Thursday, April 15, 2010

Foods that your body do not need....

1. Refined sugar
Refined sugars are crystals that are 99% sucrose and commonly called empty calories because they are ripped of all nutrients such as vitamins and minerals that are found in the original sugar cane and sugar beets. It raises your blood sugar levels (insulin) and can cause weight gain because insulin promotes the storage of fat. Excessive consumption of refined sugars has also been associated with higher incidence of several health issues such as diabetes and tooth decay.

In addition, consider your stomach as a limited space for energy and nutrients from food. Why fill up that precious space with stuff that does not contribute positively to your health?

2. Refined carbohydrates
To meet the body's daily nutritional needs while minimizing risk for chronic disease, adults should get 45% to 65% of their calories from carbohydrates, 20% to 35% from fat and 10% to 25% from protein.

Refined carbohydrates are foods which have been processed by machinery that stripes the bran and germ from the whole grain. The process gives foods a finer texture and prolongs shelf life, but it also removes important nutrients such as the B vitamins, fiber and iron. Like refined sugars, refined carbohydrates supply quick energy to your body in the form of glucose. But they offer little satiety, that is, you get hungry again faster and if this blood sugar is not used by the body, it is stored as fat.

In general, processed foods by definition contain high amounts of refined carbohydrates. The fiber that helps the slow release of sugar into the blood stream is removed during processing and therefore processed foods usually have high glycemic index. White rice, pasta and breads made with white flour are common examples. Whole grains, vegetables and fruits also contain carbohydrates; the good carbohydrates that have low glycemic index and keeps you fuller for a longer time.

3. Cooking oil
One of the key things to consider when deciding whether or not to cook with oil is the smoke point of the oil. The smoke point is the temperature at which visible gaseous vapor from the heating of the oil become evident, marking the decomposition of the oil as a result of chemical changes that not result in reduced flavor and nutritional value but also the generation of harmful cancer causing compounds (oxygen radicals) that are harmful to your health.

Different oils have different smoke points, some low, some higher. Extra virgin olive oil is well known as the healthy oil, high in good monounsaturated fats. It has a smoke point of about 320F/160C, which would allos the use of it in sauces but not 350F baking or higher temperature cooking. It is bese to add it to your dishes after they have been cooked to enjoy the wonderful flavor and nutritional value of olive oil. See my other article on oils for smoke points of other types of cooking oils.

4. Dairy
Milk, cream, yogurt, sour cream and cheese are all examples of dairy products. There's nothing super unhealthy about dairy as long as they come from animals that are bred organically without being fed any growth hormones and antibiotics. It is the way that animals are farmed today that makes dairy "dangerous" to our health.

But even with organic dairy products, consume them in moderation because dairy is high in saturated fat. Go for low-fat dairy products in moderation if you really cannot do without dairy in your diet. Calcium is also available in many plant-based foods and there is no evidence linking calcium in dairy products to healthy bone development.

5. Red meats
Red meats, like dairy, are "dangerous" because of their high content of saturated fat and the way animals are farmed today. The hormones and antibiotics that are being fed to cows, sheep and pigs are passed on to humans when the meats from these animals are consumed. There are several other health issues with red meats. Red meat is high in saturated fat and a diet rich in red meats has a high incidence of clogging your arteries. Therefore, if you have to eat red meats once in a while, opt for lean cuts to reduce the saturated fat content. The risk of heart disease has also been shown to be higher in those who eat red meats. Examples include beef, pork, mutton, veal, venison, goat, buffalo and rabbit meat.

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