Tips About Foods and Types of Foods
The information and tips on this page are
from various sources such as books, magazines, and Web sites. These tips are not to be taken as personal
or medical advice. Please
see the disclaimer at the bottom of the page.
Pages with other tips:
General Tips for Everyone
Tips for Weight Loss
Tips about Exercise
Tips about Reading Nutrition Labels
Also see the
Controversies About Foods page for
differing opinions about whether or not certain foods or types of food
are good for you or bad for you.
One or two servings a day of some alcoholic beverages is okay beginning in Phase 2.
It's best to drink during a meal or shortly afterward, since a stomach
full of food will slow the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream
and keep your blood sugar levels steadier.
contain more sugars than others, so it's best to only drink those that
have the lowest sugar content. You should have no more than 2 servings
daily. A serving is:
wine, white wine, champagne—3 to 4 ounces
gin, rum, bourbon, tequila—1 1/2 ounces
dessert wines, brandy, port wine, liqueurs, sherry, and wine cookers.
The June 9, 2004, issue of
The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
reported a new research study focusing on the antioxidant capacities of
over 100 common foods. This
study is the largest, most comprehensive analysis to date of the
antioxidant content of commonly consumed foods.
Click here for charts of
the top 50
antioxidant foods and foods listed by category.
The new study is more complete and accurate
than previous USDA antioxidant data and
includes more foods than the previous study, the researchers say. They
analyzed antioxidant levels in over 100 different foods, including
fruits and vegetables. In addition, the new study includes data on
spices and nuts for the first time.
Antioxidants are naturally
occurring nutrients that help prevent heart disease, cancer, and aging.
Little is known about how antioxidants work and what affects their ability
to function properly. Scientists believe that some antioxidants are more
potent than others, and their potency can be affected by how they're
cooked or how they're digested. For example, the antioxidants in
blueberries lose their potency when cooked, while the antioxidants in
tomatoes become more potent when cooked.
Currently, there are no government
guidelines for consumers on how many antioxidants to consume and what
kind of antioxidants to consume in their daily diet, as is the case with
vitamins and minerals. For now, USDA officials continue to encourage
consumers to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables for better health.
Butter and Margarine
For information on the debate about butter vs. margarine, see the
Controversies About Foods
Caffeine (in coffee, tea, chocolate)
Caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee
are fine, as long as you limit them to one or two cups a
day (how many depends on how your body reacts). Caffeine stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin, which can lead
to unhealthy cravings. Still, the effect is small, so enjoy your morning
pick-me-up, then switch to decaf (unless your doctor has told you to
eliminate all caffeine from your diet).
coffee lower chances for Parkinson’s disease?
During the past decade, medical
studies have explored the relationship between caffeine,
particularly in coffee, with the development of
Parkinson's disease (PD), a neurological disorder that
occurs when levels of dopamine, a key neurotransmitter,
decrease. PD symptoms that result include trembling,
faulty coordination and difficulty in speaking.
and 1.5 million Americans have Parkinson's. It affects
both men and women (though men are in a slight majority)
and all ethnic groups. Most are 60 or older and no cause
and no cure are known, although some treatments, from
medication to surgery, have proven helpful. There is a
theory is that caffeine increases the amount of dopamine
in the brain. Caffeine occurs naturally in coffee, tea
and chocolate, and is added to some medicines and soft
Controversies About Foods page.
Terms used to describe carbs:
good, bad, simple, complex, refined, natural, high glycemic, low glycemic.
Good carbs are those that
have not been processed and contain a fair amount of fiber. These food
types include oatmeal, whole grain breads and cereals (sugar free),
legumes, vegetables, and fruit.
Bad carbs are those that
have been processed (refined). These food types include white bread,
white pasta, white rice, ice cream, cakes, pastries, candy, sodas with
There have many studies in recent
years on the health benefits of moderate amounts of dark
chocolate. It is a potent antioxidant and can lower mild
high blood pressure. Dark chocolate contains plant
phenols, specifically cocoa phenols, compounds known to lower
blood pressure. Dark chocolate also helps blood vessels dilate
which allows blood to flow more freely.
Some chocolate facts
Chocolate is a bean
(sometimes called a fruit).
It originates from the tropical cacao tree. The cacao
pods contain cacao beans (sometimes called nuts). Most, if not all, beans have high
levels of antioxidants.
cocoa has been
treated with an alkalizing agent to modify its color and give it
a more mild flavor. This process was developed by Dutch chocolate
maker Conrad van Houten, along with his development of the
method of removing fat from the cacao beans by hydraulic press
around 1828. This
processing reduces the the antioxidants
and phenols in chocolate.
cocoa has a more intense taste than Dutch processed cocoa, as no
alkalis are added to the cocoa. Ghiradelli, somewhere around
1865, discovered that by hanging a bag of chocolate in a warm
room, the cocoa butter would drip off, leaving behind a residue
that can then be converted into ground chocolate. This is the
technique that became known as the Broma process.
Chocolates made in Europe
are generally richer in cocoa phenols than those made in the
powder provides the most benefits.
to eat chocolate in a healthy way:
● Eat dark
chocolate, not milk chocolate or white chocolate. But remember
that just because chocolate is dark, it does not mean it is
label of the chocolate product before you buy it. Some of these
products can be very high in calories. fat, and sugar, which
offsets any benefits of the chocolate itself. Even dark
chocolate products can be a concentrated source of calories and
things will seriously offset any health benefit.
● Chocolate should
have a cocoa content of at least 60 percent or higher,
and many sources say it should be at least 70 percent cocoa.
Chocolate should be sweetened with sugar substitutes because
sugar products have a negative effect on your immune system.
However, if you are a very healthy person, small amounts of
sugar, occasionally, will probably not be a problem.
chocolate with milk products or chocolate that is made with
Again, read the
label. Milk can interfere with the absorption of antioxidants
from chocolate and can, therefore, cancel the potential health
benefits that can be derived from eating moderate amounts of
dark chocolate. (There is also speculation that dairy products
could also inhibit the body’s absorption of flavonoids from
other other antioxidant-rich foods as well, including tea, fruit, and
Don’t replace healthy foods with chocolate. Be sure you get your
quota (5 to 9 servings per day) of fruits and veggies—these are
also powerful antioxidants, and some of them have other
chemicals that are even more powerful than those in cocoa. They
also have fiber and other benefits which chocolate does not
if possible. Over 30 different pesticides are used when
growing cocoa beans, which are one of the world's most heavily
sprayed crops. Certified Organic chocolate is made from cocoa
plants that were not sprayed with chemical pesticides or
herbicides, which could leave behind a residue in your
Here are sources that will
substantiate these facts about chocolate.
Long and details
article containing everything you could possibly want to know about
Milk may counter chocolate's heart benefits.
Evidence continues to mount in favor of
dark chocolate and its heart healthy benefits, but new research
indicates that when consumed with milk, whether in the chocolate or
drunk at the same time, all the benefits disappear.
By Gaia Vince
August 27, 2003
Eating chocolate can boost the level of heart-protecting antioxidants in
the blood, but consuming milk at the same time cancels the potential
health benefits, according to a new study.
The truth about
the health-benefits of chocolate is finally reaching our ears. However,
the whole truth should be told. Chocolate is healthy if it is dark with
no added dairy products/milk or refined sugar.
Be choosy about chocolate.
Coconut oil is a medium-chain
triglyceride (MCT) oil—an oil made from coconuts that increases calorie
and fat burning. Studies have shown that when people switched from other
oils to MCT, they lost up to 36 pounds in a year—without cutting
Coconut oil should meet
these requirements: no GMO
ingredients, bleaching, deodorizing, refining, or hydrogenation;
preferably organic and from fresh coconuts (not dried).
Also see the
Controversies About Foods page.
The list is long: powdered,
nondairy creamers; powdered nondairy light creamers; nondairy liquid
creamers; fat free (skim) milk, 1% milk, 2% milk, whole milk; evaporated
nonfat milk; powdered nonfat milk; fat free half and half; regular half
and half; pure cream. Many of these are sweetened and therefore to be
Which are healthier? One thing to remember—just because a particular
book says that it's "good" on a particular diet, doesn't mean that it's
good for your health in general. Read labels and avoid anything that is on the
Foods to Avoid list, such as hydrogenated oils, corn syrups, and other sugars.
This eliminates the powdered nondairy creamers and most of the liquid
creamers. It also eliminates fat free half and half, which contains corn
syrup (regular half and half is okay).
Condiments and Spices
Condiments—Some condiments, such as
ketchup and barbecue sauces, have added sugars and should be avoided.
However, there are low carb brands available that have no added sugars.
Spices—It's my opinion
that the small amounts of sugar in jars of mixed spices will do no harm.
However, it's easy to make your own combinations. All of the Mrs. Dash
spice mixes (and store brands that are like Mrs. Dash) are sugar free as
well as salt free. You can add your own salt and other sugar-free spices
Six Reasons Why Corn is Making You Fat.
Excerpt: “In the form of high-fructose corn syrup, corn
is creeping its way into Americans’ diets in increasing amounts and
adding inches to our waistlines. Find out why corn, which has become a
dietary staple to Americans, is likely contributing to the obesity
epidemic we are now facing.”
Campaign Against Genetically Engineered
See specific dairy foods (milk,
it's the perfect protein.
One large egg is a significant source of a number of vitamins and
minerals. (Eggs are high in cholesterol, but the chief villain in
raising blood-cholesterol levels is not the cholesterol in our diets,
but saturated fats.) In particular, egg yolks are rich in the pigment
zeaxanthin, which seems to help protect eyes from macular degeneration—a
deterioration of a key part of the retina at the back of the eye—a
leading cause of blindness in people over 65. From
Information about the Omega Egg. What's the difference in these and
“regular” eggs? The producers simply feed hens with flaxseed instead of
corn. This is a good thing.
Fat and Oils
Also see the
Controversies About Foods page and the
Olive and Olive
Oil entry below.
There are two major types of fat:
saturated fat and unsaturated fat.
raises blood cholesterol. To help decrease LDL, known as the bad
cholesterol, substitute unsaturated fats for saturated fats.
can be divided into two types: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are considered healthier fats.
This is because they don't raise blood cholesterol. They may even lower
cholesterol when eaten as part of a diet that's low in saturated fat.
Definitions of the types of fats, from the National Institute of
Saturated fats: These
are the biggest dietary cause of high LDL levels ("bad cholesterol").
When looking at a food label, pay very close attention to the % of
saturated fat and avoid or limit any foods that are high (for example,
over 20% saturated fat). Saturated fats are found in animal products
such as butter, cheese, whole milk, ice cream, cream, and fatty meats.
They are also found in some vegetable oils -- coconut, palm, and palm
kernel oils. (Note: most other vegetable oils contain unsaturated fat
and are healthy.)
Unsaturated fats: Fats
that help to lower blood cholesterol if used in place of saturated fats.
However, unsaturated fats have a lot of calories, so you still need to
limit them. There are two types: mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated.
Most (but not all!) liquid vegetable oils are unsaturated. (The
exceptions include coconut, palm, and palm kernel oils.)
Fats that help to lower blood cholesterol if used in place of saturated
fats. However, mono-unsaturated fats have a lot of calories, so you
still need to limit them. Examples include olive and canola oils.
Fats that help to lower blood cholesterol if used in place of saturated
fats. However, polyunsaturated fats have a lot of calories, so you still
need to limit them. Examples include safflower, sunflower, corn, and
Trans fatty acids: These
fats form when vegetable oil hardens (a process called hydrogenation)
and can raise LDL levels. They can also lower HDL levels ("good
cholesterol"). Trans-fatty acids are found in fried foods, commercial
baked goods (donuts, cookies, crackers), processed foods, and
Hydrogenated: refers to
oils that have become hardened (such as hard butter and margarine).
Foods made with hydrogenated oils should be avoided because they contain
high levels of trans fatty acids, which are linked to heart disease.
(Look at the ingredients in the food label.) The terms "hydrogenated"
and "saturated" are related; an oil becomes saturated when hydrogen is
added (i.e., becomes hydrogenated).
Refers to oils that have become partially hardened. Foods made with
partially hydrogenated oils should be avoided because they contain high
levels of trans fatty acids, which are linked to heart disease. (Look at
the ingredients in the food label.)
Good Fat vs Bad
Research done in the 1950s
concluded that all fat was bad. And still today many people equate fat
with weight gain, clogged arteries, high blood pressure, etc. However,
certain fats actually help to prevent those conditions and are essential
to good health. Early researchers failed to distinguish between
saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. They assumed at
the time that all fats were unhealthy because they raised serum
cholesterol levels. All hydrogenated oils produce higher serum
cholesterol levels and contribute to greater oxidation and free radicals
in the body. In fact, further research has shown that excess amounts of
trans-fatty acids (found in hydrogenated vegetable oils) increase the
risk of degenerative diseases and other age-related maladies.
A report on trans fats from the
Institute of Medicine
concluded that there is no safe level of trans fats in the diet.
A long article from the Harvard School of
Public Health about Fats and Cholesterol. There are a couple of good
charts on this page.
This Web page explains saturated fats,
monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats.
Article from the American Heart
Association on trans fatty acids.
Fat, fats and fatty acids can make you ...FAT.
Dangerous to health but also heart healthy?
Foods page for the pros and cons of various types of fats and
is dietary fiber?
Fiber was called
“roughage” in times past. It is the component in food that is not broken
down in the gastrointestinal tract, but which may be metabolized by the
bacteria in the lower gut. This fiber includes hemicelluloses, pectins,
gums, mucilages, cellulose, and lignin, the only noncarbohydrate
component of dietary fiber.
