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Tips About Foods and Types of Foods



The information and tips on this page are from various sources such as books, magazines, and Web sites. These tips are not to be taken as personal or medical advice. Please see the disclaimer at the bottom of the page.


Pages with other tips:

General Tips for Everyone

Tips for Weight Loss

Tips about Exercise

Tips about Reading Nutrition Labels


Also see the Controversies About Foods page for differing opinions about whether or not certain foods or types of food are good for you or bad for you.



One or two servings a day of some alcoholic beverages is okay beginning in Phase 2. It's best to drink during a meal or shortly afterward, since a stomach full of food will slow the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream and keep your blood sugar levels steadier.


Some contain more sugars than others, so it's best to only drink those that have the lowest sugar content. You should have no more than 2 servings daily. A serving is:


Red wine, white wine, champagne—3 to 4 ounces

Vodka, gin, rum, bourbon, tequila—1 1/2 ounces


Avoid dessert wines, brandy, port wine, liqueurs, sherry, and wine cookers.


Antioxidant-Rich Foods

The June 9, 2004, issue of The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reported a new research study focusing on the antioxidant capacities of over 100 common foods. This study is the largest, most comprehensive analysis to date of the antioxidant content of commonly consumed foods. Click here for charts of the top 50 antioxidant foods and foods listed by category.


The new study is more complete and accurate than previous USDA antioxidant data and includes more foods than the previous study, the researchers say. They analyzed antioxidant levels in over 100 different foods, including fruits and vegetables. In addition, the new study includes data on spices and nuts for the first time.


Antioxidants are naturally occurring nutrients that help prevent heart disease, cancer, and aging. Little is known about how antioxidants work and what affects their ability to function properly. Scientists believe that some antioxidants are more potent than others, and their potency can be affected by how they're cooked or how they're digested. For example, the antioxidants in blueberries lose their potency when cooked, while the antioxidants in tomatoes become more potent when cooked.


Currently, there are no government guidelines for consumers on how many antioxidants to consume and what kind of antioxidants to consume in their daily diet, as is the case with vitamins and minerals. For now, USDA officials continue to encourage consumers to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables for better health.


Beans (see Legumes)








Butter and Margarine

For information on the debate about butter vs. margarine, see the Controversies About Foods page.


Caffeine (in coffee, tea, chocolate)

Caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee are fine, as long as you limit them to one or two cups a day (how many depends on how your body reacts). Caffeine stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin, which can lead to unhealthy cravings. Still, the effect is small, so enjoy your morning pick-me-up, then switch to decaf (unless your doctor has told you to eliminate all caffeine from your diet).


Does coffee lower chances for Parkinson’s disease?
From http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6786390/: During the past decade, medical studies have explored the relationship between caffeine, particularly in coffee, with the development of Parkinson's disease (PD), a neurological disorder that occurs when levels of dopamine, a key neurotransmitter, decrease. PD symptoms that result include trembling, faulty coordination and difficulty in speaking.
Between 1 and 1.5 million Americans have Parkinson's. It affects both men and women (though men are in a slight majority) and all ethnic groups. Most are 60 or older and no cause and no cure are known, although some treatments, from medication to surgery, have proven helpful. There is a theory is that caffeine increases the amount of dopamine in the brain. Caffeine occurs naturally in coffee, tea and chocolate, and is added to some medicines and soft drinks.

Canola Oil


See the Controversies About Foods page.




Terms used to describe carbs: good, bad, simple, complex, refined, natural, high glycemic, low glycemic.


Good carbs are those that have not been processed and contain a fair amount of fiber. These food types include oatmeal, whole grain breads and cereals (sugar free), legumes, vegetables, and fruit.


Bad carbs are those that have been processed (refined). These food types include white bread, white pasta, white rice, ice cream, cakes, pastries, candy, sodas with sugar.




Health benefits


There have many studies in recent years on the health benefits of moderate amounts of dark chocolate. It is a potent antioxidant and can lower mild high blood pressure. Dark chocolate contains plant phenols, specifically cocoa phenols, compounds known to lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate also helps blood vessels dilate which allows blood to flow more freely.


Some chocolate facts


Chocolate is a bean (sometimes called a fruit). It originates from the tropical cacao tree. The cacao pods contain cacao beans (sometimes called nuts). Most, if not all, beans have high levels of antioxidants.

Dutch processed cocoa has been treated with an alkalizing agent to modify its color and give it a more mild flavor. This process was developed by Dutch chocolate maker Conrad van Houten, along with his development of the method of removing fat from the cacao beans by hydraulic press around 1828. This processing reduces the the antioxidants and phenols in chocolate.

Broma processed cocoa has a more intense taste than Dutch processed cocoa, as no alkalis are added to the cocoa. Ghiradelli, somewhere around 1865, discovered that by hanging a bag of chocolate in a warm room, the cocoa butter would drip off, leaving behind a residue that can then be converted into ground chocolate. This is the technique that became known as the Broma process.

