6 Benefits Of Eating Broccoli

Broccoli

Broccoli is one of those vegetables that I hated when mom put it on my plate when I was growing up but have learned to enjoy as an adult. Especially since I know it is “good for you” and I actually like the taste. Certainly better than spinach which really needs to be prepared just right before I’m interested in taking the risk.

But is it really “good for you” and why? I have identified six benefits of eating this interesting vegetable.

  1. Improves Bone Health – Broccoli is high in Vitamin K which is vital in building strong bones. Just one cup of broccoli provides 92 micrograms of Vitamin K, well over 100% of your daily requirements. Consuming Vitamin K improves absorption of Calcium which is also necessary for strong bones.
  2. Anti-Aging Properties – Broccoli is packed with Vitamins C, A, and E which fight skin damage caused by the sun, reduce wrinkles, and improve overall skin texture. Vitamin C plays a vital role in the formation of Collagen, the main support system of the skin. It also contains Glucoraphanin which the body converts to Sulforaphane which helps rebuild skin cells and stimulates a variety of antioxidant defense pathways in your body that can reduce oxidative stress and slow down the decline in your immune system. This slows down the aging process.
  3. Cancer Fighter – This same Sulforaphane can inhibit the enzyme Deacetylace which is known to be involved in the progression of cancer cells. It has been shown to kill cancer stem cells, striking at the root of tumor growth. Sulforaphane is especially effective in preventing melanoma, prostate, and pancreatic cancers. Broccoli also contains the Vitamin Folate which has been shown to decrease the risk of breast cancer.
  4. Detoxification – Broccoli is a great source of fiber which promotes healthy digestion. This not only lowers the risk of colon cancer but aids in cleansing our bodies of all the toxins which we ingest. It also contains three important phytonutrients with really long names which support our body’s detoxification process.
  5. Anti-Inflammatory Properties – Inflammation is a natural way our body heals. When you get a wound on your skin your body creates inflammation to that spot to enhance healing. But, due to the stresses of our lives as well as the toxins in our food, water and air our inflammation system works overtime and this has become the root cause of many chronic diseases. Broccoli aids in reducing inflammation due to the flavonoid Kaempferol. It also contains Omega-3 fat which helps control our inflammation system.
  6. Heart Health – Broccoli contains B-Complex vitamins which can make a major contribution to our cardiovascular health. It also reduces cholesterol levels. The fiber-related nutrients contained in Broccoli bind together with some of the bile acids in our intestines in such a way that they simply stay in the intestine and pass out of our body rather than getting absorbed into our blood stream. When this happens our liver draws upon our existing supply of cholesterol to accomplish its goal of replacing the lost bile acids and, as a result, reduces our cholesterol level. Broccoli also contains Lutein which may help prevent thickening of your arteries.

Bonus – Two carotenoids found in broccoli, lutein and zeaxanthin, play an important role in the health of the eye. In fact, no tissue in the body is more concentrated with lutein than the area in the outer portion of the retina. In a similar way, zeaxanthin is concentrated in the macula near the central portion of the retina. These substances reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.

Bonus 2 – Many people are deficient in Vitamin D to the point that diet alone cannot supply their needs so they must take supplements. Broccoli does not have Vitamin D but it is high in Vitamins K and A. These two Vitamins keep our Vitamin D metabolism in proper balance so if you take in too much Vitamin D Broccoli will balance that out and control the overdose.

So stop pushing the little tree-like veggies off your plate and, instead, pile them on for good health. They are one of the best foods to keep us healthy.

