Which foods are truly disease-promoting?

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Dr. Fuhrman is a best-selling author and board certified family physician specializing in lifestyle and nutritional medicine.

Dr. Fuhrman is a best-selling author and board certified family physician specializing in lifestyle and nutritional medicine.

Sadly, disease-promoting foods are the predominantly eaten foods in the typical American diet – scientific studies have determined that these foods are associated with risk of chronic disease or premature death, and/or containcancer-promoting substances.

True disease-promoting foods – these are harmful foods that should be avoided:

Cheese, butter, and ice cream.  These are dangerous foods that are loaded with saturated fat and contribute to elevated cholesterol levels and several cancers. Dairy products are also associated with prostate cancer in men.

Potato chips and French fries. High heat cooking produces acrylamides, dangerous cancer-promoting substances.  Acrylamides have been shown to cause genetic mutations in animal studies leading to several cancers.  Fried starchy foods, like potato chips and fries, are especially high in acrylamides and other toxic compounds.  Baked starchy foods like breakfast cereals and crackers also contain these dangerous substances.

Refined carbohydrates.  Sugar and white flour products are not nutritionally inert, simply adding a few extra calories to the diet – they are harmful.  Devoid of fiber and stripped of vital nutrients, these refined foods promote diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

Salt.  The dangers of salt are increasingly recognized, with government agencies finally considering salt reduction programs.  Excess salt intake contributes not only to high blood pressure, but also to kidney disease, heart disease, osteoporosis, stroke, ulcers, and stomach cancer.  Salt consumption becomes the leading contributor to a premature death in a individual eating an otherwise health-supporting diet.

Pickled, smoked, barbecued, or processed meats.  Processed meats have been strongly and consistently linked to colorectal cancer, and more recently have been linked to prostate cancer.  Processed meats contain carcinogenic substances called heterocyclic amines. In fact, any type of meat cooked at a high temperature will also contain these substances—for example, grilled or fried chicken was found to have the highest level of heterocyclic amines. High processed meat intake is also associated with increased rates of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Dr Fuhrman is a best-selling author and board certified family physician specializing in lifestyle and nutritional medicine.  For more information, visit his website at DrFuhrman.com.