Imagine you could sneak a glance at Jim Cramer’s private investment account. Or sit in on a training session in Jillian Michaels’ home gym. Or watch Bobby Flay whip up a meal in his own kitchen. You’d probably get money, fitness and cooking secrets that these experts never reveal to their television audience.
Now imagine you were having dinner with the top health experts in the world. You know what they tell others to eat. But wouldn’t you love to know what they were going to put into their own mouths–and what foods they ban from their bodies? When it comes to their most important patient of all–themselves–what choices do they make?
To find out, the editors of Eat This, Not That! reached out to some of the nation’s top cardiologists, gastroenterologists, plastic surgeons, OBGYNs, and specialists in the fields of sports medicine, obesity and preventative medicine. As expected, they prioritize eating an array of fresh produce, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats. But it’s the foods they won’t eat–including “health” foods–that you’ll find truly surprising.
#1 DOCTOR NO-NO
Grande Cups of Coffee
Don’t worry—you can still keep your Starbucks habit. Just don’t always order the large. You’ll feel it in your bones. “I try to avoid excessive caffeine,” says Dr. Mamta M. Mamik, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “An adult can safely consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day—which is equivalent to four 8-ounce cups of coffee—but drinking any more than that can cause calcium excretion, which, over time, may lead to osteoporosis. Plus, avoiding excess caffeine also helps to ward off uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms like lethargy, insomnia, headaches and irritability.” And you thought you only felt aggravated when drinking less!
Eat This, Not That! Tip: Drink black tea instead. There’s less caffeine per cup, compared to coffee (14-70 mg vs. 95-200 mg), but you still get a buzz—and you can lose up to 10 pounds in one week for pennies a day if you make it part of a plan. It worked for Tracy Durst, age 45, of Lewistown, PA, when she did our 7-Day Flat-Belly Diet and Tea Cleanse. “I went from a size 20 to a size 16, alive with energy,” she told Eat This, Not That! “This is not a diet or cleanse for me but a way of life!” For the complete meal plan, try it yourself and slim down—fast—on The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Diet and Cleanse!
#2 DOCTOR NO-NO
“Low-Fat” Packaged Goods
When Rebekah Gross, MD, a gastroenterologist at the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU Langone Medical Center, says she avoids low-fat foods, she doesn’t mean foods that are naturally low in fat. She means processed foods marketed as “low-fat.” “Typically, these items are extensively processed and packed with chemicals that are added to try to achieve the consistency or reproduce the flavor of the full-fat models on which they are based,” she says. Think Skinny Cow ice cream or Reduced Fat Jif Peanut Butter, both made with additives like mono and diglycerides.
Eat This, Not That! Tip: “Indulge in a smaller portion of a food naturally high in fat or sugar than ingest an artificial substitute,” suggests Gross. “In most cases, the real deal tastes better, is more satisfying, and doesn’t cause the gastrointestinal upset that can be associated with highly processed foods.” To find out what dangerous additives are hidden in your favorite foods, read this FREE new study from Eat This, Not That!: 24 Biggest Nutrition Myths—Busted!
#3 DOCTOR NO-NO
“I try to avoid foods that contains trans-fats, corn syrup and added sugars,“ says Eugenia Gianos, MD, cardiologist, Co-Clinical Director, Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease at NYU Langone Medical Center. Believe it or not, the friendly Quaker Oats guy is selling you those—if you buy the flavored variety, like Instant Oatmeal Fruit & Cream. "Often listed as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, synthetically engineered trans-fats increase your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and decrease your good (HDL) cholesterol levels, upping your risk of heart attack and stroke,” says Gianos.
Eat This, Not That! Tip: Try plain steel-cut oats, and add fresh fruits, a touch of honey or an ounce of nuts to your bowl—and prepare your meal the night before to wake up slimmer. Click here for our essential 14 Overnight Oats Recipes for Weight Loss!
