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Weekly Diet News Digest

by John McGran, Columnist

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Alex Ong is not a nutritionist, but his approach to healthy living makes far too much sense to ignore.

Driven by a emotional desire to not end up dead at a young age like his beloved father, Alex set out to teach himself how to live healthy -- and how to keep his family energetic and free of disease too.

"Junk or unhealthy food often make people sick or feel discomfort, such as headache, cough, excess mucus, constipated, stomach ache, bloated, tired, stress, overweight, gout, etc.," Alex tells Diet.com.

"The common 'solution' is that people will waste money on medicine or diet pills to treat the above symptoms.

"Soon after, they may experience side effects cause by the medications and many will spend extra money to treat that. The tendency is when people fall sick or feel discomfort, their energy and productivity level are likely to suffer.

"If we were to start reducing our junk or unhealthy food consumption, we will be able to save some money (from unhealthy food and medicines), save our health, and most likely enhance our energy and productivity."

Obese for 20 years, Alex watched his cholesterol rise to a dangerously high level of 288 before he took action.

After many years of "yo-yo" dieting, he finally developed a way to get rid of his unwanted pounds and lower his cholesterol to 168. His weight and cholesterol are now at healthy levels.

The tips that helped Alex improve his health are the basis for his new book, Minding Your Own Wellness.

While researching his book, Alex discovered 14 common foods that we all need to cut out or cut down.

Know The 14 Common Foods To Minimize!

1) Milk
It doesn’t matter what kind of cow’s milk it is, drink a little less and you may feel better. Just like everything else, use milk and dairy products in moderation.

Alex says common short-term side effects of milk and dairy products are:
• Respiratory problems or Asthma
• Sinus (running nose or excess mucus in the throat)
• Skin rashes
• Diarrhea
• Vomiting
• Ear infections
• Bronchitis or sore throat
• Body aches and pains

Potential long-term side effects:
• Increase in cholesterol " leading to heart problems
• Increase in saturated fat
• Kidney problems from dairy foods that are high in fat
and salt
• Increase the chance of getting cancer

2) Animal Protein

Do your current breakfasts, lunches, and dinners consist of
mainly animal protein... foods like milk, eggs, bacon, cheese, sausages, burgers, steaks, or fried chicken?

Animal protein is often high in saturated fat and cholesterol.

People who eat the most animal-based foods get the most chronic disease. It is true that protein is important to the body; but if your main protein source only comes from meat and dairy products instead of plant-based protein, it could speed up your chance of getting some forms of cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, stroke, and/or heart disease.

3) Saturated Fat
If you love to eat animal fat because that is what makes meat
extremely juicy and tender, or oily deep-fried foods, you have
taken the first step towards the Heart Attack Club.

Saturated fat is known to increase bad cholesterol (LDL).
Research has shown that even the leanest beef, pork, or chicken
breast is already full of saturated fat. However, eating lean meat is certainly better than eating fatty meat. Just remember the key word: Moderation.

Saturated fat is commonly found in:
• Chicken
• Pork
• Beef
• Lamb
• Chocolate
• Cookies
• Sweet and salty snacks
• Frozen and prepared foods
• Ice cream
• Cheesecakes
• Desserts
• Butter
• Cheese and other dairy products
• Burgers
• Fried foods
• Lard (animal fat)
• Salad dressings
• Vegetable cooking oil

Common side effects:
• Weight gain
• Loss of energy
• Stiff neck
• Body aches and pains
• Increase in bad cholesterol (LDL)
• Strokes
• Heart attack
• Other health diseases

4) Trans Fat
Do partially hydrogenated vegetable oil and fully hydrogenated
vegetable oil sound familiar? These are the kinds of vegetable oil that are chemically saturated by a process called hydrogenation.

Other common names:
• Partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil
• Partially hydrogenated soybean oil
• Partially hydrogenated coconut oil
• Fully or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil

Trans fat is usually found in:
• Deep fried foods (fries, chicken, cheese balls, chips, pie
crust, and fruit pies)
• Peanut butter (some low fat ones too)
• Margarine
• Vegetable shortenings
• Chocolate
• Cookies
• Crackers
• Cakes
• Candies
• Cream
• Potato or vegetable chips
• Fruits or vegetable pies
• Frozen foods

Many food manufacturers use hydrogenated oils because it
increases the shelf-life of the products in the grocery store.
However, trans fats are one of the major causes of heart attack, strokes, and other heart problems.

5) MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)
MSG could also show up in foods under the following
common names:

• Accent
• Autolyzed yeast
• Amino acid
• Autolyzed plant protein
• Calcium caseinate
• E621
• Flavor enhancer
• Gourmet powder
• Gutamic acid
• Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
• Monopotassium glutamate
• Sodium caseinate
• Vetsin
• Yeast Extract

MSG or Monosodium Glutamate is a type of food additive
commonly known as flavor enhancer. Its job is to deceive your taste buds by making the food taste better than it is. It also makes you eat more than you need.

Through long-term use, it could be harmful to the brain and nervous system.

MSG is commonly found in:
• Canned soups and foods
• Sausages
• Most flavored potato chips and other salty snack foods
(Including children’s snacks)
• Chips’ dips
• Packaged chicken and beef stocks
• Frozen and processed foods
• Instant noodles’ seasonings

6) Sugar
Sugar in other common forms or names:

• