is satiating, not to mention delicious. In addition, there are many new research studies that say fat science is all wrong and saturated fat may actually be beneficial. My grandfather never shied away from foods like cream and lived until 94.


Food brands should be looking for opportunities to flip the “Bad” message and use it to their advantage. They can change the mindset of their consumers by turning those negative thoughts into positive affirmations. What was once considered bad can actually be good, if not great.

  • 212.994.8500

  • 27 West 24th Street, Suite #600 New York, New York 10010