Chocolates made in Europe are generally richer in cocoa phenols than those made in the U.S.

Natural cocoa powder provides the most benefits.


How to eat chocolate in a healthy way:


Eat dark chocolate, not milk chocolate or white chocolate. But remember that just because chocolate is dark, it does not mean it is healthy.

 Check the label of the chocolate product before you buy it. Some of these products can be very high in calories. fat, and sugar, which offsets any benefits of the chocolate itself. Even dark chocolate products can be a concentrated source of calories and sugar, things will seriously offset any health benefit.

● Chocolate should have a cocoa content of at least 60 percent or higher, and many sources say it should be at least 70 percent cocoa.

● Chocolate should be sweetened with sugar substitutes because sugar products have a negative effect on your immune system. However, if you are a very healthy person, small amounts of sugar, occasionally, will probably not be a problem.

Don’t eat chocolate with milk products or chocolate that is made with milk. Again, read the label. Milk can interfere with the absorption of antioxidants from chocolate and can, therefore, cancel the potential health benefits that can be derived from eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate. (There is also speculation that dairy products could also inhibit the body’s absorption of flavonoids from other other antioxidant-rich foods as well, including tea, fruit, and green vegetables.)

Don’t replace healthy foods with chocolate. Be sure you get your quota (5 to 9 servings per day) of fruits and veggies—these are also powerful antioxidants, and some of them have other chemicals that are even more powerful than those in cocoa. They also have fiber and other benefits which chocolate does not have.

Choose organic if possible. Over 30 different pesticides are used when growing cocoa beans, which are one of the world's most heavily sprayed crops. Certified Organic chocolate is made from cocoa plants that were not sprayed with chemical pesticides or herbicides, which could leave behind a residue in your chocolate.




Here are sources that will substantiate these facts about chocolate.



Long and details article containing everything you could possibly want to know about chocolate.



Milk may counter chocolate's heart benefits.

28/08/2003 - Evidence continues to mount in favor of dark chocolate and its heart healthy benefits, but new research indicates that when consumed with milk, whether in the chocolate or drunk at the same time, all the benefits disappear.



By Gaia Vince August 27, 2003
Eating chocolate can boost the level of heart-protecting antioxidants in the blood, but consuming milk at the same time cancels the potential health benefits, according to a new study.



The truth about the health-benefits of chocolate is finally reaching our ears. However, the whole truth should be told. Chocolate is healthy if it is dark with no added dairy products/milk or refined sugar.



Be choosy about chocolate.








Coconut Oil


Coconut oil is a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil—an oil made from coconuts that increases calorie and fat burning. Studies have shown that when people switched from other oils to MCT, they lost up to 36 pounds in a year—without cutting calories!


Coconut oil should meet these requirements: no GMO ingredients, bleaching, deodorizing, refining, or hydrogenation; preferably organic and from fresh coconuts (not dried).


Also see the Controversies About Foods page.


Coffee Creamers


The list is long: powdered, nondairy creamers; powdered nondairy light creamers; nondairy liquid creamers; fat free (skim) milk, 1% milk, 2% milk, whole milk; evaporated nonfat milk; powdered nonfat milk; fat free half and half; regular half and half; pure cream. Many of these are sweetened and therefore to be avoided.


Which are healthier? One thing to remember—just because a particular book says that it's "good" on a particular diet, doesn't mean that it's good for your health in general. Read labels and avoid anything that is on the Foods to Avoid list, such as hydrogenated oils, corn syrups, and other sugars. This eliminates the powdered nondairy creamers and most of the liquid creamers. It also eliminates fat free half and half, which contains corn syrup (regular half and half is okay).


Condiments and Spices


Condiments—Some condiments, such as ketchup and barbecue sauces, have added sugars and should be avoided. However, there are low carb brands available that have no added sugars.


Spices—It's my opinion that the small amounts of sugar in jars of mixed spices will do no harm. However, it's easy to make your own combinations. All of the Mrs. Dash spice mixes (and store brands that are like Mrs. Dash) are sugar free as well as salt free. You can add your own salt and other sugar-free spices as desired.




Six Reasons Why Corn is Making You Fat. Excerpt: “In the form of high-fructose corn syrup, corn is creeping its way into Americans’ diets in increasing amounts and adding inches to our waistlines. Find out why corn, which has become a dietary staple to Americans, is likely contributing to the obesity epidemic we are now facing.”


Campaign Against Genetically Engineered Corn


Dairy Products

See specific dairy foods (milk, yogurt, cheese)




Some say it's the perfect protein. One large egg is a significant source of a number of vitamins and minerals. (Eggs are high in cholesterol, but the chief villain in raising blood-cholesterol levels is not the cholesterol in our diets, but saturated fats.) In particular, egg yolks are rich in the pigment zeaxanthin, which seems to help protect eyes from macular degeneration—a deterioration of a key part of the retina at the back of the eye—a leading cause of blindness in people over 65. From http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6786390/.



