Some Bad Foods and Additives
(See also Environmental
ACID/ALKALINE BALANCE Modern
diets tend to be too high in acid-producing
foods, which can lead to osteoporosis and other problems. The use of drugs exacerbates the problem
since most are acid producing.
sugar is present in small quantities in fruits where it is bound with fibers
that slow absorption. Juicing frees
the fructose, which is why some people have problems with juices. Much worse is the widespread use of high
fructose corn syrup as a sweetener.
As a result fructose consumption has increased nearly tenfold.
other sugars, it goes directly to the liver and helps form fat storage
molecules that can be deposited on artery walls by LDL cholesterol.
may accelerate the aging process because it increases the formation of advanced
glycation end products which are thought to play a
role in cataract formation, kidney problems and blood vessel blockage.
stimulation of cortisone production by the adrenals may lead to gland
note to gout sufferers, it increases the production of uric acid.
SOY PRODUCTS American
use of soy is different from Asian use.
Processed soy is used in many products as a protein source. As such, it is a poor choice because it
is low in the essential amino acid methionine. A much better choice is dairy protein
(whey and eggs). For information
about good aspects, see soybeans below. Soy contains compounds that are bad for
Phytates bind to
minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium and prevent their absorption. Ironically for those who eat soy
products for health & fitness, iron deficiency can reduce vitality and lead
to weight gain.
Protease inhibitors inhibit protein digestion,
making soy protein harder to digest and possibly stressing the pancreas.
Phytoestrogens, plant estrogen
mimics, which can also interfere with thyroid function and testosterone
production when eaten in sufficient quantities.
- ALCOHOL Kills brain cells (especially in bingers), can
cause cirrhosis, and may contribute to breast cancer; but moderate
drinking (1-3 drinks/day) with meals has some benefits for middle age and
older people: Boosts HDL
(good cholesterol), reduces risk of Alzheimer's
and dementia in older people, may reduce risk of macular
degeneration, helps diabetes (trial on women; 2 drinks/day
best). (SN 2/2/02 p.67 and 3/8/03 p.155). Red wine has other advantages. Acid-producing.
- APPLES may have high levels of pesticide
- AVOCADOS have
low levels of pesticide
residues. High in fat, but mostly monounsaturated,
which is good. Source of glutathione.
- BANANAS contain vitamin
- BEANS (dried) See soybeans. (No info on other beans at present.)
- BEEF Grass-fed
have a higher proportion of good fats (including omega-3) than do
grain-fed, but may be slightly less tender and milder in flavor (Consumer Rpts. 11/02 p.32). It is claimed that the
presence of E. coli bacteria is significantly reduced if cattle are
grass-fed for at least 3 days before slaughter.
very high in antioxidants.
Help prevent urinary tract infections. Acid-producing
(bad), but still good in balance because of antioxidants.
- BRAZIL NUTS very good
source of selenium.
See also nuts. Acid-producing.
- BROCCOLI contains folate (a B
vitamin) and phytochemicals. See CRUCIFEROUS
- CAFFEINE found in chocolate, coffee, and tea. Generally
avoid: Can raise blood pressure,
heart rate and stress hormones, so may increase risk of heart disease.
Several cups of coffee per day increase postmenopausal bone loss, prehaps because caffiene is acid-producing. Also bad for diabetes
Vasodilator: less effort to pump blood when exercising (SN 11/25/95
p.360); can also help blood flow to brain.
- CARROTS are high in
beta-carotene, an important antioxidant.
- CHERRIES may have high levels of pesticide
residues. Imported often have lower residues. Very low glycemic index.
- CHOCOLATE contains caffeine, but is also contains potent antioxidants
(SN 3/18/00 p.188).
- CINNAMON 1/2
teaspoon per day given to 60 people with type II diabetes after 40 days
reduced fasting glucose (18%-29%), triglycerides (23%-30%), LDL
cholesterol (7%-27%) and total cholesterol (12%-26%), and higher amounts
were no more effective (Agri. Food Chem. 2004,
52(1) p.65 and Diabetes Care 2003, 26(12), p.3215 cited in Alt 6/04 p.92)
[no info in Alt on HDL/LDL ratio].