Soluble vs. Insoluble.
Fiber is divided into two broad
categories: soluble and insoluble.
Both soluble and insoluble fiber are
undigested and therefore not absorbed into the bloodstream. Instead of
being used for energy, fiber is excreted from our bodies.
Both are important
for health, digestion, and preventing diseases.
Most foods contain some of each type of
fiber, and you can easily buy fiber supplements that contain primarily
soluble or insoluble fiber.
● Soluble fiber
attracts water and turns to gel during digestion. This slows digestion
and helps your body absorb vital nutrients from foods. Soluble fiber can
be found in
legumes (beans and peas), nuts, seeds,
brown rice, oat bran,
oatmeal, barley, rye, and some vegetables and fruits
(apples, oranges, pears, peaches, and grapes
are good sources, and prunes are also high in soluble fiber).
● Insoluble fiber
passes through our intestines
largely intact. This
adds bulk to the stool, helping foods pass more quickly through the
stomach and intestines. Insoluble
be found in
whole grains, wheat bran, brown rice,
seeds, fruit, vegetables, and legumes.
How much fiber do we need? You should be getting 25 to 35
grams (or more, up to 60 grams) of fiber per day (men usually need more than women).
A very high fiber intake (typically, more than 60 grams on a regular
basis) causes your body to lose some important minerals. However, it's
been reported that our “ancestors” ate up to 100 grams of fiber per day!
Getting enough fiber.
two ways to increase your fiber intake: Choose foods high in fiber, or
add fiber supplements to your routine.
Benefits of fiber. A
high fiber diet can give your energy levels a lift and can help lower
your risks of diabetes, heart disease, and possibly cancer. It has been
effectively used for the treatment of diverticulosis and prevents
constipation and hemorrhoids. It can
help you control your weight.
An increase in fiber should be
accompanied by an increase in water.
drinking enough water has consequences—painful constipation, bloating,
and gas. See How much
water should we consume daily?
to help determine your own water needs.
● If you haven't been eating
much fiber, add it gradually. It may take your system a few days to adjust to a higher
fiber level, so increase your fiber intake over a number of days or even
weeks to allow your body time to adjust to the changes. But stay with it, symptoms will ease and your body will
● Eat less processed foods and more fresh
● Choose fresh fruit or vegetables rather
than juice, and eat the skin and membranes of cleaned fruits and
● Choose bran and whole grain breads and
● It's better to get fiber from foods
rather than fiber supplements as foods are more nutritious.
To lower the glycemic index of any meal, do this—15
minutes before you begin eating, have a spoonful of Metamucil (or other
similar fiber supplement) in a glass
of water. This is normally intended as a mild laxative, but it's only psyllium, which is nonsoluble fiber.
This fiber forms a slippery lump which makes its way through your
digestive tract, clearing out anything in its path. When you take some
before eating, the fiber gets mixed in with the food and has the effect of
slowing the speed of the digestive process.
What is cellulose fiber?
Information collected from various Web
It's been said that some store-bought
diet breads use “sawdust fiber” as filler. Many of us are familiar
with the sawdust accusations levied against early high-fiber breads.
Bread and breakfast cereal makers often
emphasize that their products contain fiber. If they would utilize the
whole grain in wheat, barley, oats, rye, and corn, there would be no
need to add sawdust or other cellulose for dietary bulk.
Cellulose products include both cellulose and
modified cellulose from nonfood plant sources.
Cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin are
components of wood as well as edible plants. They are tough, fibrous,
and insoluble in water. Pectins (a substance used in jellies) and gums
are water-soluble and form gel-like, or viscous, textures. All of the
dietary fibers are found in varying combinations and amounts in plant
leaves, stems, tubers, roots, flowers, and seeds. Cellulose, the most
abundant fiber, forms the basic structural material of cell walls.
Cotton is almost pure cellulose, and the outer layers of cereal grains
contain large amounts of cellulose.
In pet foods, nonfood sources of fiber
are can be anything from newspaper to sawdust. "Plant cellulose" usually
means ground peanut shells.
Click here to read
The story of Avicel,
a synthetic food that has been produced that is not food at all.
The term cellulose gum is already widely used as a pseudonym for CMC (the
complex sounding food additive carboxymethylcellulose)
in product specifications.
The U.S. already uses cellulose gum for food grade CMC. Sourced from
cellulose fibre (wood pulp, cotton linters) CMC products are supplied in
three grades with the high-purity, 99.5 per cent minimum, and are used
by the food industry in a range of applications including ice cream,
yogurt, dairy drinks, and processed food. Other functionalities include
. . . dietary fiber.