#4 DOCTOR NO-NO
Soda—Yes, Even Diet Soda
“I don’t drink soda,” says Guillem Gonzalez-Lomas, MD, sports medicine specialist and assistant professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center. “A long time ago cola had cocaine in it, and it’s arguably gotten even more unhealthy since then!” He goes on to list the reasons why you should give it up—you might want to put down that can while waiting; it’s long. “Most sodas contain phosphorus, which binds to calcium and increases calcium loss, which is terrible for bone health,” he begins. “Plus, just one can is filled with 40 grams of sugar—the equivalent of 20 sugar cubes—which makes it challenging for the body to maintain healthy glucose and insulin levels.” As for the supposedly diet-friendly Diet Coke? “Diet soda is potentially worse. Diet beverages contain low doses of carcinogens and artificial sweeteners that have potentially dangerous effects on the brain and metabolism. While everything in moderation is reasonable, I steer clear of sodas—high risk, no reward.”
Eat This, Not That! Tip: If you need further warning, click here to see our report that blew up the Internet this week: What Happens to Your Body When You Give Up Soda!
#5 DOCTOR NO-NO
“Although I love them, I try to stay away from cream-based soups,” says, Dr. Taz Bhatia, integrative health expert and author of The 21-Day Belly Fix. “They not only bother my stomach, but are also loaded with empty calories and often have concerning fillers like hydrolyzed proteins, food dyes and corn syrup that I find out about later!”
Eat This, Not That! Tip: Eat clean—and never feel bloated again—by enjoying any of these tummy-flattening 9 Flat-Belly Superfoods.
#6 DOCTOR NO-NO
It’s OK to have a cheeseburger once in a while. You just don’t want to parrott John Belushi—“cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger!” “One cheeseburger never killed anybody unless they choked on it,” jokes Blase Carabello, MD, Chairman of Cardiology at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital. “And there isn’t a food I avoid entirely. However, I do limit myself to one per month since the dish is high in heart disease-causing saturated fat and served in a processed bun made with refined carbohydrates.”
Eat This, Not That! Tip: We’ve researched the tastiest cheeseburgers—and the most disgusting, including one with nine patties! Don’t miss this essential list of The Best and Worst Burgers in America 2015!
#7 DOCTOR NO-NO
“I eat a very clean, plant-based diet so the avoid list is long for me,” warns David L. Katz, MD, MPH, Director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center and President of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. “However, even for those who eat meat, the processed varieties are a bad choice. While the link between meat and chronic disease is fairly tenuous, the connection between salt-, sugar- and chemical-laden processed meats and chronic disease risk is strong and consistent.” Makes you wish you weren’t an Oscar Meyer weiner.
Eat This, Not That! Tip: “If you eat meat, it should be pure—like you want your own muscles to be,” says Katz. “If you eat the highly processed, adulterated meats they may pay it forward to the meat on your own bones.” We recommend Applegate Naturals Slow Cooked Ham or Louis Rich Carving Board Baked Chicken, made with all-natural ingredients.
#8 DOCTOR NO-NO
“As a plastic surgeon, I’m always thinking about my figure,” says New York City-based physician, Lara Devgan, MD. “To that end, I never eat energy bars or granola bars. Although they can be tasty, for the amount of calorie-dense carbs and fat they contain, you might as well eat a candy bar.”
Eat This, Not That! Tip: Devgan warns against empty calories. “Many of these bars are packed with simple sugars, and they aren’t quite filling enough to substitute for a meal or snack,” she says. Instead, fill up—while slimming down—by eating any of these incredibly delicious 50 Best Snacks for Weight Loss!
#9 DOCTOR NO-NO
“I avoid soy milk,” notes Gonzalez-Lomas. “Yes, the horror stories linking overconsumption of soy products to estrogen-like effects–like the development of enlarged breasts in otherwise healthy males–are exceptional. However, the fact is that soy mimics estrogen and activates estrogen receptors in the body. Do you want to take that risk?”
Eat This, Not That! Tip: “There are plenty of other milk substitutes—like almond milk—that don’t carry the same potential side effects,” says Gonzalez-Lomas.
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