4 Foods to Avoid for Good Health

In the impulse to add superfoods and supplements to our diet, we often forget to remove the very ingredients in our lives that can cause disease. At the risk of preaching just a little, the following five foods are some of the worst offenders and are best avoided - or at least minimized for optimal health.

French Fries and Potato Chips

Believe it or not, it isn't the sheer amounts of fat and carbs in your favourite fries and potato chips that are the problem; it's the kind of fats and carbs.

Potatoes are high glycemic: they break down rapidly and spike blood sugar levels. This is a problem for mood, energy levels, weight, and a risk factor in the long run for diabetes.

Take those potatoes and deep-fry them, which robs any food of nutrition and adds toxic elements like carcinogenic acrylamide, trans fats (depending on your cooking oil) and free radicals, and you've got a very bad combination. Holistic health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola likes to claim that "one French fry is worse for your health than one cigarette."



Sugar

Sugar is one of the most ubiquitous of ingredients in the North American diet, appearing in everything from soups to beverages to condiments.

Refined sugar, whether white or brown, is an immune system suppressant. It is heavily processed with preservatives and other chemicals and makes the body more acidic and more disease-prone. In holistic health, sugar is counted as a dangerous and highly addictive substance. Artificial sweeteners are considered by many to be even worse.

Soft Drinks

In a culture where most children get to watch a nail dissolve in a glass of Coke before reaching age ten and where studies have linked soft drinks to heart disease, tooth decay, and osteoporosis (among other diseases), it's amazing that we drink them at all. Yet "the average American drinks about 56 gallons of soft drinks each year," says Dr. Mercola.

Soft drinks have absolutely nothing to recommend them, being loaded with caffeine, sugar (about 10 teaspoons a glass!), calories, artificial flavors and colours, and preservatives. If you make only one change to improve your health, eliminating the soft drink habit is a huge one.

Diet and "Energy" Foods

Some of the http://www.smileusa.com/driyer/ worst foods masquerading as healthier lifestyle choices are from the range of "diet" and "energy" foods that now grace health food stores and grocery shelves. For the most part, these foods are a case of good marketing on a fairly ordinary product, neither good or bad for your health. But in many cases, they are loaded with sugar, caffeine and other stimulants. Many of the lowest-calorie diet products are crammed with artificial sweeteners, colors and flavors that can be toxic.

What's more, most "diet" foods aren't even helpful in losing weight they contain too many foreign ingredients that the body finds hard to digest and they ultimately slow metabolism, no matter how low-cal they might be. If you're seeking a healthy weight loss alternative, unprocessed foods and an enzyme supplement to boost metabolism are always a better choice.

Reference:

Mercola, Joseph, Ph.D., " The Five Absolute Worst Foods You Can Eat," accessed August 21, 2008.

Rose, Natalia, The Raw Food Detox Diet, Harper Collins, 2005.