Ask Dr. Sears:
Properties of Flax
1. Flax promotes
cardiovascular health. The ultra-high
levels of omega-3 fatty acids lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Fish
oils and algae are also good sources of essential fatty acids.
2. Flax promotes colon
health. It has anti-cancer properties
and, as a natural lubricant and a rich fiber source, it lowers the risk
3. Flax supplements can
boost immunity. One study showed that
school children supplemented with less than a teaspoon of flax oil a day
had fewer and less severe respiratory infections than children not
supplemented with flax oil.
4. Flax provides fats that
are precursors for brain building. This
is especially important at the stage of life when a child's brain grows
the fastest, in utero and during infancy. A prudent mom should consider
supplementing her diet with a daily tablespoon of flax oil during her
pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
5. Flax promotes healthy
skin. I have used
flax oil as a dietary supplement in my patients who seem to have dry
skin or eczema, or whose skin is particularly
6. Flax may lessen the
severity of diabetes by stabilizing blood-sugar levels.
7. Flax fat can be
slimming. Fats high in essential fatty
acids, such as flax, increase the body's metabolic rate, helping to burn
the excess, unhealthy fats in the body. Eating the right kind of fat
gives you a better fighting chance of your body storing the right amount
of fats. This is called thermogenesis , a
process in which specialized fat cells throughout the body (called brown
fat) click into high gear and burn more fat when activated by essential
fatty acids, especially gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). I have personally
noticed that I crave less fat overall when I get enough of the healthy
fats. A daily supplement of omega 3 fatty acids may be an important part
of weight control programs.
for article about golden flax versus brown flax
Flax for Health, article by Artur Klimaszewski, MD.
Ancient records show that the human race has consumed flaxseed since the
beginning of civilization.
The food we eat, how we eat it, when we
eat it, how we combine it, etc., might seem like a complicated subject,
but with a bit of practice, it becomes easy. Proper food combining is
and it must be done properly for better digestion, absorption, and
Foods in our digestive system should
be able to agree rather than conflict. It’s not a matter of just WHAT we
eat, but what we eat with what.
eating foods which are not the correct combination could impede the
complete digestion of other foods.
information on food combining.
Fortified and Enriched Foods
When something is fortified, nutrients that were never present in the
original product have been added to make it healthier. Some common examples
include the addition of vitamin D to milk, calcium to orange juice and
soy milk, and omega-3 fats to cereals.
When food is enriched, nutrients that were lost or decreased during
processing have been added back to the final product. For example, after
creating white flour from wheat, manufacturers reintroduce B vitamins that
were stripped during the refining process.
The added nutrients in enriched foods cannot compensate for the
natural nutrients and fiber that were lost during the refining process.
Fortified foods, on the other hand, still have their natural nutrients and
fiber, and in most cases have an added benefit. So follow this general
rule the next time you shop: Avoid enriched, eat fortified.
Should all fruit be avoided during the
first few weeks, or during the first phase, of a diet? Some say yes, some say no.
My opinion is no. Berries are much higher in antioxidants than most all
other fruits, and should be part of a healthy diet, even in the
beginning stages of the diet.
Click here for a page about fruits
Genetically Engineered (GE) Foods
Soy and corn are two of the most widely GE
foods. Whole foods like corn on the cob are probably not genetically
engineered; however, genetically engineered corn is used as an
ingredient for making corn oil, cornstarch, corn syrup, and high
fructose corn syrup.
An estimated 40% of US field corn in 2003 was genetically engineered,
and field corn is used in a wide array of food ingredients. GE varieties
of sweet corn are more rare, and there is no GE popcorn.
Campaign Against Genetically Engineered
Pros and Cons of Genetic Engineering of
Dr. Mercola says:
“I believe it would be wise to avoid genetically engineered foods if at
all possible. There may be nothing wrong with them; but it would seem
the better side of prudence to limit your exposure to them. They were
not designed with your health in mind.”
See specific grain: Wheat, Corn, Rice.
Also see page
Controversies About Foods.
Ice Cream and Frozen
There are a number of sugar-free, fat-free products in the freezer
section of your grocery store. Two of these are sugar-free Popsicles and no-added-sugar Fudgsicles.
There are other similar products under different brand names.
You can also make your own frozen treats using powdered, sugar-free drink mix and plastic molds.
Or try the recipe on this site for Strawberry Ice.
These sugar-free or no-sugar-added
products are usually made with sugar substitutes or artificial
sweeteners. Read the labels and avoid those that you believe to be
harmful to your health.
