by Charles H. Booras, MD

I
n a previous article I have covered the ten best foods for your health . These were: broccoli, potatoes, pasta, fresh fruit, popcorn, oats, yogurt and skim milk, fish, bread and whole grains and lentils. Now comes the ten worst!
Experts have shown that up to 50% of all cancers are related to our diets. So, in some fashion we DO become what we eat. It is in our best interest to reduce our intake of refined sugar, fat and sodium while we increase our intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.
1. SODA POP: The epitome of nutritional bankruptcy. This includes all of the soft drinks, carbonated or not, sugar sweetened or artificially sweetened. If you're desperate for something sweet you're better off having fruit juice.

2. FRENCH FRIES: A wonderful, nutritious food acquires 200 calories of fat when fried. In a fast food restaurant you are probably getting the more dangerous and highly saturated animal fat also! Added salt --- UGH!

3. BACON. It's not really a meat. As many as 95% of the calories in bacon come from animal fat (the worst kind)! It's also high in salt and full of both nitrites and nitrates, which may cause cancer. Microwaved bacon seems drier but is just as high in fat.

4. GRANOLA BARS: Granola itself tends to be a high-fat, high-sugar cereal. It should be used more as a garnish by sprinkling a little on of it on unsweetened cereal. Many granola bars are simply high-calorie cookies! The latest version - the granola candy bars - are no better for you than a Milky Way or Snickers, and they cost more too! Take the time to carefully read the labels when shopping for your foods. Here's a way to calculate the percentage of your calories that come from fat. Each gram of fat has 9 calories. One Nature Valley Granola Bar, lower in fat than many others, has 120 calories and 6 grams of fat. Thus, 54 of it's 120 calories (ie: 45%) comes from fat. The national goal is to keep our fat intake down to 30% or less of daily calories. Athletes should strive for 20% or less. Learning to read your labels carefully can reveal many sources of hidden fat.

5. DOUGHNUTS: Worse than no breakfast at all! They are not only fried but also have the sugar and white flour we should be cutting back on. They put your blood sugar out of balance and they don't stay with you.

6. POTATO CHIPS: You might as well be eating butter. They contain a large amount of added fat as well as lots of salt.

7. FETTUCINI ALFREDO and PASTA SALADS: They are both drowning in a sea of oily fat. We order pasta's thinking they are healthy, then we destroy it's benefit by ordering it in fatty sauces. ( By the way, we do the same thing by adding high fat salad dressings to our salads!)

8. FAST FOOD SUPERBURGERS: Around 600 calories each with at least half of those as fat. The plain burgers are not that high in fat. It's the dressing, cheese and extra beef that adds up. Turkey meat is a great low fat substitute.

9. S'MORES CEREAL: More than half the calories are from sugar. It's like eating candy with milk on it!

10. CHEESE: It does have some redeeming features and using small amounts in recipes is OK. But it's not a good idea for those of you cutting back on red meat since it has the same amount of fat and cholesterol - and far more salt. The best cheeses are; Cottage, Feta, skim mozzarella and skim ricotta. Grated Parmesan goes a long way and the best hard cheese is Swiss. Avoid Havarti, Brie and cream cheese.


Much of the information for this article came from

"Jane Brody's Good Food Book." Thanks Jane!

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