10 Ways To Cut Down On Sugar

Microsoft PowerPoint - Sugar

I have recently been pointing out the negative effects sugar has on our physical and emotional health. If you have missed those articles take a look at http://bit.ly/1RlGVCR and http://bit.ly/1RyC1iR  and also http://bit.ly/1WJFlMs to get a better understanding of how important it is to avoid sugar as much as is practical. And I do want to stress being practical. I have cut down on my sugar intake drastically over the past five months and I feel much better. I have more energy and my mind is more alert. But during this time I have learned how difficult it is. There are the obvious ones like deserts that we all love; cakes, pies, donuts, CHOCOLATE, and candy. Reducing these is simple but hard. It just takes a mindset shift and discipline. The really tricky ones are the added sugars in so many of our foods today, both from the grocery and from restaurants. Food companies and chefs know what we Americans like and they know we love sugar. When they add sugar we enjoy it and buy more. And, as I pointed out in my other articles, it is addicting so the more we eat the more we crave. The more we crave the more the market responds by supplying it. It is a vicious cycle that we need to derail. So here are the ten ways I have used to cut down on my sugar intake. Hopefully they will work for you.

  1. Don’t go cold turkey – the whole premise of this blog is that we can make small healthier decisions each day and, over time, succeed at living healthier and happier lives. I recommend incremental changes even though you are actually breaking an addiction. Determine that you will eliminate one type of food or drink at a time such as sodas, candy or added sugar in your morning coffee. After a week or so of conquering that you can target something else. Start small and as you build momentum you will feel more in control.
  2. Change what you drink – this is the one area that, for most people, will make the most drastic difference in cutting down on sugar. According to the experts, sugary drinks are one of the top sources of sugar in our diet. For example, a mere 12 ounces of Mountain Dew delivers 52 grams of sugar and the same amount of grape juice has 58 grams. Orange juice has 33 grams of sugar and about 20 grams in Gatorade. And who stops at 12 ounces anymore? Learn to enjoy filtered water and you will be glad you did.
  3. Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time – success comes easier when you are organized and intentional about your food. Deciding in advance what you will eat will help you make good decisions, especially when you find those hunger pangs and junk food cravings sneak up on you. Have healthy snacks handy to avoid cramming handfuls of Thin Mints in your mouth. Also, eating regularly will keep your blood sugar levels stable.
  4. Choose fresh whole foods – the closer a food is to its original form, the less added sugar it will contain. Food in its natural state provides more and better nutrition and variety will feed your body and mind exactly what they need. Eating more vegetables and meats with a moderate amount of fruits will give you more energy and better focus. Your digestive system works much better and your body fights diseases more efficiently. Grabbing convenience foods from the freezer or snack isles will only increase your cravings for more of the same.
  5. Read labels – as I mentioned earlier, sugar is hiding everywhere! And, unfortunately, it changes its’ name often. Sugar can be in the form of honey, agave, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, sucralose, sucrose, maltose, dextrose and most any other “ose”. The list of ingredients begin with the substance that is the highest concentration to the lowest concentration so if one of these sugar variants is high on the list it spells danger.
  6. Incorporate healthy fat and protein in each meal – they control blood sugar levels and make you feel full, satisfying your cravings. Eating too many carbs is like putting yourself on a roller coaster ride; your blood sugar zooms up shortly after you eat, then goes crashing down after a short time. you then find yourself hungry again and you start all over. Breakfast is the biggest challenge to avoid the bagel/cereal/toast/pastry ride. Check out my earlier blog on healthy breakfast choices at http://bit.ly/1pIVU0S
  7. Get the rest you need – trying to survive the day feeling tired and run down will not give you the resources your mind and body need to resist the temptation to go back to old habits. This can be hard and you need to be rested to make it past the first few days and weeks.
  8. Remove the temptation – get all your favorite sweets and junk food out of the house and out of those secret stashes at work. Cutting down on sugar is easier if you have to go in search of it.
  9. Get plenty of physical activity – you will be in a much better state of mind if you are more active. This can also take your mind off the sweet cravings if you are able to get up and walk or move around a bit when the urge hits you.
  10. Begin with a detox – this will help to reset your appetite and decrease your sugar cravings from the very beginning. I did this later in the process and wished I had done it earlier. Our bodies, especially our digestive systems, are so bombarded with toxins from our food, the air, the chemicals we slather onto our skin and just our environment that we must detox periodically to stay healthy and strong. I offer one with Advocare that does an excellent job but is mild enough not to disrupt your normal day to day life. It is the first phase of our 24 Day Challenge. Order it here; http://bit.ly/1UlHlNp

I hope this helps in your quest to be healthier and happier. It really is important to avoid sugar as much as possible and practical. Living healthy is all about understanding how our daily lifestyle decisions affect us and knowing how to prioritize the positive changes we strive to make. We can succeed!

