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This Week in Health: Dangerous Foods

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Health News Recap for the week of April 21-27, 2013

Do Calories or Burn Rate Matter more?

If knowing the calories contained in a food works a little to dissuade you from ordering fatty foods, knowing the work you have to do to burn it of dissuades a lot. Here's what's at play...

A Texas Christian University study found learning how much exercise it would take to shed the extra weight from the food you're about to eat can be a powerful weight loss weapon. Diners who didn't know what the study was about and who were all equally hungry received one of three menus: no info, calories and amount of walking it would take to burn off an item. They found that diners ordering from menus listing how much time it would take to burn off the food item tended to order less than those who used menus that listed calorie counts. Those who knew the effort ordered 100 fewer calories. That can be significant over a lifetime.

Calories are a nebulous and unclear measure that isn't well understood. But most people know they have a finite amount of time and, er, laziness. Most people want to make the right choice and will differ to the greater treadmill when provided with the easy calculation. Here are the top 10 foods you can't afford the time to consume.

The Most Dangerous Food on Your Plate

There has been an increase in recalls of late and now there is evidence of two key contributors
The Centre for Science in the Public Interest has completed a survey of 1,700 outbreaks over 12 years and they found that ground beef and ground chicken are most risky.

This issue is processing. It isn't that whole cuts of meat don't have the pathogens, they do. It is that in a ground product, many pieces from many animals are incorporated. In whole meats, you typically cook off the surface to a safe temperature, thereby killing the bacteria. When ground, the surface in turned within where it has an even greater chance to grow and a lesser chance of being cooked to the proper temperature.

Personally, I avoid ground meats.

But if you are going to consume them, be sure they are properly chilled at the grocery store. There is a fill line in the open fridges, if meat is stacked too high, it gets too warm. Reach to the back, bottom. Keep cold in transit, use an insulated bag and wash it often. Check each burger or many sections of a meatloaf to be sure the temperature is consistently over 185F. Colour is not a good indicator of done-ness.

The Mediterranean Diet Under the Microscope

It is generally accepted that the Mediterranean diet is the best style of eating for lifelong health but now there is data outlining exactly how much of each food is optimal.

According to a study at the University of California, the average example amounts of the following were considered to have a positive impact on overall mortality, reduction in cardiovascular disease.

Low Fat Dairy: 1 cup
Fruit: 1 medium apple or ¾ cup of berries
Vegetables: 1 cup chopped broccoli
Whole Grains: ¾ cup cooked brown rice
Meat: 3 ounces (small, thin burger)
Fish: 1 ounce (1 cheese string)
Legumes: 1 tablespoon

What these numbers indicate is that it really takes very little of these healthy foods to be classified as a Mediterranean diet. Perhaps the key to the healthiest diet isn't simply the addition of these healthy foods but also the avoidance of the white carbohydrates and bad fats. Go figure.

50 Of The Healthiest Foods
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