5 Foods Cardiologists Want You To Avoid To Safeguard Your Heart

Foods cardiologists say to avoid
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Eating everything in moderation is good in theory, but not when it comes to these 3 foods. Cardiologists want you to avoid them at all costs.

Being a cardiologist, you see firsthand the harm a bad diet causes your heart.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America for both men and women, responsible for 1 in 5 deaths in 2020 according to CDC.

Unfortunately, a poor diet has a lot to do with it with the staggering stats.

Heart doctors everywhere are seeing the effects the western diet has on our hearts.

It’s no surprise there’s a list of foods Cardiologists try to avoid to keep their hearts healthy. Below are some of the top foods Cardiologists try to limit in their diet and why you might want to limit them as well.

5 Foods Cardiologists Want You to Avoid

5 Foods Cardiologists Want You to Avoid

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1. Processed Snack Foods

Potato chips, Cheez Whiz, ramen noodles, cereal, and even white bread are all processed. 

Like processed meats, these snack foods are high in saturated fat and sodium. Many of them also contain high amounts of added sugars and carbs.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, 99% of people consume more than the recommended 2,000mg of sodium daily. 

Those who consume over that account for 1 in 10 cardiovascular deaths. Likewise, a study conducted by JAMA: Internal Medicine found a link between heart disease and added sugars. 

This study found that those who consumed between 17-21% of their calories from added sugars had a 38% higher risk of death from heart disease than those who consumed 8% or less. 

The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to no more than 6 teaspoons a day for women and 9 teaspoons a day for men (567). 

A lot of processed foods contain high amounts of carbohydrates. Foods such as white bread, baked goods, and potato chips can increase your waistline and your risk. 

Swap these foods out for whole grains that contain more fiber, such as whole-grain bread or brown rice. Swap out sugary cereals for plain oatmeal with fresh fruit instead. 

Exchange your salty chips for air-popped popcorn, nuts, or seeds. These will be more filling and keep you from worrying about the health of your ticker.

2. Diet Soda

Sodas contain an astronomical number of added sugars. Because of this, diet sodas have become a popular alternative for the health-conscious. Unfortunately, diet sodas are likely worse for your heart than regular sodas. 

Many diet sodas contain artificial sweetener aspartame. Aspartame is a sugar alternative that is 200 times sweeter than table sugar. 

Studies have found that the sweetness of aspartame enhances the human appetite. 

This can lead to an increase in caloric intake and the likelihood of obesity. Those who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of developing heart disease than those who are normal weight (8).

Although regular sodas may be better for you, sugar-sweetened beverages should be limited. 

Any product that has high amounts of added sugars can raise triglycerides and cause weight gain. 

Aim to choose products that contain less than 5 grams of added sugars per serving. Be careful of food items listed as “Sugar-Free.” These may contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame. 

3. Energy Drinks

We all have days when we could use a boost of energy. When a regular cup of coffee is not enough, many consumers will reach for energy drinks. With unregulated ingredients such as taurine and guarana, adverse reactions are possible. 

Combine these with high levels of caffeine and there’s a high risk for cardiac arrhythmias (9). 

Instead of grabbing for more caffeine, focus on your sleep schedule. Many consumers reach for energy drinks because of a lack of sleep. 

Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of restful sleep each night. Set a regular bedtime to help your body get into a routine with sleep. 

Avoid exposure to blue light from the television, phones, and computers at least 1 hour before bed (10).

4. Pizza

Although seeing pizza on the list may break your heart, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. 

Pizza contains carbohydrates (the crust) topped with a large dose of salt and saturated fat (the cheese) and processed meats such as pepperoni and Italian sausage). 

Don’t worry, you don’t have to give up pizza for life, but you may want to rethink how often you have it. You can also make healthy adjustments by choosing to make pizza at home using a whole-grain crust. 

Swap out typical pizza toppings with fresh vegetables and nix the processed meats.

5. Fried Foods

America is known for deep-frying almost anything. From chicken to candy bars, to ice cream and pickles, the sky is the limit. Unfortunately, fried foods not only affect our waistline, but also our health.

Several studies have discovered a connection between heart disease and fried foods. 

In fact, fried chicken in particular poses a severe threat. One study found that eating one or more servings of fried chicken daily increased the risk of dying from a heart-related condition by 12%. 

Instead of risking it, opt for oven-baked or grilled chicken instead. Not only will this keep your heart happy, but it will also keep your waistline in check (1112).

Bottom Line

When it comes to matters of the heart, Cardiologists are the experts. 

Therefore, we should be looking to them for advice on how to treat our heart right and cut down our disease risk. 

Any cardiologist will tell you, processed foods and drinks, fried foods, and energy drinks should be limited. Instead, swap out these foods for whole foods to secure a healthy heart for a lifetime. 

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Meghan Stoops, RD

Meghan is a Registered Dietitian and freelance content writer in the beautiful New Smyrna Beach, Florida. She takes an all-foods-fit approach to nutrition and is dedicated to freeing others from diet culture and simplifying healthy eating.

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