10 Things You Don’t Know About Sugar (And What You Don’t Know Could Hurt You)

Spoonful of Sugar

It has been well over two weeks since I have posted a new blog. I have been researching the effects of sugar on the body and have compiled tons of information which I will be sharing in the next few weeks. I considered starting this subject during the holidays but didn’t want to lay a guilt trip on everyone who really enjoys holiday baking (and eating). I understand it is what makes the holidays special to many people.

So to start this off I am simply reposting a Huffington Post article from 2013 written by Kristin Kirkpatrick, M.S., R.D., L.D. that sets the framework for what I will be sharing soon.

Excessive sugar in the diet is not the best idea when it comes to healthy living. Nonetheless, few of us are consuming sugar in recommended moderate amounts and most of us are eating tons of it. In fact, worldwide we are consuming about 500 extra calories a day from sugar. That’s just about what you would need to consume if you wanted to gain a pound a week. Most people know that sugar is not good for them, but for some reason, they think the risk of excess sugar consumption is less than that of having too much saturated and trans fat, sodium or calories. Perhaps it’s sugar’s lack of sodium or fat that make it the “lesser of several evils,” or perhaps people are simply of the mind frame that what they don’t know won’t hurt them. If you really knew what it was doing to your body, though, you might just put it at the top of your “foods to avoid” list. Here are ten things that may surprise you about sugar.