Legumes (Beans and Peas)
Legumes are among the
most versatile and nutritious foods available and are a
great addition to any diet. They're good sources of
protein and can be a healthy substitute for meat, which
has more fat and cholesterol.
are a major source of soluble fiber, which helps to remove
cholesterol from the body before it's absorbed.
The soluble fiber in beans helps to lower the amount of insulin floating
through the bloodstream.
In addition to fiber, beans are high in protein, folic acid,
potassium, iron, calcium, and B vitamins. They're also low in
cholesterol and fat. In
general, beans digest slowly, causing a sustained increase in
blood sugar while preventing frequent hunger pangs.
Canned beans usually have a higher GI than
cooked-at-home beans, and also have more sodium. But if you don't
have time or don't want to cook beans, then don't avoid them—eat the
canned beans because beans are good for you. Just drain and rinse in
order to reduce the sodium content (and probably lower the GI as
well, as the GI is likely figured with the liquid).
What is a serving of beans?
One-half cup of cooked beans. You can eat one to two servings daily.
Beans do not
count toward your daily vegetable servings—you still need your 5 to
9 daily servings of veggies and fruits in addition to the
beans. In most food pyramids, legumes are in a
separate category and are counted as a protein source as a
substitute for meat. The USDA says people should “choose lean meats
and poultry, varying protein choices
with more fish, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.”
Refer to the various food pyramids. Links to
these are on my Links
Note: Peanuts are also classified as a
For more information
about legumes, see this Mayo Clinic article:
Romaine lettuce and other dark greens have more nutrition
and more flavor than iceberg lettuce. Lighter colors in vegetables mean
they contain more water and therefore fewer nutrients per cubic inch.
Iceberg lettuce is a good food, but darker lettuces are better.
Red meats (beef, lamb,
It's best to
choose lean cuts such as eye of round, ground beef (sirloin, lean, and
extra lean), tenderloin, top loin, and top round. Avoid brisket,
liver, rib steaks (including prime rib), and other fatty cuts.
Skinless turkey and chicken breast are
both good choices. Avoid chicken wings and legs, duck, and goose. Avoid
eating the skin of poultry. Trim excess fat off any cut of meat you
Avoid all pork
Processed meats (hot
dogs, bacon, sausage, salami, etc.)
The nitrates found in
processed meats can be converted into nitrosamines. Studies show
that this is associated with an increased risk of certain cancers.
Additionally, it now appears that frequent consumption of processed
meats will increase one's risk of diabetes from 35% to 50%. Read
labels, and avoid processed meats that contain nitrates/nitrites.
Choose lean meats that are low in
saturated fat, avoid processed meats with fillers, avoid meats with
Some diets will
tell you to restrict your intake and control your portion size when eating
meat. Other diets will tell you that meats are virtually unlimited.
A sample of an adequate meal would be 3 to 6
ounces of meat, a large salad, and an ample serving of cooked vegetables.
Eat slowly. It can take up to 20 minutes to start feeling full, so take
your time. If you are still hungry after 20 minutes or so, you
can always go back for seconds.
Whole milk, low fat milk, or skim milk?
Or should we consume milk at all?
Controversies About Foods page.
Every nut, even
macadamias—the fattiest—has been found to improve cholesterol.
Brazil Nuts: Just one
provides an entire day's requirement of selenium, a mineral shown in
studies to be higher in people with healthy hearts.
are among the superstars. They're an excellent source of plant-based
omega-3 fatty acids. Studies show that you can
lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by 15% to 50% if you eat a
handful of nuts five times a week. If you found a pill that did the same
thing, you'd make a fortune. Of course, chowing down on a huge tub of
walnuts can be counterproductive, so as always, watch your intake. A
handful of dry, roasted, unsalted walnuts—about 14 walnut halves—has
about 150 calories, and is enough to yield "superfood" benefits.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the approval
of a qualified health claim for whole and chopped walnuts. The health
claim reads: "Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating
1.5 ounces of walnuts per day, as part of a low-saturated-fat and
low-cholesterol diet, and not resulting in increased caloric intake, may
reduce the risk of coronary heart disease."
Walnut manufacturers will
now be allowed to print this health claim on their packaging in an effort
to educate consumers about the walnut's role in a healthy diet.
