Last year, 80,000 Americans died from complications of the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The 2017-18 flu season death toll was the highest in nearly 40 years, and almost twice as high as what health experts would typically consider a “bad” flu season. It also lasted longer—from November to March—than any recent flu outbreak.
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.
Because August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and because kids will soon be heading back to school, your concierge family practice doctors at MD 2.0 in Jupiter, Florida, thought this would be a good time to review the importance of vaccinations and to knock down some myths about them.
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.
For over 70 years, antibiotics have been a type of wonder drug that can cure a wide range of medical conditions. Unfortunately, because they have performed so well, we have come to rely on them for too many problems, and have put ourselves and our children at risk of possibly fatal consequences.
You lie in bed, trying not to look at the clock, but you know that you have to wake up early. And yet, another half-hour wide awake . . . followed by another hour, then another — Why can’t you sleep? Insomnia plagues many individuals, and your concierge family practice doctors at MD 2.0 in Jupiter, Florida, understand your frustration.
Because we live in South Florida, we’re fortunate to have good weather nearly year-round. Still, there’s something about the longer days that’s definitely energizing. We’re more active, ready to push our bodies beyond what we’ve asked of them in the past. One of the activities that many people are turning to is running. It’s free (except for the cost of shoes), and can be done anywhere, at any time. Plus, your concierge family practice physicians at MD 2.0 in Jupiter, Florida, absolutely encourage incorporating this into your healthy lifestyle.
Your concierge family practice doctors at MD 2.0 in Jupiter, Florida, would like to remind you that this week is the 19th annual National Women’s Health Week, when an alliance of government organizations spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) calls attention to the ways women can improve their health.
When your concierge family practice doctors at MD 2.0 in Jupiter, Florida, prescribe medication for you, we always review the instructions for taking it, and encourage any questions you may have. This is in addition to the medication information which the pharmacy includes in every prescription it dispenses.