Weight Loss & Health Foods – A Doctor’s View That “Healthy” Foods May Not Help Weight Loss

Fresh fruit juices, bananas, nuts, sports & energy drinks, cranberry juice, and oat bran can make you fat and certainly do not help you lose weight and become really “healthy. Using some foods as medicines often distracts peoples attention from the correct treatment. Beware of foods labeled, “Healthy” or “Good for You.”

They may not be so good for your waist line.

Food and beverages used to treat mild medical problems may be a source of hidden calories that cause you to pack on the pounds without much positive gain. Foods such as bananas, cranberry juice, and oat bran when eaten daily may be responsible for a hundred or more excess calories a day. So called “health” foods including nuts and olive oil are another source of hidden calories as are drinks like Gatorade and energy drinks both of which are loaded with sugar. Here are the actual foods and drinks associated with these potential extra calories:

Orange Juice used to prevent or treat colds:
Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling advocated large doses of Vitamin C to prevent and treat upper respiratory infections beginning in 1970’s. The Cochrane review of “placebo-controlled trials involving 11,350 participants pointed out that regular ingestion of vitamin C has no effect on common cold incidence in the ordinary population. The authors go on to say, trials of high doses of vitamin C administered therapeutically (starting after the onset of symptoms), showed no consistent effect on either duration or severity of symptoms…” Our daily Vitamin C requirement in between 60-100 mg.per day which is easily supplied in a normal diet. Vitamin C in a supplement ranges from 100 t0 1000 mg. Each tablet contains less than 2 calories.

Cranberry Juice for the treatment of urinary tract infections:
Dr Franklin C. Lowe, professor or urology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons reviewed the treatment of urological problems with cranberry juice and other “natural” remedies in May 2006:
He noted, “Cranberry products are widely believed to be effective treatments of urinary tract infections. The results of 2 controlled studies found that cranberry juice does not treat urinary infections and may increase kidney stones.”

Bananas for “low potassium:”
Potassium is important for good health and a balanced diet supplies all he potassium one needs. There is no evidence that potassium supplements are useful in the treatment of high blood pressure and are only needed for people who have low potassium due to illness or treatment with certain medications. Non athletes and people in good health do not need potassium supplements. Eating a banana supplies 350 mg. of potassium, which is about 1/6 of the possible potassium needs in a day? There is no “recommended daily allowance for potassium” since lack of potassium is so rare. The problem is that a single banana has 110 calories and 12 grams of sugar; eaten daily it can cause a weight gain of 10 lbs. in a year. There are other fruits that have less sugar and many less calories. If additional potassium is really needed, consider a potassium tablet which has 750 mg or more of potassium and zero calories.

Oat bran and barley for treatment of elevated cholesterol:
Oat bran in the form of beta-glucan can lower cholesterol. However, few people consider how effective it really is and the caloric consequences. It takes three cup of cheerios to obtain the 3 grams of beta glucan fiber the amount to end up with the 3 grams of beta glucan a day that is required to lower cholesterol Three cups of cheerios or oatmeal with fat free milk contain 450 calories. It may lower cholesterol by 7%. That means someone with blood cholesterol of 275 mg% might lower his cholesterol to 251 mg% percent, if he is lucky. This is not enough of change when the desirable level is less than 200mg%. It also means that the individual must take the oat bran every day, indefinitely, not an easy task. In one study where workers at a factory making oat products were offered free oatmeal for breakfast and free oat muffins at lunch few were able to eat them for more than a month or two. Another important issue for many people seeking “natural” cures is the misconception that all they need to do is to eat their oat bran and their cholesterol will acceptable. A popular ad says, “lowers your cholesterol by up to 7% in 6 weeks.” Does that mean that after 6 weeks they can stop the oat bran?

What’s the weight gain with this much oat bran? 420 calories excess calories a day translates into 40 lbs. weight gain in a year. Obviously, the oat bran would replace another food. Assuming the breakfast was 2 eggs and a piece of toast which contains 180 calories, the actual excess calories might be only 220 calories or 22 lbs. in a year. Take the issue one step further, 22 lbs. weight gain can result in 2 or 3 inch increase in waist circumference, which translates into a 20% increase in cholesterol and 17% increase in overall mortality from cardiovascular disease. There are far better ways to lower cholesterol.

Food Supplements Gatorade, Energy Drinks, Nuts and Seeds
These “health” foods and drinks are all have serious portion control and more than 100 calories per portion.
Nuts may have “healthy oils”, but the usual portion of almonds is 170 calories and contains only 6 grams of protein. If consumed daily that results in weight gain of more than 17 lbs. over a year. Sports drinks like
Gatorade contain 50 calories per portion. However, most bottles have 2 or 3 portions. A serving of sugar rich
gatorade can easily be 150 calories and add 15 lbs. a year if consumed daily.

The issue to remember, is that all of these foods and drinks have minimal health benefits. They distract you from more effective treatment for the medical problem and add calories and weight gain. The weight gain and it’s health dangers far outweigh the benefits. Often some individuals eat a lot of these foods and really don’t like them.