Information about the Omega Egg. What's the difference in these and “regular” eggs? The producers simply feed hens with flaxseed instead of corn. This is a good thing. 

Fat and Oils


Also see the Controversies About Foods page and the Olive and Olive Oil entry below.


There are two major types of fat: saturated fat and unsaturated fat.

Saturated fat raises blood cholesterol. To help decrease LDL, known as the bad cholesterol, substitute unsaturated fats for saturated fats.

Unsaturated fat can be divided into two types: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are considered healthier fats. This is because they don't raise blood cholesterol. They may even lower cholesterol when eaten as part of a diet that's low in saturated fat.



Definitions of the types of fats, from the National Institute of Health.


Saturated fats: These are the biggest dietary cause of high LDL levels ("bad cholesterol"). When looking at a food label, pay very close attention to the % of saturated fat and avoid or limit any foods that are high (for example, over 20% saturated fat). Saturated fats are found in animal products such as butter, cheese, whole milk, ice cream, cream, and fatty meats. They are also found in some vegetable oils -- coconut, palm, and palm kernel oils. (Note: most other vegetable oils contain unsaturated fat and are healthy.)

Unsaturated fats: Fats that help to lower blood cholesterol if used in place of saturated fats. However, unsaturated fats have a lot of calories, so you still need to limit them. There are two types: mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated. Most (but not all!) liquid vegetable oils are unsaturated. (The exceptions include coconut, palm, and palm kernel oils.)

Mono-unsaturated fats: Fats that help to lower blood cholesterol if used in place of saturated fats. However, mono-unsaturated fats have a lot of calories, so you still need to limit them. Examples include olive and canola oils.

Polyunsaturated fats: Fats that help to lower blood cholesterol if used in place of saturated fats. However, polyunsaturated fats have a lot of calories, so you still need to limit them. Examples include safflower, sunflower, corn, and soybean oils.

Trans fatty acids: These fats form when vegetable oil hardens (a process called hydrogenation) and can raise LDL levels. They can also lower HDL levels ("good cholesterol"). Trans-fatty acids are found in fried foods, commercial baked goods (donuts, cookies, crackers), processed foods, and margarines.

Hydrogenated: refers to oils that have become hardened (such as hard butter and margarine). Foods made with hydrogenated oils should be avoided because they contain high levels of trans fatty acids, which are linked to heart disease. (Look at the ingredients in the food label.) The terms "hydrogenated" and "saturated" are related; an oil becomes saturated when hydrogen is added (i.e., becomes hydrogenated).

Partially hydrogenated: Refers to oils that have become partially hardened. Foods made with partially hydrogenated oils should be avoided because they contain high levels of trans fatty acids, which are linked to heart disease. (Look at the ingredients in the food label.)


From http://www.primaldefense.net:

Good Fat vs Bad Fat

Research done in the 1950s concluded that all fat was bad. And still today many people equate fat with weight gain, clogged arteries, high blood pressure, etc. However, certain fats actually help to prevent those conditions and are essential to good health. Early researchers failed to distinguish between saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. They assumed at the time that all fats were unhealthy because they raised serum cholesterol levels. All hydrogenated oils produce higher serum cholesterol levels and contribute to greater oxidation and free radicals in the body. In fact, further research has shown that excess amounts of trans-fatty acids (found in hydrogenated vegetable oils) increase the risk of degenerative diseases and other age-related maladies.


A report on trans fats from the Institute of Medicine concluded that there is no safe level of trans fats in the diet.



A long article from the Harvard School of Public Health about Fats and Cholesterol. There are a couple of good charts on this page.



This Web page explains saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats.



Article from the American Heart Association on trans fatty acids.



Fat, fats and fatty acids can make you ...FAT.
Dangerous to health but also heart healthy?




See the Controversies About Foods page for the pros and cons of various types of fats and oils.


Fiber Foods

What is dietary fiber? Fiber was called “roughage” in times past. It is the component in food that is not broken down in the gastrointestinal tract, but which may be metabolized by the bacteria in the lower gut. This fiber includes hemicelluloses, pectins, gums, mucilages, cellulose, and lignin, the only noncarbohydrate component of dietary fiber.


Soluble vs. Insoluble. Fiber is divided into two broad categories: soluble and insoluble. Both soluble and insoluble fiber are undigested and therefore not absorbed into the bloodstream. Instead of being used for energy, fiber is excreted from our bodies. Both are important for health, digestion, and preventing diseases. Most foods contain some of each type of fiber, and you can easily buy fiber supplements that contain primarily soluble or insoluble fiber.


● Soluble fiber attracts water and turns to gel during digestion. This slows digestion and helps your body absorb vital nutrients from foods. Soluble fiber can be found in legumes (beans and peas), nuts, seeds, brown rice, oat bran, oatmeal, barley, rye, and some vegetables and fruits (apples, oranges, pears, peaches, and grapes are good sources, and prunes are also high in soluble fiber).


