The key to not only longevity, but also healthful and sustained weight loss and disease protection is to eat predominantly those foods that have a high proportion of nutrients compared to calories. It is important to understand my health equation, which is the foundation of nutritional science:
H=N/C Or Health=Nutrients/Calories.
I call this concept the nutrient density of your diet. You can determine if a food is healthy or not-so-healthy based on how much fiber, phytochemicals, antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and other unnamed (or yet to be discovered) nutrients it contains in proportion to its calories. There are some foods that do not meet these basic requirements at all; they are only detrimental to your overall health and well being. I’ve broken them down below:
1. Barbecued meat, processed meat, and commercial red meat. These foods contain a number of potentially carcinogenic substances, such as N-nitroso compounds in processed meats and heterocyclic amines in high temperature cooked red meats. Actually, every type of meat (not just red meat) produces carcinogenic compounds when cooked at a high temperature. Red and processed meat consumption is now considered a convincing cause of colon cancer. Furthermore, several studies have linked higher red meat consumption to an earlier death. Too much animal protein in general also raises blood levels of IGF-1, a hormone linked to increased cancer risk and worsening of diabetes
2. Full-fat dairy products (cheese, butter, whole milk, ice cream) and trans fats (margarine). These are dangerous, calorie-dense foods that are loaded with saturated fat, contributing to weight gain, elevated cholesterol levels, reduced insulin sensitivity, and several cancers. Of all animal products, milk has the greatest IGF-1-raising effect, potentially increasing cancer risk.
3. Fried foods and baked goods. In addition to the empty calories provided by cooking oils, high heat cooking (including frying) of starchy foods (French fries, potato chips, crackers, cookies, muffins, breakfast cereals, etc.) produces acrylamide, a toxic and potentially cancer-promoting substance. In addition, these cooking methods produce advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which contribute to diabetes complications.
4. Soft drinks, sugars, and artificial sweeteners. Sugary foods and soft drinks produce dangerous spikes in blood glucose and there is also substantial evidence that these elevated blood glucose levels contribute to the development of cancer. Contrary to popular belief, artificial sweeteners are not the answer and not even helpful for weight loss. Sweetened foods enhance appetite and weight gain (even if the calories from the sweetener are insignificant) and perpetuate the desire for excessively sweet foods.
5. Processed foods, white flour products, and white rice. Most processed foods are primarily a combination of refined grains, sugar, and oil. These foods do more than simply add a few extra calories; they can produce harmful nutritional deficits and cellular inflammation. Devoid of fiber and stripped of vital nutrients, they act in the body just like sugar, rapidly elevating blood glucose while providing almost no micronutrient value, promoting diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.