  1. Sugar can damage your heart
    While it’s been widely noted that excess sugar can increase the overall risk for heart disease, a 2013 study in the Journal of the American Heart Association displayed strong evidence that sugar can actually affect the pumping mechanism of your heart and could increase the risk for heart failure. The findings specifically pinpointed a molecule from sugar (as well as from starch) called glucose metabolite glucose 6-phosphate (G6P) that was responsible for the changes in the muscle protein of the heart. These changes could eventually lead to heart failure. Approximately half of the people that are diagnosed with heart failure die within five years.
  2. Sugar specifically promotes belly fat
    Adolescent obesity rates have tripled in the past 30 years and childhood obesity rates have doubled. Many of us are aware of the data that demonstrates just how literally big our future is looking, but beyond the studies and all the initiatives to curb childhood obesity, one needs only to visit an amusement park, school or mall to truly see what is happening. One factor that seems to inflict obese children is fat accumulation in the trunk area of the body. Why? One cause may be the increase in fructose-laden beverages. A 2010 study in children found that excess fructose intake (but not glucose intake) actually caused visceral fat cells to mature — setting the stage for a big belly and even bigger future risk for heart disease and diabetes.
  3. Sugar is the true silent killer
    Move over salt and hypertension, you’ve got competition. Sugar, as it turns out, is just as much of a silent killer. A 2008 study found that excess fructose consumption was linked to an increase in a condition called leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone that tells you when you’ve had enough food. The problem is, we often ignore the signal our brain sends to us. For some people though, leptin simply does not want to work, leaving the person with no signal whatsoever that the body has enough food to function. This in turn can lead to over consumption of food and consequently, obesity. Why the silent killer? Because it all happens without symptoms or warning bells. If you’ve gained weight in the past year and can’t quite figure out why, perhaps you should look at how much fructose you’re feeding your body.
  4. Sugar may be linked to cancer production and may effect cancer survival 
    In the world of nutrition, it’s hard to talk about sugar without talking about insulin. That’s because insulin is sugar’s little chaperone to the cells, and when too much of it is consumed, or our insulin does not work (probably because we’re eating too much sugar) and the body revolts. One connection that has been well documented in the literature is the link between insulin resistance and cancer. A 2013 study found that sugars in the intestine triggered the formation of a hormone called GIP (controlled by a protein called β-catenin that is completely dependant on sugar levels), that in turn, increases insulin released by the pancreas. Researchers found that β-catenin may in fact affect the cells susceptibility to cancer formation. Further studies have found negative associations between high sugar and starch intake and survival rates in both breast cancer patients and colon cancer patients.
  5. Your sugar “addiction” may be genetic
    If you’ve ever said, “I’m completely addicted to sugar,” you may actually be correct. A recent study of 579 individuals showed that those who had genetic changes in a hormone called ghrelin consumed more sugar (and alcohol) than those that had no gene variation. Ghrelin is a hormone that tells the brain you’re hungry. Researchers think that the genetic components that effect your ghrelin release may have a lot to do with whether or not you seek to enhance a neurological reward system through your sweet tooth. Findings with this study were similar to a study conducted in 2012 as well.
  6. Sugar and alcohol have similar toxic liver effects on the body
    A 2012 paper in the journal Nature, brought forth the idea that limitations and warnings should be placed on sugar similar to warnings we see on alcohol. The authors showed evidence that fructose and glucose in excess can have a toxic effect on the liver as the metabolism of ethanol — the alcohol contained in alcoholic beverages had similarities to the metabolic pathways that fructose took. Further, sugar increased the risk for several of the same chronic conditions that alcohol was responsible for. Finally, if you think that your slim stature keeps you immune from fructose causing liver damage, think again. A 2013 study found that liver damage could occur even without excess calories or weight gain.
  7. Sugar may sap your brain power
    When I think back on my childhood, I remember consuming more sugar than I probably should have. I should have enjoyed my youth back then, because unfortunately, all the sugar may have accelerated the aging process. A 2009 study found a positive relationship between glucose consumption and the aging of our cells. Aging of the cells consequently can be the cause of something as simple as wrinkles to something as dire as chronic disease. But there is other alarming evidence that sugar may affect the aging of your brain as well. A 2012 study found that excess sugar consumption was linked to deficiencies in memory and overall cognitive health. A 2009 study in rats showed similar findings.
  8. Sugar hides in many everyday “non-sugar” foods
    While many of my patients strive to avoid the “normal” sugary culprits (candy, cookies, cake, etc.), they often are duped when they discover some of their favorite foods also contain lots of sugar. Examples include tomato sauce, fat free dressing, tonic water, marinates, crackers and even bread.
  9. An overload of sugar (specifically in beverages) may shorten your life
    A 2013 study estimated that 180,000 deaths worldwide may be attributed to sweetened beverage consumption. The United States alone accounted for 25,000 deaths in 2010. The authors summarize that deaths occurred due to the association with sugar-sweetened beverages and chronic disease risk such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
  10. Sugar is making us fat
    I figured I’d leave the most obvious fact for last. While you may be aware that too many calories from any source will be stored as fat if not burned, what you may not connect is that the lack of other nutrients in sugar actually makes it much easier to eat gobs of it with no physical effects to warn us of the danger that lurks. Foods rich in fiber, fat, and protein all have been associated with increased fullness. Sugar will give you the calories, but not the feeling that you’ve had enough. That’s why you can have an entire king-size bag of licorice (with it’s sky high glycemic index) at the movies and come out afterwards ready to go for dinner.

On a final note, it’s important to point out that simple sugars from milk (in the form of lactose) don’t display the same negative health effects that we see in the literature when reviewing sugar’s effects on the body. Simple sugars coming from fruit are also less concerning given their high amounts of disease-fighting compounds and fiber.