- COCONUT OIL has a variety of benefits (WBJ
3/03 p.29). It is an excellent choice for cooking because it is stable at
high temperatures. It need not be refrigerated. Apparently pure oil is hard to find
but is available (Alt. 7/05 p.7).
- COFFEE See CAFFEINE
above. French press, Scandavian, Turkish,
and Greek contain diterpenes,
which raise cholesterol levels (SN 9/16/95 p.182). Acid-producing
help prevent urinary tract infections. Beware of juices; they're high
in added sugars. Dried extract is available in capsule form.
- CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES (include broccoli, brussels
sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, radish, mustard, horseradish, wasabi)
High in glutathione.
Contain glucosinolates, which help
detoxification enzymes (HNB 1/99 p.40).
Sulforaphane inhibits cancer formation and is
most concentrated in broccoli sprouts -- about 50 times level in mature
broccoli -- but they must be chewed well (SN 9/20/97 p.183). Sulforaphane also kills H. pylori, which causes
stomach ulcers; however, it is unclear now (2002) if food provides enough
for this purpose.
- DAIRY PRODUCTS See
milk or eggs.
- EGGS High
in lecithin, which is a source of choline, balances out the cholesterol, and
facilitates the absorption of lutein
from eggs. There is debate
about their effects on bad cholesterol. An excellent source of protein.
- FERMENTED FOODS including buttermilk, yogurt, and
sauerkraut and other lactic-acid fermented vegetables have a variety of
benefits, including bowel motility, improved pancreatic function and
anticancer compounds. You may have to ferment your own
vegetables: Commercial pickles, fermented with vinegar rather than
brine, are useless. Products pasteurized after fermentation are less
useful since the lactobacilli have been killed. (Alt. special
- FISH Some
Q-10 Cold water fish tend to be high in omega-3
compared to omega-6. There
is a small
table. Since fish oil can increase LDL
(bad cholesterol) levels, one might combine it with garlic oil (SN 2/15/97
(bad). Mercury and other toxins are a concern, especially in albacore
tuna, tuna steaks, shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish all of
which should be eaten at most once per week according to an FDA
recommendation. As a rule, eat non-scavengers that are low on the
food chain. These are generally smaller fish and plankton-eating
Best source of omega-3,
high in fiber and lignans -- but must be ground. (What if you
keep it moist for about 3 days so it starts to sprout?) Dr. David
Williams suggests blending on high for about a minute 1/4-1/2 cup ground
flaxseed, 1/2 cup milk & 3-4 ice cubes. Only grind seed as
needed since it oxidizes quickly.
- GRAINS (WHOLE) contain
- GRAPEFRUIT may tend to
stones. Grapefruit enhances some drugs--could lead to an overdose. Very low glycemic index.
- GREEN TEA See TEA.
- HONEY made from alkaloid
producing plants (e.g. borage, comfrey), alkaloid levels may be
dangerously high (SN 5/18/02 p.317). A variety of studies have shown
that topical application of raw honey is often better than
antibiotics in wound treatment (including severe burns), also stimulating regrowth and leading to less scarring than
conventional treatments (Alt 1/04 p.50 cites various studies) .
- LEAFY GREENS (DARK) these are quite high in carotenoids and help prevent heart
disease. (Iceberg lettuce is light and so is relatively low in carotenoids.)
- LETTUCE see leafy greens.
- MARGARINE most
are high in trans-fats,
which are bad.
- MEAT Various meats,
especially liver, are high in choline. Acid-producing
- MILK Various
products are made from milk and various animals provide milk. Some
people find goat-milk products are better for them than cow-milk
products. Ditto for fermented milk products (buttermilk and yogurt)
since they contain lactase. While pasteurization has some
justification for disease prevention, it does denature some parts of the
milk. There is evidence that the cosmetic process of homogenization
makes milk harder to digest. (Alt. 5/05 p.184)
- Butter & Ghee
is a fermented food.
- Milk itself
There are some indications that it is harder to absorb beneficial
nutrients from nonfat milk. The information under butter and whey
applies to milk.
