Monday, June 26, 2006

Five Super-bad Foods

Recently, I posted on WebMD's "5 Superfoods for Your Hearts." (You can read the piece here.) Now it's time to look at the dark side, "5 Foods to Avoid for a Healthy Heart," with another list from WebMD.

As the WebMD piece points out, the foods on this list are not instant killers. But eaten habitually over the decades, you're asking for trouble. So read this list, memorize it, and when you see these foods, a soft, yellow caution light should light up in your mind. When that light comes on, you might ask yourself, "when's the last time I ate this stuff?" If the answer is something like, "yesterday," or, "three times in the last two days," then you should probably reach for something on the superfoods list
covered here.

Anyway, below is the fearsome five with a quick description gleaned from the WebMD piece.

Cookies
I never said this list would be full of surprises. Yes, you know cookies are not the cornerstone of a healthy diet. But do you know why? It turns out that cookies usually feature hydrogenated oils (like coconut or palm) and shortening. These things, also known as transfats, raise "bad" cholesterol (LDL) and lower the "good" (HDL).

Ice Cream
Yes, I encouraged you to load up on ice cream in
this posting. But that was because of a study that found low-fat diets don't cut risks for heart attacks, colon cancer and other nasties. But unless you're going for the Pillsbury Doughboy look, I'd suggest getting your calories from lower fat, higher vitamin foods. WebMD points out that ice cream crams 300 calories and 20 grams of fat into just half a cup.

French Fries
An expert in the WebMD piece called French Fries, "America's favorite vegetable." Yes, that's because they taste really, really good. The problem is that one serving has 500 calories and 25 grams of fat. The second problem is who stops at just one serving?

Potato Chips
I'd say these are in the running for America's second favorite vegetable. And speaking of who stops at just one serving, who stops at just three servings of potato chips? As with fries, you've got a food here that's full of salt, fat and calories, but not much else. When you eat potato chips, "you're getting no nutritional value whatsoever," reads the WebMD article.

White Bread
It seems that Wonderbread ain't so wonderful these days. According to WebMD, white bread is "another nutritionally empty food." Instead of white bread, which is made of refined grains, sub in whole-grain breads, pastas, and other high-fiber foods, suggests WebMD. "High-fiber foods reduce your cholesterol, which reduces your risk for heart disease."

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.