● Insoluble fiber passes through our intestines largely intact. This adds bulk to the stool, helping foods pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines. Insoluble fiber can be found in whole grains, wheat bran, brown rice, seeds, fruit, vegetables, and legumes.

How much fiber do we need? You should be getting 25 to 35 grams (or more, up to 60 grams) of fiber per day (men usually need more than women).
A very high fiber intake (typically, more than 60 grams on a regular basis) causes your body to lose some important minerals. However, it's been reported that our “ancestors” ate up to 100 grams of fiber per day!


Getting enough fiber. There are two ways to increase your fiber intake: Choose foods high in fiber, or add fiber supplements to your routine.


Benefits of fiber. A high fiber diet can give your energy levels a lift and can help lower your risks of diabetes, heart disease, and possibly cancer. It has been effectively used for the treatment of diverticulosis and prevents constipation and hemorrhoids. It can help you control your weight.


Fiber tips

An increase in fiber should be accompanied by an increase in water. Not drinking enough water has consequences—painful constipation, bloating, and gas. See How much water should we consume daily? to help determine your own water needs.

If you haven't been eating much fiber, add it gradually. It may take your system a few days to adjust to a higher fiber level, so increase your fiber intake over a number of days or even weeks to allow your body time to adjust to the changes. But stay with it, symptoms will ease and your body will adjust.

Eat less processed foods and more fresh ones.

Choose fresh fruit or vegetables rather than juice, and eat the skin and membranes of cleaned fruits and vegetables.

Choose bran and whole grain breads and cereals daily.

It's better to get fiber from foods rather than fiber supplements as foods are more nutritious.


To lower the glycemic index of any meal, do this—15 minutes before you begin eating, have a spoonful of Metamucil (or other similar fiber supplement) in a glass of water. This is normally intended as a mild laxative, but it's only psyllium, which is nonsoluble fiber. This fiber forms a slippery lump which makes its way through your digestive tract, clearing out anything in its path. When you take some before eating, the fiber gets mixed in with the food and has the effect of slowing the speed of the digestive process.


What is cellulose fiber?

Information collected from various Web sites.


It's been said that some store-bought diet breads use “sawdust fiber” as filler. Many of us are familiar with the sawdust accusations levied against early high-fiber breads.


Bread and breakfast cereal makers often emphasize that their products contain fiber.  If they would utilize the whole grain in wheat, barley, oats, rye, and corn, there would be no need to add sawdust or other cellulose for dietary bulk.


Cellulose products include both cellulose and modified cellulose from nonfood plant sources.


Cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin are components of wood as well as edible plants. They are tough, fibrous, and insoluble in water. Pectins (a substance used in jellies) and gums are water-soluble and form gel-like, or viscous, textures. All of the dietary fibers are found in varying combinations and amounts in plant leaves, stems, tubers, roots, flowers, and seeds. Cellulose, the most abundant fiber, forms the basic structural material of cell walls. Cotton is almost pure cellulose, and the outer layers of cereal grains contain large amounts of cellulose.


In pet foods, nonfood sources of fiber are can be anything from newspaper to sawdust. "Plant cellulose" usually means ground peanut shells.


Click here to read The story of Avicel, a synthetic food that has been produced that is not food at all.


From http://www.foodnavigator.com: The term cellulose gum is already widely used as a pseudonym for CMC (the complex sounding food additive carboxymethylcellulose) in product specifications. The U.S. already uses cellulose gum for food grade CMC. Sourced from cellulose fibre (wood pulp, cotton linters) CMC products are supplied in three grades with the high-purity, 99.5 per cent minimum, and are used by the food industry in a range of applications including ice cream, yogurt, dairy drinks, and processed food. Other functionalities include . . . dietary fiber.








From Ask Dr. Sears: 7 Health-Promoting Properties of Flax


1. Flax promotes cardiovascular health. The ultra-high levels of omega-3 fatty acids lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Fish oils and algae are also good sources of essential fatty acids.

2. Flax promotes colon health. It has anti-cancer properties and, as a natural lubricant and a rich fiber source, it lowers the risk of constipation.

3. Flax supplements can boost immunity. One study showed that school children supplemented with less than a teaspoon of flax oil a day had fewer and less severe respiratory infections than children not supplemented with flax oil.

4. Flax provides fats that are precursors for brain building. This is especially important at the stage of life when a child's brain grows the fastest, in utero and during infancy. A prudent mom should consider supplementing her diet with a daily tablespoon of flax oil during her pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

5. Flax promotes healthy skin. I have used flax oil as a dietary supplement in my patients who seem to have dry skin or eczema, or whose skin is particularly sun-sensitive.

6. Flax may lessen the severity of diabetes by stabilizing blood-sugar levels.

7. Flax fat can be slimming. Fats high in essential fatty acids, such as flax, increase the body's metabolic rate, helping to burn the excess, unhealthy fats in the body. Eating the right kind of fat gives you a better fighting chance of your body storing the right amount of fats. This is called thermogenesis , a process in which specialized fat cells throughout the body (called brown fat) click into high gear and burn more fat when activated by essential fatty acids, especially gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). I have personally noticed that I crave less fat overall when I get enough of the healthy fats. A daily supplement of omega 3 fatty acids may be an important part of weight control programs.


