Junk food, red meat and sugars are well known to be bad for your heart and health, but there are some foods you would never have thought could be harmful to your heart.
The cool and refreshing taste of soda can tingle your taste buds, but the added sugars are terrible for your health. Diet soda may seem like a good alternative with zero sugars and calories, but …
“There has been some information that shows that actually making that switch doesn’t help as much as you think it should,” said Dr. Amy Crawford Faucher, a primary care-family medicine.
A study out of France found that regular consumption of artificially sweetened drinks, such as diet soda, increases your risk for heart disease by 20% compared to non-drinkers. A different study found your risk for diabetes increased by 67%.
Another surprising food -- chicken. It has long been thought to be a healthy alternative to red meat, but chickens today contain as much as 10 times the fat compared to chickens from a century ago, giving them similar levels of saturated fat to beef. These saturated fats can increase your risk of high cholesterol.
“It puts people at risk for premature cardiovascular diseases like heart attack and stroke and can be lethal,” said Kristi Fitzgerald, a genetic counselor at Nemours duPont Hospital.
That’s why the American Heart Association recommends limiting even lean cuts of beef or skinless chicken to less than 6 ounces a day.
And think margarine is better than butter? Think again! Margarine contains trans fats, which raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol, increasing your risk for heart disease. Olive oil and avocado oil are much healthier alternatives.
One more food that’s not as heart-healthy: energy bars. Many energy bars contain ultra-processed foods such as corn syrups, citric acids and added sugars, which can increase the risk of heart disease.