Monday, April 23, 2012

12 Confusing Foods

"You heard that eggs can be high in cholesterol, so you dutifully switched to whole grains for breakfast. Next, you swapped out red meat for fish—only to later learn that fish can contain dangerous levels of mercury...and eggs may not harm your heart after all. 'With all of the different reports and headlines, it’s no wonder that many people get confused,' "
So begins an article by Prevention Magazine on 12 Confusing Foods.

  1. Coffee - Prevention notes that coffee has antioxidants and other minerals that are good for you. Of course one could argue that cigarettes with added vitamin D would be "healthy". I disagree with Prevention here and suggest one needs to look at the whole food effect and not just a few favorable components.
  2. Wine - as with coffee above, wine has antioxidants. But here Prevention is more clear - at most one glass a day because wine also has negative effects. They fail to note that grape juice can provide many of the same health benefits.
  3. Potatoes - is healthy food often served in unhealthy ways (fried, with butter, etc)
  4. Cheese - great for calcium but high in fat calories. Depending on your diet this may be a good thing.
  5. Fish - "benefits far outweigh the risks" However, the FDA advises that young children, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and women trying to become pregnant steer clear of fish that contain the most mercury, including swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tile fish. [What's a tile fish?]
  6. Chocolate - dark chocolate is good for the heart according to recent studies. Eat in moderation.
  7. Red Meat - "Go lean. Look for cuts with “loin” and “round” in the name—and limit yourself to 18 ounces a week. That translates into around six 3-ounce servings (imagine a deck of cards)."
  8. Nuts - "Ounce for ounce, nuts pack in more calories than most other snacks. But the surprising truth is that nuts are one of the best foods for weight loss."
  9. Beer - see wine
  10. Soy - a healthy food in "healthy people" but causes hormone-like effects (Estrogen) that may raise the risk of breast cancer. Ask your doctor before consuming large amounts of soy.
  11. Eggs - a great food but limit to one a day
  12. Margarine - Avoid any product with the words “partially hydrogenated” on the ingredient list.
Bottom Line

Honestly, after reading the Prevention article, I'm still confused. Food X is packed with good stuff but limit to one a day? What kind of advice is that? There's no shortage of "safe" foods that are packed with vitamins and minerals, for example spinach. I'm reminded of Stock Analysts that NEVER say sell; it's always but or hold a stock. Somehow they can never find anything bad to say about a stock. Or Entertainment News shows that flatter celebrities because they do not want to be denied access to the stars. Is Prevention afraid of losing sponsors if they say don't eat this or don't drink that?

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