Obesity and other health issues are on the rise, and cardiologists, gastroenterologists, OBGYNs and specialists in the fields of sports medicine want to curb the trend, recommending people to choose fresh produce, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats over everything else. Surprisingly, there are certain “health” foods that even they want banned from grocery stores.
Before we reveal them, do you have any ideas of what these ‘evil’ health foods are? We wouldn’t be surprised if you’re consuming some while reading this article…
Coffee and Caffeinated Drinks
Dr. Mamta M. Mamik, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, believes that while coffee has its benefits (regular consumption reduces dementia), too much of it is not good for body and mind:
“I try to avoid excessive caffeine. An adult can safely consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day-which is equivalent to four 8-ounce cups of coffee-but drinking any more than that can cause calcium excretion, which, over time, may lead to osteoporosis. Plus, avoiding excess caffeine also helps to ward off uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms like lethargy, insomnia, headaches and irritability.”
If you’re a coffee fiend, you should consider switching over to a beverages with fewer drawbacks, such as black tea.
Energy Bars and “Low-Fat” Foods
Food marketed as “low-fat” can be deceiving and often do more harm than good, so much so that Rebekah Gross, MD, a gastroenterologist at the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU Langone Medical Center, says she keeps away from processed low-fat foods like reduced-fat peanut butter and chips because they are extensively processed and often times loaded with sugar, greasy oils and packed with harmful chemicals.
Energy bars are notoriously deceptive because they are generally perceived to aid in weight loss or help build muscle. What most people don’t know is that they are calorie bombs, with sugar being either their first (predominant) or second ingredient.
If ever you’re in the mood for something sweet, low-fat and/or crunchy, nothing beats whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains.
Sports drinks are just diluted soft drinks with salt, and soft drinks are very bad for you. While they can be useful during intense exercises that exceed one hour or that occurs in extreme heat, drinks such as Vitamin Water are essentially sugary drinks combined with a vitamin pill.
Just ask Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard’s School of Public Health, who says:
“They are unequivocally harmful to health. Whether vitamins dissolved in water have any benefit will depend on who you are and whether you are already getting enough [vitamins] … Some people may be getting too much of some vitamins and minerals if they add vitamin water on top of fortified foods and other supplements.”
Vitaminwater is bad, but drinks like Red Bull, Sobe Life Water and Monster Drinks are worse for not only containing loads of sugar, but also stimulants that may be may be harmful, especially for people with high blood pressure and other health conditions.
Instead of gulping down “enhanced” water, stick with real, unadulterated water — preferably from the tab. Pure water is the best drink for hydrating your body — its calorie-free and even contains fluoride to prevent tooth decay.
Health Foods Containing Trans-Fats
Like Eugenia Gianos, MD, cardiologist, Co-Clinical Director, Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease at NYU Langone Medical Center, you should avoid that contain trans-fats, corn syrup and added sugars. These include low-fat butter/margarine, cookies and microwave popcorn, etc.
Apparently, such food are loaded with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, synthetically engineered trans-fats that increase your bad (LDL) cholesterol and decrease your good (HDL) cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Integrative health expert and author of The 21-Day Belly Fix, Dr. Taz Bhatia, stated:
“Although I love them, I try to stay away from cream-based soups. They not only bother my stomach, but are also loaded with empty calories and often have concerning fillers like hydrolyzed proteins, food dyes and corn syrup that I find out about later!”
If you love food with creamy textures, considers those made from tropical oils, such as palm oil and coconut oil.
Be honest, did you know that all of aforementioned “health” foods were actually not healthy for you, and are you likely to change your diet now that you know? Let us know in the comments below. Remember, encouraging healthy eating for everyone in your family starts at home.
Science Has Found The Best Way To Wash Pesticides Off Apples
Polishing an apple with your shirt might get rid of some dust and dirt, but removing the pesticides will require a little more work.
New research has found that washing apples with baking soda, the common yet miraculous household product, could be all you need to eliminate most of the residues on the surface of apples and other fruits.
Pesticides have long been used to increase crop yield, but rising concerns over their adverse effect on human health has many people talking. While the exact effects depend on the type of pesticides and the amount eaten, the World Health Organization says that certain pesticides could harm the developing nervous systems of fetuses and children.
A growing number of people have opted for organic food as way of avoiding the chemicals, but organic food usually command a price premium and there is no guarantee that pesticides were used. In fact, the organic, naturally-occurring pesticides that some organic farms use aren’t necessarily safer.
