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The Best and Worst Foods

by Randall Neustaedter OMD

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People make fun of the ebb and flow of food advice. First a food is great for you, like whole wheat, then it falls out of favor with high protein diets. First hydrogenated fats are good, in the 1930s, then bad in the 80s, then fine again in the Atkins era. What are people to make of this volleying for position in the diet world?

I see these changes as a sign of interest in nutrition and a sign of unprecedented research into the contribution of diet to disease and good health. Keeping up with the latest research takes some energy and active participation. Here is my own contribution.

The Good Guys

Fish oil The hands down leader for the year is fish oil, not to be confused with fish, which has disappeared from everybody’s good list. Omega 3 fats have become the watchword of our faith. Don’t be caught without your fish oil capsules. Got to love that DHA.

Tomatoes The lowly tomato has made a comeback. See, the Italians knew what they were doing all along with tomatoes, olives, and grapes.

Blueberries Eat as many as you can if you want to stay sharp in our aging culture.

Cranberries Protect yourself from pesky bacteria with the Thanksgiving berry.

While we’re at it just add oranges, apples, mangos, peaches, cherries, kiwi. Eat fruit for natural forms of vitamins and antioxidants.

Eggs With other protein sources way down the list, eggs have made a comeback. Eat eggs only from cage-free chickens fed only natural products, no antibiotics. Organic eggs are preferable. Should we forget about cholesterol? Yes, when it comes to eggs.

Kicked Off the List

Canola oil Why get more Omega 6 fats at all? Forget the canola oil, which is full of pesticides if not organic and genetically altered to rid it of poisonous erucic acid.

Flax seed oil ALA (alpha-linoleic acid) must be converted to DHA by an enzyme in the body in order for us to ulilize it as an Omega 3 fat. That conversion is unreliable. The breast milk of women who supplement their diets with flax seed oil does not contain a correspondingly higher level of DHA, essential to a newborn’s developing brain. Why use flax oil when fish oil is readily available? If you want a vegetarian source of DHA, use Neuromins, made from algae.

Fish The poor, maligned fish has seen its day on America’s dinner plates. Fears of mercury poisoning have ousted the fish from the A list, Omega 3 or not.

The Worst Offenders

French Fries Bad press for fried potatoes. French fries and potato chips were dealt a knockout one-two punch with the discovery of acrylamides in heated carbohydrates and the increasingly bad news about trans fats. Acrylamides, for those of us without a PhD in chemistry, are potent carcinogens. Trans fats, formed when oil is brought to high temperatures, contributes to everything from aging and allergies to heart attacks.

Soy How the mighty have fallen, once viewed as the protein staple for the world, recent research has shown so many problems with soy that it has been deemed unsuitable for children and not a great idea for adults (for more info on soy go to www.mercola.com and search for soy articles).

High fructose corn syrup Indigestible, empty calories that stimulate insulin reactions and make America fat.

Partially hydrogenated oils Read those labels. You will find this ingredient in nearly every packaged cookie, chip, and cracker in the grocery store. Time for a trip to the health food store.

Artificial flavors, colors, MSG, soy protein isolates, and textured vegetable protein. These are excitotoxins and hormone busters that wreak havoc with kids’ nervous systems and don’t make adults feel so great either.

Nutrasweet (Aspartame) Stay away from this poison.

Of course, meats filled with hormones and antibiotics are on the list of worse offenders along with a high sugar diet. I am sure you have others you could add to these lists also. Let me know.

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