Foods That Endanger Heart Health

Despite all the controversy about the triglycerides diet, there are no arguments that there are certain foods that endanger heart health. And, as research continues to be done, that list is growing longer. Even foods once thought to be health, or at least neutral when it came to heart health are making the list. Here are some of the foods that can put you at increased risk for having a heart attack or developing heart disease.

Foods With Trans Fats

Trans fats is the worst type of fat you can eat. In fact, government researchers assigned to determine what level of trans fats is safe to eat found out that no amount of trans fats are safe.  None. Zero. Nada. Never eat trans fats.

Trans fats do not occur in nature. They are completely man-made by an industrial process in which hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oils. This is to make the oil solid so the food doesn’t go rancid as quickly. Adding trans fats gives processed food a longer shelve life. And it makes the food taste good.

Trans fats can be found in the fried foods you eat in restaurants and fast food joints. Frying oil with trans fats added can be used over and over again.

Another name for trans fats that you may see on the ingredient list is partially hydrogenated oils. Whenever you see the words ‘partially hydrogenated…’ on the ingredient list, you can be sure the food has transfats.

Trans fats will increase your bad (LDL) cholesterol as it lowers your good (HDL) cholesterol. This will put you at an increased risk for heart disease and strokes.

Common foods with trans fats are:

  • Crackers
  • Solid stick margarine
  • Shortening
  • Pizza dough
  • Pie crusts
  • French fries
  • Doughnuts
  • Packaged cookies and cake

in 2006 United States government regulated that food labels list the content of trans fats. As a result, many food companies are trying to eliminate the trans fats from their food products. So they are switching to other oils, such as palm oil. Unfortunately, palm oil is not much better than trans fat.

Palm Oil Promotes Heart Disease

Palm oil is high in saturated fat and this is bad for the health of your heart. Palm oil is being added to foods such as shortening, margarine, baked goods and candy. Palm oil is also an ingredient in soups and sauces and other cooking oils. You may find it combined with soy and canola oil.

The food industry claims that palm oil is safe and healthful. However, most health authorities agree that palm oil does promote heart disease. Their statement is based on evidence that goes back to 1970. These studies show that palm oil raises total cholesterol.

The popularity of the use of palm oil in food products is growing. So much so, that palm oil will be the world’s most produced and traded edible oil by the year 2012.

Not only does palm oil harm our hearts, it is also harming the environment. Because the demand for palm oil is so strong, countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia are clearing rain forests in order to plant oil palm, from which we get palm oil.

High Glycemic Carbohydrates

Certain kinds of carbohydrates can increase your risk of developing heart disease. Specifically, these carbohydrates rate high on the glycemic index. High glycemic index carbohydrates are the simple carbohydrates. These are white bread, white rice and various breakfast cereals. High glycemic index carbohydrates range in the 70s on the glycemic index scale.

These types of foods not only increase your triglycerides but they will spike your blood sugar, which then triggers insulin production. A 2009 Israeli Study demonstrated an actual connection between high carb foods and heart disease. In this study, researchers were able to actually look inside the arteries and see what was happening before, during and after eating high carb foods.

This study showed that eating foods with a high glycemic index expanded the diameter of the arteries for several hours. This, in turn, reduced the elasticity of the arteries, which can, over time, lead to heart disease and even sudden death.

People who binge on high glycemic carbohydrate foods have a greater chance of suddenly dying from a heart attack. So steer clear of high glycemic foods. Instead, eat the carbohydrates that have a low glycemic index. This includes foods like oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts.

Saturated Fat Endangers Heart Health

It is well-established that saturated fat harms your heart. Saturated fat can be found in animal-based foods like red meat, eggs and dairy products. To keep your heart healthy, it is best to reduce saturated fats to a very low level. However, be sure not to replace the foods you eliminate with fat free substitutes like the cookies, cake, and other food products. It’s very important to exchange the saturated fat in your diet for polyunsaturated fats.

These are the most common foods that endanger heart health. As more studies are being done, we are learning more about the effect of foods on our health. As, as more studies are showing, Hippocrates was probably right: “Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food.”