So now you know, and knowing perhaps can create action. Stay tuned for more even though you may not want to hear it. We must learn as much as possible about living healthier and happier. Then we can take small steps to begin to change our lives for the better.

 

That Wonderful Comfort Food

I don’t know about you but I have been hungrier than normal lately. Fall is in the air and where I live the temperatures are dropping and letting us know winter is just around the corner. And for some reason that kicks my appetite into overdrive. Because of great genetics I have never had problems with my weight and this time of year makes me realize how lucky I am. I can sympathize with those folks who struggle with craving the wrong food as the weather changes.

Not only because of the colder temperatures but also because it gets dark so early this is the time of year it just feels good to go home from work, sit in front of the television and dig into some tasty comfort foods. And of course just a few nights of that and before you know it, you find yourself planning the big Thanksgiving feast. Which takes us into the baking season of the holidays. Christmas is just more fun with sugar cookies and cherry cobbler like mom made when I was a kid.

Unfortunately, those habits result in feeling sluggish and dull leading to lots of physical and emotional problems to start the new year.

Let’s take a look at a few of the classic comfort foods and see if we can feel just as “comfortable” and still be healthy.
White Chili
We’ll start with chili. Nothing quite like a hot bowl of spicy chili on a cool night to warm you up and make you feel good all over. But, unfortunately, chili is not the healthiest food in the recipe book. But there are certainly plenty of options here to make it just a bit healthier. White chili is one of my favorites made with chicken and white beans instead of ground beef and kidney beans. It can be spiced up just like the traditional bowl and is very satisfying. But is it really as satisfying as the real deal with plenty of artery-clogging grease? Maybe not. How about simply using leaner beef and less of it. Or even go vegetarian. There is plenty of protein in the beans. Add a few extra beans, onions, and green peppers to take the place of the beef. And how about adding some healthy sides to fill you up so you won’t have as much room for the chili. A dish of squash or a salad is way better than the traditional corn bread or even corn chips as a compliment.
Pan Fried Chicken
How about fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy? Talk about a heart attack waiting to happen! Or fried pork chops, chicken fried steak, fried green tomatoes, fried Oreos or any other crazy concoctions you hear about lately. Nothing wrong with chicken but dropping it in boiling grease is not a good plan if you want to be around to see another holiday or two. I know it isn’t the same but dipping some chicken breasts in a mixture of egg and milk, rolling it around in some Ritz cracker crumbs and frying it with just barely enough butter melted in a skillet is just as good and much healthier. Cover the skillet so you don’t have to turn it up so high and keep all the nutrients in the chicken. Boiled red potatoes are a great substitute for mashed potatoes laden with butter and gravy but much healthier. And steamed broccoli can round out the meal.
Veggie Pizza
Pizza is also quite the comfort food but, again, it can be made much healthier with just a few changes. Peperoni is a very popular topping but it is about the worst meat ever created. And sausage is not much better. How about choosing a thin crust veggie pizza? If you must have meat on your pizza, of all the meat options I would go with beef. But go light on the meat and fill up on the veggies.

There are a few comfort foods I can’t help you with. Not much can be done to Mac and Cheese (hold the macaroni, easy on the cheese) to make it healthy. Or biscuits and gravy. Or pecan pie.

I am not a chef and can’t say I can make these suggestions taste like mom’s classics but I do know what is healthy and how making these healthier choices can affect us in positive ways. Like I have said many times, every positive change done daily, no matter how small, can pay dividends in the future. Very few people change overnight but we can all make a few better choices every day along the path of becoming healthier and happier.

7 Steps For Living Healthier Happier Longer

diverse-group-menBuild and maintain healthy social relationships. God created us to be social beings. Even if you are shy or introverted you need other people to share life with. Not only do we receive much joy from others, we need to feel we are helping others and providing value to their lives as well. It gives us meaning and purpose. To be healthy and happy we need many healthy people in our lives from casual friends to our very best intimate friend (or spouse). I believe, and many experts agree, this is the most important factor to living healthier happier longer.