Click here for article about golden flax versus brown flax


Flax for Health, article by Artur Klimaszewski, MD. Ancient records show that the human race has consumed flaxseed since the beginning of civilization.


Food Combining


The food we eat, how we eat it, when we eat it, how we combine it, etc., might seem like a complicated subject, but with a bit of practice, it becomes easy. Proper food combining is essential, and it must be done properly for better digestion, absorption, and overall health. Foods in our digestive system should be able to agree rather than conflict. It’s not a matter of just WHAT we eat, but what we eat with what. Simultaneously eating foods which are not the correct combination could impede the complete digestion of other foods.


Click here for more information on food combining.


Fortified and Enriched Foods

When something is fortified, nutrients that were never present in the original product have been added to make it healthier. Some common examples include the addition of vitamin D to milk, calcium to orange juice and soy milk, and omega-3 fats to cereals.

When food is enriched, nutrients that were lost or decreased during processing have been added back to the final product. For example, after creating white flour from wheat, manufacturers reintroduce B vitamins that were stripped during the refining process.

The added nutrients in enriched foods cannot compensate for the natural nutrients and fiber that were lost during the refining process. Fortified foods, on the other hand, still have their natural nutrients and fiber, and in most cases have an added benefit. So follow this general rule the next time you shop: Avoid enriched, eat fortified.




Should all fruit be avoided during the first few weeks, or during the first phase, of a diet? Some say yes, some say no. My opinion is no. Berries are much higher in antioxidants than most all other fruits, and should be part of a healthy diet, even in the beginning stages of the diet.


Click here for a page about fruits






Genetically Engineered (GE) Foods


Soy and corn are two of the most widely GE foods. Whole foods like corn on the cob are probably not genetically engineered; however, genetically engineered corn is used as an ingredient for making corn oil, cornstarch, corn syrup, and high fructose corn syrup.


From http://www.geo-pie.cornell.edu/crops/corn.html: An estimated 40% of US field corn in 2003 was genetically engineered, and field corn is used in a wide array of food ingredients. GE varieties of sweet corn are more rare, and there is no GE popcorn.


Campaign Against Genetically Engineered Corn


Pros and Cons of Genetic Engineering of Foods


Dr. Mercola says: “I believe it would be wise to avoid genetically engineered foods if at all possible. There may be nothing wrong with them; but it would seem the better side of prudence to limit your exposure to them. They were not designed with your health in mind.”




See specific grain: Wheat, Corn, Rice.


Also see page Controversies About Foods.


Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts


There are a number of sugar-free, fat-free products in the freezer section of your grocery store. Two of these are sugar-free Popsicles and no-added-sugar Fudgsicles. There are other similar products under different brand names.


You can also make your own frozen treats using powdered, sugar-free drink mix and plastic molds. Or try the recipe on this site for Strawberry Ice.


These sugar-free or no-sugar-added products are usually made with sugar substitutes or artificial sweeteners. Read the labels and avoid those that you believe to be harmful to your health.

Legumes (Beans and Peas)


Legumes are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available and are a great addition to any diet. They're good sources of protein and can be a healthy substitute for meat, which has more fat and cholesterol.


They are a major source of soluble fiber, which helps to remove cholesterol from the body before it's absorbed. The soluble fiber in beans helps to lower the amount of insulin floating through the bloodstream. In addition to fiber, beans are high in protein, folic acid, potassium, iron, calcium, and B vitamins. They're also low in cholesterol and fat. In general, beans digest slowly, causing a sustained increase in blood sugar while preventing frequent hunger pangs.


Canned beans usually have a higher GI than cooked-at-home beans, and also have more sodium. But if you don't have time or don't want to cook beans, then don't avoid them—eat the canned beans because beans are good for you. Just drain and rinse in order to reduce the sodium content (and probably lower the GI as well, as the GI is likely figured with the liquid).


What is a serving of beans? One-half cup of cooked beans. You can eat one to two servings daily. Beans do not count toward your daily vegetable servings—you still need your 5 to 9 daily servings of veggies and fruits in addition to the beans. In most food pyramids, legumes are in a separate category and are counted as a protein source as a substitute for meat. The USDA says people should “choose lean meats and poultry, varying protein choices with more fish, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.”


Refer to the various food pyramids. Links to these are on my Links Page.


Note: Peanuts are also classified as a legume.


For more information about legumes, see this Mayo Clinic article:

Legumes: Using beans, peas and lentils instead of meat




Romaine lettuce and other dark greens have more nutrition and more flavor than iceberg lettuce. Lighter colors in vegetables mean they contain more water and therefore fewer nutrients per cubic inch. Iceberg lettuce is a good food, but darker lettuces are better.




