I was in line the other day at Stop and Shop. I love Stop and Shop by the way. I had about 12 items so I decided to hop into the Express line. In front of me, a middle-aged woman was checking out. She started to load her items onto the moving conveyor belt: white bread, hamburger buns, lemonade, and a wrapped-in-plastic, extra-large value pack of red meat chunks. The red meat chunks was surprisingly cheap - $7 for what looked like a an 18 inch long package of meat. It was enough to feed an entire party and still have leftovers.
Eat Less Red Meat
At this point you have no excuse. A burger here and there is probably fine. Some doctors will say ‘Everything is ok in moderation.’ I disagree but I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. There is endless research on the internet (if you ignore the paid research from the meat industry) that red meat is bad for your health. Some red meats are high in saturated fats. Saturated fats can raise your LDL cholesterol. High LDL cholesterol can lead to heart disease. It’s really not that complicated. Need more proof? “A recent National Institutes of Health-AARP study of more than a half-million older Americans concluded that people who ate the most red meat and processed meat over a 10-year-period were likely to die sooner than those who ate smaller amounts. Those who ate about 4 ounces of red meat a day were more likely to die of cancer or heart disease than those who ate the least, about a half-ounce a day. Epidemiologists classified the increased risk as “modest” in the study.” source: Web MD The Truth About Red Meat.
Red meat is certainly high in protein and it is also high in B12 and rich in iron. Iron is difficult to get and particularly important for a woman’s diet. Zinc keeps the immune system working well and iron is crucial for a strong immune system. But protein, B12 and zinc, despite the noise from vegetarian-diet critics, can be readily found in vegetarian meals.
Processed Sugars May be Making You Sick
Did you know that eating too much processed sugar increases your risk of heart disease? Part of the problem is that processed sugars have unfortunately become a staple in American diet. And it doesn’t matter whether you are overweight or not. Heart disease is a problem for everyone. “Over the course of the 15-year study on added sugar and heart disease, participants who took in 25% or more of their daily calories as sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease as those whose diets included less than 10% added sugar. Overall, the odds of dying from heart disease rose in tandem with the percentage of sugar in the diet—and that was true regardless of a person’s age, sex, physical activity level, and body-mass index (a measure of weight).” source: Harvard Health - Eating too much added sugar increases the risk of dying with heart disease
Refined sugars can also lead to tooth decay, gaining weight, diabetes and nutrient depletion. It seems that everywhere you turn, processed sugars have been added into your drinks and food, whether you like it or not.
White Bread Comes with a Undesirable Health Risks
White bread comes with refined flour which is a fancy way of saying processed flour. “When a grain is refined, such as in the making of flour for white bread, the outermost and innermost layers of the grain are removed. This removes the fiber and some (25 percent) protein, leaving behind the starch,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies. You may see "enriched flour" on the label. While this flour has had some nutrients like B vitamins and iron added back in after the refining process, it’s still lower in fiber and protein than whole-wheat flour. Opting for whole-grain varieties carries with it a dose of healthy fiber and more protein, adding a nutritional boost to meals.” source: Everyday Health - Reasons to Skip White Bread
White bread can cause rapid rises in blood sugar levels and cause you to have that ‘crashing’ feeling that you have after a big lunch. All that extra sugar in the bloodstream is stored as fat inside in the body. Are you grossed out yet?
Eat Less Processed Sugars, Less Red Meat and Whole Grains
There are solutions to these common problems. Switching your diet is not easy. It takes months of consistent dedication to truly make a sustainable change.
What can you start doing today? Stop eating red meat. A little in moderation is ok but ask your doctor more about this. You can definitely cut back on processed and refined sugars and processed flour. Instead opt for breads with whole grains which provide nutritional value. You have only one life to live. Take care of yourself!