5 foods I almost never eat and some healthy substitutes
- Cardiologist Harmony Reynolds said she almost never eats foods like chips and snacks.
- He opts for healthy substitutes such as popcorn or fruit, and moderately enjoys less healthy treats such as bacon.
- Research shows that processed foods increase the risk of serious diseases such as heart disease.
It’s not realistic to try to follow the “perfect” diet all the time — but smart substitutions can help keep your heart healthy without cutting out the snacks you enjoy.
Reynolds told Insider that as a doctor, it can be difficult to give nutritional advice because nutritional research often doesn’t provide clear answers about how food can affect health.
“We need a lot more well-conducted nutrition science. Many of the recommendations we make are based on limited evidence, which leaves patients with the impression that we are often second-guessing ourselves,” she said.
Reynolds said that based on the available evidence, she avoids certain foods and uses strategies to enjoy less healthy foods in moderation.
Margarine and coconut oil are linked to poorer heart health
Reynolds said she avoids margarine and vegetable oil because observational studies suggested that their consumption is associated with higher cardiovascular mortality, although it is not clear why, since they do not appear to raise risk factors such as cholesterol.
Coconut oil is also of concern, as it consists of saturated fat, linked to risks for heart health.
“I learned to ask patients about it because I saw more patients whose LDL cholesterol went up because they introduced foods that contained coconut oil,” Reynolds said.
Butter it can even be a better alternative if used in moderation.
But olive oil is the healthiest choiceresearch shows.
“People should cook with it whenever possible, and if they use other fats, use as little as possible,” Reynolds said.
Chips are difficult to eat in moderation
Reynolds said she wasn’t eating chips or keep them at home because it’s too easy to eat the whole bag.
“I know myself and I know that with the best intentions to eat two chips and leave it on the side, that’s not how it works,” she said.
She said popcorn can be a healthier alternative, or even fresh vegetables if you’re craving a crunchy snack.
For similarly craveable treats like chocolate bars, Reynolds said, she’ll buy pre-portioned packages to make it easier to enjoy in moderation.
He only eats bacon as a special treat
Extensive evidence suggests that processed meats are associated with higher risk of serious diseases such as cancer and heart disease, compelling reasons to limit it in your diet, according to Reynolds.
“I don’t know what a safe amount is,” she said.
However, it is also a food she enjoys and eats several times a year for special occasions.
“I think it helps people to know that the people giving the advice are people too. Patients can’t be perfect at following a diet,” she said. “It’s important to recognize that there are times when you want a treat and it’s not really productive to say I’m never going to eat the foods I enjoy. It’s better, I think, to try to eat less and switch up where you can.”
Replace processed desserts with dark chocolate to reduce unhealthy fats
Reynold said the last group of foods she tries to stay away from are processed desserts like packaged cookies and donuts, because they’re high in sugar and unhealthy fats, which are linked to health risks such as diabetes and heart disease.
Fruit, yogurt, dark chocolate and nuts could be healthier sweets. But again, moderation and self-awareness are key to enjoying food while minimizing potential health risks.
“When I’m at parties and there’s something I know isn’t healthy for me and I want to try it, I’ll take one taste and pay close attention. If I like it, I let myself enjoy it. If I don’t like it, I leave it alone.” foreign,” she said.