There are so many things to love about the holiday season: the decorations, the gaily wrapped gifts, the songs, the traditions, the parties. Along with the parties, however, comes a binge of indulgence in sweets. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional treat, but we do tend to overdo it at this time of year.
Those who are struggling to lose weight sometimes joke that they envy those who can drop pounds without even trying. But unintentional weight loss, especially in older people, can be a sign of a serious problem. Your concierge family practice doctors at MD 2.0 in Jupiter, Florida, would like to examine the phenomenon and suggest what you can do about it.
If the idea of consuming all the eggs, steak, butter, and whipped cream you want while still losing weight appeals to you, you may think you’ve found your heaven-on-earth in the popular “keto” diet. As with all unusual ways of dieting, it is often unsustainable over the long term. Which may be a good thing as this type of eating can sometimes lead to negative health consequences.
Some four million Americans consume probiotic supplements thinking they’ll improve their health. Claims for these supplements range from improved digestion and intestinal function to better-looking skin to boosting mood and relieving anxiety. With such wide-ranging health claims, it’s no wonder that consumption of probiotics has surged in recent years.
Fried chicken. French fries. Even fried vegetables. If it’s edible, Americans have probably fried it. We then feel guilty, because we’ve been told to avoid fried food at all costs, not only for the weight it can pile on but because it’s unhealthy in so many ways.
There’s something about dropping food into hot oil until it comes out all brown and crispy that makes us gravitate toward this method of cooking. We want to explore this common cooking method, and show you a way to enjoy fried foods without endangering your health.
Why does frying have such a bad reputation?
1. Added calories and fat.
Frying versus baking can sometimes double or even triple the number of calories in foods. A small baked potato contains 93 calories and zero grams of fat. Take that same small potato and turn it into French fries and the same-sized potato will deliver 319 calories and 17 grams of fat.
2. The presence of acrylamide, which is a suspected carcinogenic (cancer-causing) substance.
Foods cooked at the high temperatures required for frying causes amino acids to combine with natural sugars present in many foods like potatoes, producing acrylamide as a byproduct.
3. The cooking method.
When oils are heated to the high temperatures required for frying, they become hydrogenated, transforming them into the very unhealthy trans fatty acids. Trans fats are difficult for the body to break down, causing the inflammation which has been linked to heart disease. They lower the so-called “good” cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins—HDL) and raise the “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins—LDL).
4. Salt & Breading
In addition, fried foods are often liberally dusted with salt, which is known to raise blood pressure and increase cardiovascular risk. Can you imagine French fries without salt? Finally, many if not most fried foods are breaded, which soaks up additional cooking oil, making the dish even higher in fat and calories.
What’s the good news?
First, an occasional helping of deep-fried chicken won’t kill you, as long as it’s balanced with a healthy diet the rest of the time. So dig into a heaping pile of French fries or fried fish once every couple of weeks, and have a salad along with them.
Second, there are ways to enjoy the taste of fried foods without all the extra guilt. When frying, skip the trans fats (e.g., lard, butter, coconut oil) and use oils high in the healthier mono- and polyunsaturated fats: canola, olive, and sunflower oils. And don’t crowd food in the pan. Doing so temporarily lowers the temperature of the oil, increasing the required frying time, allowing the food more time to absorb oil. Another trick is to drain the finished food on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
For the taste of fried food with almost no guilt, oven “frying” is the go-to solution. Prepare any food as you would to pan fry, then spritz with olive oil and bake in the oven. You’ll still get the same crispy result without the extra fat calories. And if you can manage to get along without adding salt afterwards, you’ll be even better off. Many herb combinations and salt substitutes are satisfying substitutions that your heart will thank you for.
We don’t want you have a long-but-joyless life, just to make healthier choices most of the time. If you have any questions about these or any other diet issues, please your concierge family practice doctors at MD 2.0 in Jupiter, Florida.
Everyone wants that “magic elixir” that will help them live longer and healthier. So when the news and the Internet are full of the Next New Thing that promises to cure a host of illnesses and add years to your life, your concierge family doctors at MD 2.0 in Jupiter, Florida, typically receive questions from our patients about its efficacy.
Whenever a new study comes out on an old topic—in this case, the relative benefits or risks of egg consumption—your concierge family practice physicians at MD 2.0 in Jupiter, Florida, receive numerous questions from our patients about it. So we’d like to try to clear up the confusion regarding this kitchen staple.
Your concierge family practice doctors at MD 2.0 in Jupiter, Florida, spend a good deal of time discussing healthy food approaches with our patients. One area of concern in trying to maintain health through sensible eating is the topic of food additives and chemicals used in food processing and storage. This is not a new issue: It goes back decades and cautionary warnings have been sounded by such diverse groups as the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Consumers Union, and the Environmental Working Group (EWG), among others. Unfortunately, these public interest groups have often not been taken seriously, either by governmental regulatory agencies or by the public.
Since the 1960s, health proponents around the world — and especially in the U.S. — have touted the benefits of the natural elements in the Mediterranean diet: fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, and light on red meat and dairy. In the 1990s, researchers studied its benefits and found that people who regularly ate this way were far less likely to be overweight or suffer from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Although the United States’ food system has never been safer in the history of the country, cases of widespread food poisoning continue to surface. This is to be expected given our industrialized food manufacturing and distribution processes, but since our focus at our Jupiter concierge family practice is our patients, we would like to take the occasion of the two most recent outbreaks to review steps you can follow to minimize your risk.