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Top 10 Junk Foods to Avoid

By Dr. Peter W. Kujtan, B.Sc., M.D., Ph.D.

This article originally appeared on page 19 in the January 10-11, 2004 issue of
The Mississauga News under the feature: Health & Wellness, Doctor's Corner.

Losing weight and better eating habits probably top the list for New Year's resolutions. To start the year off, I am passing on a list of the top 10 foods to avoid, as compiled by my good friend Negrita Jayde. Negrita is a nutritional consultant who works in Los Angeles. She is a past Miss Canada Body Builder who has a strong conviction to healthy eating. We have had many interesting discussions in this regard. For a healthier outlook, minimize the following:

1. French-Fries. Deep-frying in oil adds the carcinogen acrylamide into potatoes and most chips. A large serving of fries can contain over 300 times the allowable limit set by other countries such as Sweden.

2. Processed Breakfast Cereals. Avoid those which use genetically modified grains. They are packed with refined sugar and offer little protein value. Just wander into the cereal aisle and see if you can find a bag of plain oatmeal.

3. Diet Pop. It contains aspartame and has no nutritional value. Aspartame is metabolized into a formaldehyde compound, which can lead to problems. There is evidence that artificial sweeteners can stimulate the desire for sweet food.

4. Pop. It is packed full of refined sugar and has no nutritional value, yet high school students use it as a primary source of hydration. Large amounts have the potential to demineralize bones. We do not have to look far to see that the osteoporosis cycle begins before the bones are fully mature.

5. Decaffeinated Coffee. If you are going to drink coffee, then do so. Some of the decaffeination processes utilize filtration that imparts active chlorine into the coffee. There is a study suggesting women who drink decaffeinated coffee have a higher incidence of rheumatoid arthritis.

6. White Bread. It is made with refined flour stripped of vitamins, fiber, protein and minerals. Refined liquid sugar is added.

7. Commercial Pizza. High in sodium, carbohydrates and fats, pizza is heated at over 180C, destroying a great deal of the nutrient value. Making your own, by using pure flours, vegetables, minimizing cheese and sodium, may be an alternative.

8. Low Fat Ice Cream. It is made from genetically modified soy. Taking fat out of the ice cream drives up the glycemic index. Either eat ice cream or don't. Don't think that there is any such thing as healthy ice cream.

9. Donuts. Donuts are deep fried white bread coated with sugar.

10. Fruit Drinks. They are mostly water, sugar with some coloring. Even the labeling on fruit juices can be misleading.

There you have it! The bottom line is to start reading labels on any processed foods you are thinking of purchasing. You will soon discover for yourself what you are actually eating.

See also:

Dr. Phil McGraw's
Ultimate Weight Solution:
7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom

Dr Phil's Diet Program
Eating Well for Optimum Health:
Essential Guide to Food,
Diet, and Nutrition

Related resources:

Kicking the Junk Food Habit.
Junk Food Facts. Are you a junk-food junkie? Here's what you need to know by Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Expert Column.
Junk Food.
Junk Food Facts - with links to popular fast food restaurants and nutrition data.
Smart Food, Junk Food.
Junk Food Overview.
Student Handout - Interesting Facts about Junk Food.

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