- Whey Whey powder is high in proteins and contains stress
reducing factors. components with antimicrobial and antiviral activity,
high levels of compounds needed to synthesize glutathione,
and other immune system support (see Alt. 4/05 for more information and
journal references). If you want whey but lactose intolerant, there
are lactose-free powders; also, adding yogurt or buttermilk to the whey
powder may provide enough lactase.
cultures in yogurt are "probiotics"
(bacteria that provide benefits). Those in yogurt help against
arthritis (only data so far in rats) (SN 8/14/04 p.100). See also fermented foods. Flavored yogurts contain
added sugar. If you don't like plain yogurt but eat cereal, try
replacing some of the milk with yogurt.
- MILLET is considered to be
one of the least allergenic and most easily digestible grains.
- NUTS are often high in vitamin
oils and ellagic acid (antioxidant). High fat content
is not a problem (SN 11/21/98 p.328). May be a useful as a
replacement for statin drugs: 5 oz./week of walnuts
reduce risk of cardiovascular disease 30% to 50% (Alt 1/02 p.55); one ounce
of mixed nuts five times per week reduces risk of heart disease 30%,
probably due to good fats (Discover 9/01 p.12). In a healthy diet
plan, they are as effective as statins
(Circulation 2002; 106(11) p.1327 cited in Alt. 12/02 p.138).
Almonds are one of the few alkaline
nuts and can also lower triglycerides (J. Nutr.
2002 132(04); p.703 cited in Alt 12/02 p.139)
- PEANUTS High
in choline. Acid-producing
high in flavonoids, especially anthocyanins. Juice has helped atherosclerosis and
made LDL less
susceptible to oxidation (SN 1/8/05 p.28; Alt. 5/05 p.182).
- POTATOES contain vitamin
B6. Pigmented potatoes are being bred from South American
varieties, thereby increasing flavonoid content and often flavor (SN 1/6/05
- SAUERKRAUT see
- SOYBEANS contain
are high in protein,
but they lack certain proteins children need (L-methionine
and L-taurine). High in choline. Very low glycemic index. Too much unfermented soy may
be bad, especially for children due to estrogen
mimics. (Further discussion above.) About
20% fat whereas most beans are 1%-2%. Other beans contain many of
the good things in soy, but they haven't been studied as much (HS Spring
2002, p.18). Natto (soy cheese) is useful
- SPINACH see leafy greens.
- STRAWBERRIES may have high levels of pesticide
- TEA Real tea (not herb tea) has a variety of beneficial
effects, including the list below. Also see caffeine.
Since tea leaves are normally not washed, you may want to buy
- Green tea contains
EGCG (SN 1/2/99 p.15), which also appears to enhance insulin (Alt. 1/03
p.151; SN 5/1/04 p.283).
(bioflavonoids) in tea are antivirals,
especially against herpes simplex, and powerful antioxidants (Alt. 10/05
- All tea contains the
amino acid L-theanine which helps T cells
produce interferon (body's first line of bacterial defense) -- in an in
vitro study, about 5 times more was produced by heavy (5-6 cups) tea
drinkers' blood versus non-drinkers' (Discover 1/04 p.31).
- In a black tea study,
a cup or two a day cut severe atherosclerosis
in half and, in older women, at least four cut it 3/4 (SN 10/30/99
- Tea -- especially with
a twist (including rind) of lemon, grapefruit or lime -- is protective in
all stages of skin
cancer (Alt. 2/02 p.61, from Skin Pharm. Appl. Skin Physiol. 01,
- Processing destroys
the antioxidants (following data from USA Weekend 12/19/03 p.4):
- "White" tea
has highest levels due to less processing, but I have no data.
- Black tea contains
roughly 70% as much as green.
reduces levels about 50%.
- Bottled and powdered
teas have little antioxidants.
good source of lycopene and saponins.
- TURMERIC contains curcumin, which appears to reduce incidence of some
cancers (SN 5/18/02 p.317) and help prevent alcohol-induced inflammation
and tissue death (J. Physiology cited in USA Weekend 5/30/03 p.15).
- WHEY See milk.
- WINE, RED contains
stone risk. Helps heart
vessels (SN 2/28/98 p.142, 1/5/02 p.8). See also alcohol.
- YOGURT See milk.