Red meats (beef, lamb, bison/buffalo)

It's best to choose lean cuts such as eye of round, ground beef (sirloin, lean, and extra lean), tenderloin, top loin, and top round. Avoid brisket, liver, rib steaks (including prime rib), and other fatty cuts.





Skinless turkey and chicken breast are both good choices. Avoid chicken wings and legs, duck, and goose. Avoid eating the skin of poultry. Trim excess fat off any cut of meat you choose.



Avoid all pork products.


Processed meats (hot dogs, bacon, sausage, salami, etc.)

The nitrates found in processed meats can be converted into nitrosamines. Studies show that this is associated with an increased risk of certain cancers. Additionally, it now appears that frequent consumption of processed meats will increase one's risk of diabetes from 35% to 50%. Read labels, and avoid processed meats that contain nitrates/nitrites.


Deli meats

Choose lean meats that are low in saturated fat, avoid processed meats with fillers, avoid meats with added sugars.


Portion size

Some diets will tell you to restrict your intake and control your portion size when eating meat. Other diets will tell you that meats are virtually unlimited.


What's sensible?

A sample of an adequate meal would be 3 to 6 ounces of meat, a large salad, and an ample serving of cooked vegetables. Eat slowly. It can take up to 20 minutes to start feeling full, so take your time. If you are still hungry after 20 minutes or so, you can always go back for seconds.



Whole milk, low fat milk, or skim milk? Or should we consume milk at all?

See the Controversies About Foods page.




Every nut, even macadamias—the fattiest—has been found to improve cholesterol.


Brazil Nuts: Just one provides an entire day's requirement of selenium, a mineral shown in studies to be higher in people with healthy hearts.



Walnuts are among the superstars. They're an excellent source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. Studies show that you can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by 15% to 50% if you eat a handful of nuts five times a week. If you found a pill that did the same thing, you'd make a fortune. Of course, chowing down on a huge tub of walnuts can be counterproductive, so as always, watch your intake. A handful of dry, roasted, unsalted walnuts—about 14 walnut halves—has about 150 calories, and is enough to yield "superfood" benefits.


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the approval of a qualified health claim for whole and chopped walnuts. The health claim reads: "Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces of walnuts per day, as part of a low-saturated-fat and low-cholesterol diet, and not resulting in increased caloric intake, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease."


Walnut manufacturers will now be allowed to print this health claim on their packaging in an effort to educate consumers about the walnut's role in a healthy diet.




WALNUT FOUND HIGHEST IN ANTIOXIDANTS: A study has determined that walnuts have almost twice as much antioxidant power as any other tree or ground nuts, and contain higher-quality antioxidants and more beneficial unsaturated fatty acids. Also, walnut antioxidants were found to have two to 15 times the potency of the renowned antioxidant vitamin E. Previous research suggests that nuts, which are naturally dairy- and gluten-free, offer a fairly unusual combination of nutrients, including high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals, unsaturated fatty acids and dietary fiber. Nuts have been linked in studies to a decreased risk of heart disease, certain cancers, gallstones, diabetes type 2 and other heart problems. Also, despite high calorie content, walnut consumption is linked to lower obesity risk. However, scientists had not compared the amount and quality of antioxidants among the different nuts. The current study focused on nine nut types: walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias and pecans. And walnuts offer another antioxidant benefit: nuts are generally roasted, which can destroy some of the antioxidants, but walnuts are eaten raw. This study was presented March 27, 2011 in Anaheim at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society and has not yet been published.




From http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6786390/: Oats, of course, were one of the first foods to be allowed to make health claims, in particular for their ability to lower cholesterol levels. Now, researchers at Tufts University have found that oats may also hinder the ability of blood cells to stick to the walls of our arteries as well as protect against the early stages of hardening of the arteries by preventing fatty buildup. The “stickiness” of fat in the arteries causes inflammation and plaque. Inflammation leads to abnormal growth of the cells under the blood-vessel lining and leads to plaque formation—and as the plaque continues to accumulate, it ultimately blocks the arteries and impedes blood flow.


Oils (see Fat and Oils entry above)


Also see Controversies About Foods.


Olives and Olive Oil

Olives are a s
mall, bitter, oval fruit, green when unripe and black when ripe, used for food and for oil. Cold-pressed olive oil is a fruit juice. That’s why it's so healthy and is used in the finest cuisines all over the world. Cold pressed means that the olives are picked and squeezed and are not boiled before squeezing.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now allows a qualified health claim for olive oil and certain products containing olive oil.


The FDA-approved health claim reads, "Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil. To achieve this possible benefit, olive oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day. One serving of this product [Name of food] contains [x] grams of olive oil."


Olive oil is one of the few cooking oils available that is both rich in monounsaturated fats and cancer-fighting antioxidants. It can be used for sautéing, stir-frying, or dressing salads and vegetables. Two tablespoons a day is all you need to enjoy its benefits, but remember not to overdo it—too much olive oil can be a diet buster.


