February 19th, 2019

4 Foods and Drinks That Are Doing You More Harm Than Good

By Katie Abbott MS, RDN, INHC
Clinical Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Ornish Lifestyle Medicine™

If you sneak maraschino cherries out of the jar for a quick, sweet snack, you should probably think twice.

Maraschino cherries have the unfortunate honor of being on the list of the four foods you should never eat.

These bright red cherries are packed with high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, chemicals and dyes. Because of this, maraschino cherries have lost all the health benefits of the naturally healthy fruit.  Choose fresh or frozen cherries instead.

Here are three more foods and drinks to avoid:

  • Tilefish –Tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico contain the highest levels of mercury of nearly 70 species of fish analyzed by the Food and Drug Administration. Excessive mercury in a human’s bloodstream harms the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune system. It’s a significant concern for pregnant women because mercury can cross the placenta and harm the baby’s brain development. Swordfish and shark are also high in mercury. Seafood with the lowest levels of mercury include scallops, clams, shrimp, oysters and tilapia.
  • Sugar sweetened beverages – Sugar sweetened beverages include most sodas, sweet teas, sweetened fruit drinks and sugary coffees. These sugary liquids go down quickly and easily. They also contain a lot of calories but don’t make you feel full. Sugar sweetened beverages increase the risk of obesity, high blood glucose levels, high triglycerides, and inflammation. The best choices for beverages include water, sparkling water, coffee, or tea.
  • Nitrates – Nitrates are preservatives in meat that keep it from turning gray. Deli meats, hotdogs, bacon and sausages all contain nitrates. Nitrates turn into nitrosamine when they hit stomach acid. The formation of nitrosamine has been linked with stomach cancer and other cancers along the digestive tract. Nitrate-free meat is available. Just check the label. The meat is preserved using natural nitrates, such as celery salts, instead.

Katie Abbott graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a master of science in public health nutrition. She is certified by the Commission on Dietetic Registration as a registered dietitian nutritionist and is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in the Integrative and Functional Medicine Dietetic Practice Group. She also participates in many community organizations that focus on healthy eating. Katie enjoys going to work every day knowing that she is guiding patients on a life-changing journey towards health and wellness.