- Harmony Reynolds, a cardiologist, rarely eats foods such as potato chips or snacks.
- She chooses healthy swaps like popcorn and fruit, and enjoys less healthy treats like bacon in moderation.
- Studies show that processed foods increase the risk of serious illnesses such as heart disease.
Trying to stick to a “perfect” diet all the time isn’t realistic, but smart swaps can help keep your heart healthy without giving up your favorite snacks.
Reynolds told Insider that as a doctor, it can be difficult to give dietary advice because nutrition research often doesn’t give clear answers about how diet affects health.
“Nutrition science needs to be better done. Many of the recommendations we make are based on limited evidence, so patients get the impression that we change their minds too often,” she says. said.
Reynolds said he chooses to avoid certain foods based on available evidence and uses strategies to moderately enjoy foods that are less healthy.
Margarine and coconut oil worsen heart health
Reynolds said to avoid margarine and vegetable oils. observational study It’s not clear why, as they don’t seem to raise risk factors like cholesterol, but it does suggest that consuming them is associated with higher cardiovascular mortality.
coconut oil It’s also of concern because it’s composed of saturated fats, which are associated with heart health risks.
“I’ve learned to ask my patients about this, because I’ve seen multiple patients who have elevated LDL cholesterol because they’ve introduced foods containing coconut oil,” Reynolds said.
butter Used in moderation, it can even be a better substitute.
But olive oil is the healthiest choiceresearch suggests.
“People should cook with it as much as possible and use as little as possible other fats when using them,” Reynolds said.
Potato chips are hard to eat in moderation
Reynolds said she didn’t eat Potato chips Or just keep it at home because it’s too easy to eat the whole bag.
“I know myself, and I know that even with the best intentions of setting aside two potato chips, it just doesn’t work that way.
Popcorn can be a healthier alternative, she says, and even fresh vegetables if you want a crunchy snack.
Reynolds said that for similarly coveted treats, like chocolate bars, she buys pre-portioned packages so she can enjoy them in moderation.
she only eats bacon as a special treat
Extensive Evidence Suggesting Links to Processed Meat Increased risk of serious diseases such as cancer According to Reynolds, there are compelling reasons to limit it in your diet.
“I don’t know how much is safe,” she said.
But it’s also a food she enjoys and eats on special occasions a few times a year.
“I think it helps people know that people giving advice are human too. Patients can’t diet perfectly,” she said. “It’s important to recognize that there are times when I crave a snack. It’s not really productive to say I never eat foods that I enjoy. I eat less and replace them when I can.” I recommend that you do.”
Replace processed desserts with dark chocolate to reduce unhealthy fats
Reynolds said the final food group she tries to avoid is processed desserts such as packaged cookies and donuts. health risk such as diabetes and heart disease.
Fruit, yogurt, dark chocolate, and nuts can be healthier sweet treats. But again, moderation and self-awareness are key to enjoying your meal while minimizing potential health risks.
“When I’m at a party and want to try something I know isn’t good for me, I look at one flavor and pay a lot of attention. I don’t like it, I put it aside,” she said.