Olive oils do not differ in the types or amount of fats they contain. The differences lie mainly in the taste and aroma.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil—The highest quality oil, with the lowest acidity of one percent or less. With this type of oil, you need only a small amount to enjoy the flavor. Chefs often use it on salads, with bread, or as a garnish for soups and stews. Because of its low smoking temperature, this oil should not be used in frying—though, of course, you should not be frying your foods anyway!

Virgin Olive Oil—An intermediate oil with an acidity of between one and three percent. Since you need more of it to enjoy the flavor, this oil may not be your best choice.

Ordinary Virgin Olive Oil—This one's not commonly found in American supermarkets, but if you come across it, you should know it's one of the lowest quality oils (with a 3.3 percent acidity). Not great for most cooking, but still okay for frying.

Light Olive Oil—This is simply a designation used by companies to market a less flavorful, more acidic type of oil to diet-conscious Americans. The term "light" means lighter in color and fragrance, not less fat or calories. These oils are generally between 90 and 95 percent refined olive oil and 5 to 10 percent virgin olive oil. They have had their color, taste, and fragrance removed by the refining (chemical, usually Hexane, and steam) process. This process also destroys the phytochemicals and antioxidants in the oil.


Omega-3 and Omega-6

Omega-3s and Omega-6s are known as essential fatty acids. That's because these polyunsaturated fatty acids cannot be made by the body, so they must come from the diet. Omega-3s and Omega-6s have different chemical compositions. They also play different roles in the body.


While Omega-3s have been shown to protect against stroke and heart disease, Omega-6s—most commonly found in vegetable oils—are converted in the body to a class of hormones called prostaglandins that help regulate inflammation, blood pressure, and other body functions.


Foods prevalent in the American diet (processed foods and some snack foods, for example) contribute more Omega-6s to our diet than we need. Americans, in fact, consume considerably more Omega-6s than Omega-3s. A diet too high in Omega-6s and too low in Omega-3s may theoretically promote cardiovascular disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. To keep things in balance, it's important to maximize your intake of Omega-3s by choosing the right carbs and the right fats.

Organic Foods


Certified organic food is not genetically engineered.


Peanut Butter


Typical supermarket peanut butters may contain more added sugar and hydrogenated oil than all-natural peanut butter. In most cases, a jar of peanut butter won't list the trans fat content, but there are some trans-fat-free varieties available (meaning they don't contain hydrogenated oils). These are usually labeled “natural.” Choose these whenever possible, while still taking the sugar and saturated fat content into account.


In addition to being a great source of protein, all peanut butter — regular or all-natural — is rich in monounsaturated fat, folate (a type of B vitamin), and resveratrol (the phytochemical also found in red wine). These nutrients are important for cardiovascular health.


Remember that peanut butter can be a diet buster if eaten in large quantities, so don't overdo it. Try to limit yourself to two tablespoons a day, and include it as a protein with your meal or as a midday snack.




Corn, in general, should be limited because of its moderately high glycemic-index value. Popcorn should also be limited, and popcorn at the movies should be avoided, as it's usually popped in oil, which increases the amount of fat. With a regular serving of popcorn, however, you are usually eating only a small amount of corn and are, therefore, consuming less concentrated starch than eating corn as a vegetable.


Popcorn could cause your cravings to return. If so, wait until you start Phase 3 to begin eating popcorn again. Follow these guidelines.


1. Limit yourself to 3 cups (about 1/3 of a regular-sized microwavable bag).

2. If you don't have someone to share it with, buy the single-serving sizes of microwavable popcorn.

3. Use an air popper to eliminate the fat from cooking oils.

4. Experiment with seasonings such as low fat grated Parmesan, Cajun spices, garlic salt.

5. Use butter or trans fat free margarines in very small amounts.




In my personal diet, I do not eat any pork products at all and do not recommend them to others. This is in agreement with Dr. Jordan Rubin, Dr. Mercola, Kevin Trudeau, and many others. Here is an excerpt from Kevin's book, Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You to Know About, pages 150–151:


Remember, you are what you eat. Pork is a highly toxic diseased food. A pig eats anything in its path, including its own feces. Whatever it eats turns to meat on its bones in a few hours. All pork products are laced with disease and viruses. It is toxic and unhealthy. The human body virtually goes into toxic shock by consuming pork. Massive amounts of blood and energy go to the stomach and intestines to help break down and digest this toxic material. Pork is never fully digested in the human body; however, the human digestive system works nonstop in overdrive for up to eighteen hours attempting to neutralize and digest pork. If you didn't eat pork for thirty days and then had some, there is an excellent chance you would be violently ill. Eliminating pork, or at least reducing it dramatically, can have a profound impact on your health and sense of well-being. Try and see.”


Salad Dressings





Salsa, made mainly from tomatoes, can add zip to any dish, hot or cold. Their disease-fighting properties make them beneficial to any diet.


In addition, a recent study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that cilantro (a common ingredient in salsa) contains a powerful antibacterial ingredient that may help protect against salmonella food poisoning.