TUES., MAR. 29, 2011: JUST-RELEASED
NATURAL HEALTH STUDY
WALNUT FOUND HIGHEST IN ANTIOXIDANTS: A
study has determined that walnuts have almost twice as much antioxidant
power as any other tree or ground nuts, and contain higher-quality
antioxidants and more beneficial unsaturated fatty acids. Also, walnut
antioxidants were found to have two to 15 times the potency of the
renowned antioxidant vitamin E. Previous research suggests that nuts,
which are naturally dairy- and gluten-free, offer a fairly unusual
combination of nutrients, including high-quality protein, vitamins and
minerals, unsaturated fatty acids and dietary fiber. Nuts have been
linked in studies to a decreased risk of heart disease, certain cancers,
gallstones, diabetes type 2 and other heart problems. Also, despite high
calorie content, walnut consumption is linked to lower obesity risk.
However, scientists had not compared the amount and quality of
antioxidants among the different nuts. The current study focused on nine
nut types: walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, Brazil
nuts, cashews, macadamias and pecans. And walnuts offer another
antioxidant benefit: nuts are generally roasted, which can destroy some
of the antioxidants, but walnuts are eaten raw. This study was presented
March 27, 2011 in Anaheim at the national meeting of the American
Chemical Society and has not yet been published.
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6786390/: Oats, of course,
were one of the first foods to be allowed to make health
claims, in particular for their ability to lower
cholesterol levels. Now, researchers at Tufts University
have found that oats may also hinder the ability of
blood cells to stick to the walls of our arteries as
well as protect against the early stages of hardening of
the arteries by preventing fatty buildup. The
“stickiness” of fat in the arteries causes inflammation
and plaque. Inflammation leads to abnormal growth of the
cells under the blood-vessel lining and leads to plaque
formation—and as the plaque continues to accumulate, it
ultimately blocks the arteries and impedes blood flow.
(see Fat and Oils entry above)
Controversies About Foods.
Olives and Olive Oil
Olives are a small, bitter, oval
fruit, green when unripe and black when ripe, used for food and for oil.
Cold-pressed olive oil is a fruit
juice. That’s why it's so healthy and is used in the finest cuisines all
over the world. Cold pressed means that the olives are picked and
squeezed and are not boiled before squeezing.
The U.S. Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) now allows a qualified
health claim for olive oil and certain products containing olive oil.
The FDA-approved health
claim reads, "Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that
eating about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the
risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive
oil. To achieve this possible benefit, olive oil is to replace a similar
amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you
eat in a day. One serving of this product [Name of food] contains [x]
grams of olive oil."
Olive oil is one of the few
cooking oils available that is both rich in monounsaturated fats and
cancer-fighting antioxidants. It can be used for sautéing, stir-frying, or
dressing salads and vegetables. Two tablespoons a day is all you
need to enjoy its benefits, but remember not to overdo it—too much olive
oil can be a diet buster.
Olive oils do not differ in
the types or amount of fats they contain. The differences lie mainly in
the taste and aroma.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil—The
highest quality oil, with the lowest acidity of one percent or less. With
this type of oil, you need only a small amount to enjoy the flavor. Chefs
often use it on salads, with bread, or as a garnish for soups and stews.
Because of its low smoking temperature, this oil should not be used in
frying—though, of course, you should not be frying your foods anyway!
Virgin Olive Oil—An intermediate oil with an acidity of between one
and three percent. Since you need more of it to enjoy the flavor, this oil
may not be your best choice.
Ordinary Virgin Olive Oil—This one's not commonly found in American
supermarkets, but if you come across it, you should know it's one
of the lowest quality oils (with a 3.3 percent acidity). Not great for
most cooking, but still okay for frying.
Light Olive Oil—This is simply a designation used by companies to
market a less flavorful, more acidic type of oil to diet-conscious
Americans. The term "light" means lighter in color and fragrance, not less
fat or calories. These oils are generally between 90 and 95 percent
refined olive oil and 5 to 10 percent virgin olive oil. They have had
their color, taste, and fragrance removed by the refining (chemical,
usually Hexane, and steam) process. This process also destroys the
phytochemicals and antioxidants in the oil.
Omega-3 and Omega-6
Omega-3s and Omega-6s are known as essential fatty acids. That's because
these polyunsaturated fatty acids cannot be made by the body, so they must come from the diet. Omega-3s and
Omega-6s have different
chemical compositions. They also play different
roles in the body.
While Omega-3s have been shown to protect against stroke and heart
disease, Omega-6s—most commonly found in vegetable oils—are converted in
the body to a class of hormones called prostaglandins that help regulate
inflammation, blood pressure, and other body functions.