Bike Riding FamilyStay active. Exercise is good for your body and will keep your brain sharp and agile. Exercise should raise your heart rate and increase muscle temperature. And it isn’t necessary to become an obsessive workout beast. All it takes is 20 minutes per day of sustained exercise to do wonders for your body and your mind. Everyone is busy these days but you must make the time for this valuable discipline. Chronic couch potatoes are not living healthier happier longer.

fruits-and-veggies-mainEat fresh produce and whole grains. Vegetables and fruits are necessary for our bodies to thrive. Get familiar with the produce department and stay away from the highly processed convenience foods. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition people who ate five daily servings of fruits and vegetables live three years longer than those who rarely ate produce. And the quality of their lives were better as well. Whole grains keep our digestive tract healthy and our cardiovascular system going strong. Fresh foods help us living healthier happier longer.

Smoker SkullNo smoking! Everyone knows this but not everyone follows this. Smoking is a huge detriment to health in so many ways. Life expectancy is 10 years less for smokers and quality of life is much worse. Just drop it and move on. Be strong. Smokers are not living healthier happier longer.

sleepyGet a good night’s sleep but not too much. Researchers in Europe report that regularly sleeping less than 7 hours per night raised the risk of death 12 percent and sleeping more than 9 hours boosted risk by 30 percent. Many things can prevent sleep but with practice you can overcome those obstacles. How can you truly live healthier happier longer if you go through the day in a fog?

health-healthy-eating-fitness-tips-nutrition-weight-lossMaintain a healthy weight. Weight is more than a diet, it is a lifestyle. Don’t obsess over it. Just make good choices every day and strive to improve. That’s what works for the long term. Eat smart and move. Simple. Not easy but simple. Jim Rohn said “what is easy to do is also easy to not do”.

Benefits-Of-A-Nature-Meditation-300x200Manage stress. How can you possibly live healthier happier longer if you are constantly stressed about things you have no control over? Learn how to change your internal dialogue, focus on the good things in your life and on how you can be a blessing to others. Prayer, meditation, reading/watching inspirational books and videos will eventually change you from the inside out if done consistently. Learn what calms you and make a habit of doing those things.

We must be intentional in our actions and habits to learn how to live healthier happier longer. It is a lifelong journey and is well worth the effort.

11 Food And Drinks Diet Experts Won’t Touch

This caught my attention this weekend and thought it was valuable enough to share. It is from a website “Eat This Health” and is based on a book called “Eat This Not That“.

Granola

What do ketchup and cereal have in common? Nutritionists won’t eat them.

Imagine that you were given the opportunity to peek into the daily diets of nine top-notch nutritionists and dietitians. What would you take note of? Likely not the array of fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats, dairy and healthy fats on their plates—that’s practically a given. What you’d really want to hone in on was all the things they didn’t let pass their lips!

If eaten in moderation, many experts feel there is a place for just about every food in a balanced diet. But as it turns out, there are a number of foods out there that they personally wouldn’t let into their grocery cart, let alone their mouth. Some are in line with what you might expect—but others are pretty surprising (like cereal!). Although, you may not be ready to give up your Frosted Flakes quite yet, get a sneak peak into the eating habits of those who live and breathe nutrition daily.

1 GRANOLA

“One of the leading health food impostors, this common yogurt and ice cream topper has nearly 600 calories, 30 grams of fat, and 24 grams of sugar in one tiny cup. That’s the equivalent of eating not one, but two slices of cheesecake. Which would you prefer? While some granola brands do offer up some nutrition such as fiber, protein and iron, the cons certainly outweigh the pros here. Switch to a lighter alternative like Cheerios or Special K. They pack the same satisfying crunch with a fraction of the calories, fat and sugar.” – Lisa Moskovitz, R.D., founder of The NY Nutrition Group