When shopping for salsa, avoid products made with added sugar or oil. The fresher the salsa, the more potent its flavor and its antibacterial effects.



You don't need to severely restrict salt intake unless you suffer from salt-sensitive hypertension (which is only about 10 percent of those who have hypertension). In that case, your personal physician can advise you.


A report from the Institute of Medicine suggests that Americans are eating too much salt. Studies show the average American consumes more than 4,000 milligrams of salt per day, mostly from fast foods and processed foods like canned soups, pasta sauces, and frozen dinners.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration currently recommends no more than 2,400 milligrams of salt per day, but some researchers believe that the maximum should be set at 1,500 milligrams per day for people 19 to 50 years old, 1,300 milligrams for those over 50, and 1,200 milligrams for people over the age of 70.




Dr. Mercola says, “I have long advised patients to avoid shellfish for the risk of viral and parasite infections. Normally these creatures are considered scavenger animals and they consume foods that may not be that healthy for you.”



Soy products

See the Controversies About Foods page.




Sugar and other sweeteners


It's a proven fact that sugar, in its many forms, increases insulin levels which can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, premature aging, and other negative side effects.


See separate page about sugar.


Also see page about aging for sugar's effect on the aging process.


See Controversies About Foods for pros and cons about sugar, sugar substitutes, artificial sweeteners, and natural sweeteners.









Click here for a page about veggies



Yogurt contains a natural, low-glycemic sugar called lactose. Avoid yogurt with added sugars or sugar substitutes.  Buy plain yogurt and sweeten it with your personal choice of sweetener or eat with fruit.




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Recipe Pages—All Phases (1, 2, and 3)

Phase 1 List of Foods to Enjoy and Foods to Avoid

    Phase 1 Breakfasts Phase 1 Lunches 

 Phase 1 Main Dishes—Beef Phase 1 Main Dishes—Chicken Phase 1 Main Dishes—Fish 

 Phase 1 Main Dishes—Turkey Phase 1 Main Dishes—Meatless 

 Phase 1 Vegetables Phase 1 Legumes

Phase 1 Soups with Meat Phase 1 Soups—Meatless

Phase 1 Salads—Main Phase 1 Salads—Side Phase 1 Salad Dressings

 Phase 1 Desserts Phase 1 Snacks


Recipe Pages—Phases 2 and 3

Phase 2 List of Foods to Enjoy and Foods to Avoid

Phase 2 Breakfasts Phase 2 Lunches 

 Phase 2 Main Dishes—Beef Phase 2 Main Dishes—Chicken Phase 2 Main Dishes—Fish 

 Phase 2 Main Dishes—Turkey Phase 2 Main Dishes—Meatless 

 Phase 2 Main Dishes—Pasta ~  Phase 2 Legumes & Grains

Phase 2 Vegetables Phase 2 Soups-Meat ~ Phase 2 Soups-Meatless

  Phase 2 Salads—Main Phase 2 Salads—Side Phase 2 Salad Dressings

Phase 2 Desserts ~  Phase 2 Snacks Phase 2 Breads & Bread Products


Recipe Pages—Phase 3

Phase 3 List of Foods to Enjoy and Foods to Avoid

Phase 3 Breakfasts 

Phase 3 Main Dishes—Beef Phase 3 Main Dishes—Fish ~  Phase 3 Main Dishes—Turkey  

 Phase 3 Vegetables ~  Phase 3 Salads—Side Phase 3 Salads—Main Phase 3 Salad Dressings

 Phase 3 Desserts Phase 3 Snacks Phase 3 Breads & Bread Products


Miscellaneous Recipe Categories

(Phase listed under recipe title)

Bean Salads Crock Pot Deviled Eggs and Egg Salads   Drinks, Shakes, Smoothies

Eggnog ~  Guacamole Salsa Hummus and other Bean Dips and Spreads

Marinades, Mixes, Sauces, Seasonings

Potlucks, Parties, Holidays, Appetizers  ~  Sandwiches


Tips, Links, Menu Planning Chart, & Miscellaneous Pages

Tips for Beginners General Tips for Everyone ~  Tips About Specific Foods

Tips on Reading Nutrition Labels ~  Tips about Exercise

Food Combining ~ 2005 Government Guidelines for Diet and Exercise

  Links to other diet and health Web sites Download 7-Day Menu Planner

Low Carb Products Protein in our Diets Top Antioxidant Food Charts

Controversies About Foods Weight Loss Cartoons

Main Diet Page

MizFrog's Pad Home Page MizFrog's Pad Site Index



This is a personal Web site. Any material and information on this Web site is general in nature and neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice or any other advice on personal health matters.  I bear no responsibility for what you do with the information you find on this Web site. You should not use the information on this Web site, or the information on the links from this site, to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Links to other Web sites are provided as a courtesy only, and I am not responsible for any information on these other sites and cannot guarantee accuracy of their contents. Readers are encouraged to confirm the information contained herein with other sources.

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