My last entry talked about foods that help to increase the body’s ability to fight disease, which I term "protectors". I like that topic since it focuses on the positive things that people can do with their eating habits. It helps people to understand the things that they should be eating MORE of.
However, we cannot overlook the things that we eat that do the opposite and break down our body’s ability to protect us against disease. These foods are called "promoters" as research suggests they increase risk for disease. This entry will focus on the foods that you want to eat only occasionally. Cookie Monster now sings it: "A cookie is a sometimes food", instead of "cookie cookie cookie"!
Foods that fall under the "promoter" category are ones that are high in saturated fat, refined sugars, and salt and low in fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. In other words, they are foods that are not nutrient dense. They tend to be high in calories without providing you with many nutrients.
Here are some foods that fall under the "promoter category":
- From the meat group: Bacon, sausage, processed deli meats, regular ground beef
- From the dairy group: Whole milk, cheese, ice cream, full fat yogurt, butter
- From the fruit group: canned fruit in heavy syrup or high sugar jelly’s
- From the vegetable group: canned vegetables with salt added, vegetables in cream sauce, french fries, potato chips
- From the carbohydrate/grain group: high fat muffins, bagels, pancakes, donuts, cookies, refined crackers, white bread, white rice, white pasta, regular soda and sweetened drinks (sweet tea or "juice/punch" drinks)
Before you get too upset, recognize that just because these foods fall under this category doesn’t mean that you NEVER get to eat them. However, you do need to keep your intake to a moderate level. When I think of having something occasionally, it would be 2 times per month or less.
If you are eating any of these foods 3 times a week or more, then it is considered a habit. Try to find replacements for the promoter foods that you are eating regularly. Choose lean meats or vegetarian protein (beans, nuts, tofu). Use low-fat dairy products. Eat whole grains instead of refined grains. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables frequently.
When you do choose promoter foods, keep your portions small to minimize the impact. Once you swallow, the fun’s over. Enjoy each bite slowly. You don’t need to eat a large amount to fulfill a craving!
Promote health, not disease!