Washing has been and remains the standard practice used by both consumers and the food industry to remove pesticides, but some of the plant-protecting compounds that get absorbed by the skin of fruits and vegetables might be more resilient to current cleaning methods. To find the best method, Lili He, Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and colleagues conducted a study in which they applied two common pesticides — the fungicide thiabendazole, which past research has shown can penetrate apple peels, and the insecticide phosmet — to organic Gala apples and then washed apples with three different liquids: tap water, a 1 percent baking soda/water solution, and a U.S.-EPA-approved commercial bleach solution often used on produce.
The baking soda solution proved the most effective at removing pesticides, eliminating 80 percent of the thiabendazole and 96 percent of the phosmet, respectively, after 12 and 15 minutes of the fruits being soaked. Plain tap water and the bleach solution were far less effective.
The different percentages are likely due to thiabendezole’s greater absorption into the apple. Mapping images showed that thiabendazole had penetrated up to 80 micrometers deep into the apples, while phosmet was detected at a depth of only 20 micrometers.
So, there you have it, if washing is your preferred method of removing pesticides off your fruits and vegetables, using a baking soda solution is the way to go. If all other options are to be considered, then peeling your produce is probably your best bet.
You Binge Eat Because You’re Sleep-Deprived
There have been many studies correlating sleep deprivation with a wide range of health risks, including decrease in alertness and increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. But what about a possible link with food cravings?
Researchers have long known that lack of sleep is associated with binge eating or just plain eating uncontrollably whenever and wherever, but a new study published in online journal Sleep suggests that the same chemical mechanism behind the munchies might be why sleep-deprived people not only feel hungrier, but also become buckle in the face of a big chocolate bar.
The study involved 14 volunteers aged 18 to 30, all of whom were first given four nights of either normal (8.5 hours) or interrupted sleep (4.5 hours) and then two meals and unrestricted access to all kind of snacks — both healthy (e.g., fruit and yogurt) and less-healthy options (e.g., chips and cake).
When the researchers monitored their endocannabinoid (eCB) levels, they found that those participants who had been sleep-deprived reported feeling hungrier and tended to eat the less-healthy snacks.
Moreover, they eat nearly double the fat and protein of the well-rested participants and exhibited an exaggerated cycle in their endocannabinoid levels, with an especially high level in the afternoon — around the same time they reported feeling the hungriest.
Endocannabinoids are chemicals that our bodies naturally create to play a part in such physiological processes as appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory. They also to activate the same receptors that get people high from consuming marijuana, explaining the temptation for food stemming from sleep deprivation.
Have you ever felt so tired as to almost feel high? Well, this might be the reason…
Scientists hope these findings will lead to further scientific discoveries on food cravings that would aid in the treatment and control of binge eating.
Improve Your Gut Health By Eating Mangoes
If you suffer from constipation, a mango might just be what the doctor ordered.
A new pilot study carried out by Texas A & M University and published in the the peer-reviewed journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research found that mangoes contain a combination of polyphenols and fiber that is more effective than an equivalent amount of fiber powder in relieving constipation.
Susanne U. Mertens-Talcott, a corresponding author of the four-week study and an associate professor in the department of nutrition and food science at Texas A & M University, stated:
“Our findings suggest that mango offers an advantage over fiber supplements because of the bioactive polyphenols contained in mangos that helped reduce markers of inflammation and change the make-up of the microbiome, which includes trillions of bacteria and other microbes living in our digestive track. Fiber supplements and laxatives may aid in the treatment of constipation, but they may not fully address all symptoms, such as intestinal inflammation.”
Researchers took 36 adult men and women with chronic constipation and randomly divided them into two groups — a mango group that ate about 300 grams of mango a day (equivalent to about 2 cups or 1 mango) and a fiber group that incorporated the equivalent amount of fiber powder (1 teaspoon or 5 grams of dietary psyllium fiber supplement) into their daily diet.
A food questionnaire was then given to the participants to assess their food intake and ensure their eating habits remained consistent (i.e. equivalent amounts of calories, carbohydrates, fiber, protein and fat) and measures of constipation severity were taken at the beginning and end of four weeks.
Their analysis revealed that while both the mango and fiber groups improved over the course of the study, mangoes proved more effective in reducing the symptoms of constipation than fiber alone.
Mango supplementation significantly improved constipation status (e.g. stool frequency, consistency and shape), increased short chain fatty acids levels, which indicate improvement of intestinal microbial composition, and helped to reduce certain biomarkers of inflammation.
Mangoes have long been know to be a rich source of dietary fiber, but Texas A & M University’s study is possibly the only study ever to be dedicated to the efficacy of the tasty fruit at relieving constipation.
But as promising as these findings are, the researchers concluded that more research is needed to determine the exact mechanism behind the protective effect of mangoes in constipation and the role mango polyphenols may play in supporting the beneficial effects of fiber.
A mango day keeps your food moving smoothly and easily, right?