2 EGG BEATERS

“Eggs that come out of a container are not a health food. Heat pasteurized and made from factory-farmed eggs, this product is processed so much that makers actually have to add in synthetic vitamins to boost its nutrient density. This is as far removed from a natural egg as you can get.” – Dana James CDN, a nutritionist from Food Coach NYC

3 KETCHUP

“Sure it tastes good on just about everything, but what you might not realize is how quickly the sugar and calories in ketchup can accumulate. Just one measly tablespoon has up to four grams of sugar and 20 calories—which might not seem like a lot—but the average consumer will douse their food with at least four or five. Plus, it’s loaded with high fructose corn syrup, which has been shown to increase appetite and, over time, lead to health problems such as obesity and diabetes. If you really can’t live without the stuff, use an all-natural version with no added sugar, chemicals or HFCS.” – Lisa Moskovitz, R.D., founder of The NY Nutrition Group.

4 JUICE

“Juice is just a sugary beverage masked to be a healthy. Although there are some vitamins in it because of its fruit content, some varieties have just as much sugar as a soda. Plus, when you transform produce into juice, you take away its fiber—one of the major benefits of consuming whole fruits and vegetables.” – Leah Kaufman, MS, RD, CDN a New York City-based Registered Dietitian

5 SPAM

“Spam is high in both blood pressure-spiking sodium and artery-clogging fat, which no one really needs to be eating more of. Unless you’re saving in for a horrific power outage, there are better canned proteins to choose from!” – Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, President and Founder of Toby Amidor Nutrition

6 COLD CEREAL

“Most cold cereals are carb-laden, sweet and highly processed. They are definitely not the breakfast of champions—at least not thin champions. If you start your day with a bowl, you will continue to crave carbs as the day goes on. Plus, since it’s not particularly satiating, you will likely be hungry just two hours later.” – Lauren Slayton, MS RD, founder of Foodtrainers

7 FLAVORED COFFEE CREAMER

“I avoid flavored coffee creamers because they are filled with fake ingredients that can do more harm than the flavor is worth. Packed with partially hydrogenated oils (which are just trans fats in disguise), artificial sweeteners, carrageenan and artificial coloring, this seemingly innocent coffee addiction can raise dangerous LDL cholesterol levels and increase the risk of blood clots and heart attack. The healthier choice would be a half and half that only lists milk and cream as ingredients.” – Gina Consalvo, MA, RD, LDN, Pennsylvania-based owner of Eat Well with Gina

8 CHEESE FRIES

“When I see cheese fries on the menu, I wonder why the dish even exists. They take a perfectly nutritious potato, deep fry it and then to top it all off, they load it up with salty, greasy, processed cheese. No, thank you.” – Christine M. Palumbo, MBA, RDN, FAND, a Chicago area registered dietitian and nutrition communications consultant

9 HOT DOGS

“When you’re grilling outside, hot dogs may be the first thing that comes to mind, but they should not be the first thing to hit your plate. Not only are they high in fat, one dog also has more than a quarter of the day’s sodium. Throw this salty dog in a bun and drown it in condiments, and you’ve got yourself a diet disaster. Not to mention, research has shown a correlation between processed meats and colorectal cancer.” – Jim White, R.D., personal trainer and registered dietitian

10 NUTELLA

Nutella is one of those foods that people believe to be healthy because it contains a nut. Although hazelnuts are naturally healthy on their own, they lose their nutrients when they’re transformed into the sweet spread. With over 20 grams of added sugar and only two grams of protein, there’s little reason to indulge.” – Leah Kaufman, MS, RD, CDN a New York City based Registered Dietitian

11 CHEESY PUFFS

“First they crunch, then they melt in your mouth. Cheesy puffs may be delicious, but the unnaturally bright orange snack should be avoided. Not only do their scary chemicals make them totally addictive, but because they are made up of so much air, the brain can’t tell that the stomach is filling up even though the calories are adding up.” – Libby Mills, MS, RDN, LDN, Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics