I recently came across an article entitled, The Five Absolute Worst Foods You Can Eat. It was written by Dr. Joseph Mercola, an osteopath who also wrote The No Grain Diet Book, a New York Times best seller.
The article sparked my interest. What foods made his list? Hot dogs? Brats? How about a chocolate sundae? When compiling a worst food list, several criteria could be considered. Calorie density, the number of fat grams, the level of saturated fat or trans fats, grams of sugar, lack of fiber, or overall lack of nutritional value.
I wondered if there were other lists out there with similar bad food lists. If I could find the same items on 3 or 4 different lists, I figure they must be really bad! Without peeking, can you guess Dr. Mercolas Top 5 Worst Foods, or is it Bottom 5?
1. Doughnuts: Fried, loaded with trans fats, lots of sugar, white flour, no fiber, vitamins or minerals. What more could you ask from a worst food?
2. Soda: Plenty of sugar, caffeine, artificial colors, and sulfites. All stuff that you do not need. Dr. Mercola thinks the artificial sweeteners in diet varieties arent much better.
3. French Fries: Fried potatoes are loaded with trans fats.
4. Chips: Just like their cousin French-fries, chips are made from potatoes, both with plenty of fat added during processing. Chips and fries contain ample levels of something called acrylamide, a compound suspected to be a possible cause of some cancers.
5. Fried, Non-fish seafood like shrimp, lobster, clams, oysters contain trans fats, acrylamide, mercury, and according to Dr. Mercola, perhaps parasites or viruses.
There are other worst food lists. Charles Booras, M.D. has one with soda listed #1, which he eloquently describes as the epitome of nutritional bankruptcy. Other foods that made his list include French fries, bacon, granola bars, and doughnuts.
Doughnuts, deep-fried foods, fast food hamburgers, high-fat ice cream, latte with real whipped cream, and soda are at the top of a 101 Worst Foods List put out by ediets. The usual suspects like sausage, most pizzas, most candy bars, onion rings, gravies, macaroni and cheese, egg rolls, and frosted breakfast cereals also made the ediets list.
Its hardly practical to stop eating these foods completely. When you think about it, most Americans eat something off of the worst food list just about every day, if not every meal.
What you can do is always keep fruit or cut vegetables handy for snacks, then increase portions of vegetables at every meal. Substitute rice or baked potatoes for french fries, and never go shopping when you are hungry and tempted. If you dont buy the stuff, its going to be much more difficult to eat it.
I suspect that there are other worst foods out there, and you know what your favorites are. If you want to lose weight or improve your health, you also know what needs to be done. Fortunately, I didnt find beer on any of the lists.
Dave Elger is a well respected authority within the running community having written hundreds of articles on the topics of running and wellness. You can contact him at http://www.daveelger.com. He also supports the Okinawa Running Club.