Foods prevalent in the
American diet (processed foods and some snack foods, for example)
contribute more Omega-6s to our diet than we need. Americans, in fact,
consume considerably more Omega-6s than Omega-3s. A diet too high in
Omega-6s and too low in Omega-3s may theoretically promote cardiovascular
disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. To keep things in balance, it's
important to maximize your intake of Omega-3s by choosing the right carbs and the
Certified organic food is not genetically engineered.
peanut butters may contain more added sugar and hydrogenated oil than
all-natural peanut butter. In most cases, a jar of peanut butter won't
list the trans fat content, but there are some trans-fat-free varieties
available (meaning they don't contain hydrogenated oils). These are
“natural.” Choose these whenever possible, while still taking the sugar
and saturated fat content into account.
In addition to being a
great source of protein, all peanut butter — regular or all-natural — is
rich in monounsaturated fat, folate (a type of B vitamin), and
resveratrol (the phytochemical also found in red wine). These nutrients
are important for cardiovascular health.
Remember that peanut
butter can be a diet buster if eaten in large quantities, so don't
overdo it. Try to limit yourself to two tablespoons a day, and include
it as a protein with your meal or as a midday snack.
Corn, in general, should be limited
because of its moderately high glycemic-index value. Popcorn should also
be limited, and popcorn at the movies should be avoided, as it's usually popped in oil, which increases the amount of
fat. With a
regular serving of popcorn, however, you are usually eating only a small
amount of corn and are, therefore, consuming less concentrated starch than
eating corn as a vegetable.
Popcorn could cause your cravings to return. If so, wait until
you start Phase 3 to begin eating popcorn again. Follow these guidelines.
1. Limit yourself to 3 cups
(about 1/3 of a regular-sized microwavable bag).
2. If you don't have someone
to share it with, buy the single-serving sizes of microwavable popcorn.
3. Use an air popper to
eliminate the fat from cooking oils.
4. Experiment with
seasonings such as low fat grated Parmesan, Cajun spices, garlic salt.
5. Use butter or trans fat
free margarines in very small amounts.
In my personal diet, I do not eat any pork
products at all and do not recommend them to others. This is in
agreement with Dr. Jordan Rubin, Dr. Mercola, Kevin Trudeau, and many
others. Here is an excerpt from Kevin's book, Natural Cures "They"
Don't Want You to Know About, pages 150–151:
“Remember, you are what you eat. Pork is a highly toxic diseased food. A
pig eats anything in its path, including its own feces. Whatever it eats
turns to meat on its bones in a few hours. All pork products are laced
with disease and viruses. It is toxic and unhealthy. The human body
virtually goes into toxic shock by consuming pork. Massive amounts of
blood and energy go to the stomach and intestines to help break down and
digest this toxic material. Pork is never fully digested in the human
body; however, the human digestive system works nonstop in overdrive for
up to eighteen hours attempting to neutralize and digest pork. If you
didn't eat pork for thirty days and then had some, there is an excellent
chance you would be violently ill. Eliminating pork, or at least
reducing it dramatically, can have a profound impact on your health and
sense of well-being. Try and see.”
Salsa, made mainly from
tomatoes, can add zip to any dish, hot
or cold. Their
disease-fighting properties make them beneficial to any diet.
In addition, a recent study
published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found
that cilantro (a common ingredient in salsa) contains a powerful
antibacterial ingredient that may help protect against salmonella food
When shopping for salsa,
avoid products made with added sugar or oil. The fresher the salsa, the
more potent its flavor and its antibacterial effects.
You don't need to severely
restrict salt intake unless you suffer from salt-sensitive hypertension
(which is only about 10 percent of those who have hypertension).
In that case, your personal physician can advise you.
A report from the Institute of Medicine suggests that Americans are eating
too much salt. Studies show the average American consumes more than 4,000
milligrams of salt per day, mostly from fast foods and processed foods
like canned soups, pasta sauces, and frozen dinners.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration currently recommends no more than 2,400
milligrams of salt per day, but some researchers believe that the maximum should be
set at 1,500 milligrams per day for people 19 to 50 years old, 1,300
milligrams for those over 50, and 1,200 milligrams for people over the age
Dr. Mercola says, “I
have long advised patients to avoid shellfish for the risk of viral and
parasite infections. Normally these creatures are considered scavenger
animals and they consume foods that may not be that healthy for you.”
Controversies About Foods page.
Sugar and other sweeteners
It's a proven fact that
sugar, in its many forms, increases insulin levels which can lead to high blood pressure,
high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, premature aging,
and other negative side effects.
separate page about sugar.
page about aging
for sugar's effect on the aging process.
Controversies About Foods for
pros and cons about sugar, sugar substitutes, artificial
sweeteners, and natural sweeteners.
Click here for a page about
Yogurt contains a natural, low-glycemic
sugar called lactose. Avoid yogurt with added sugars or sugar
substitutes. Buy plain yogurt and sweeten it with your personal
choice of sweetener or eat with fruit.
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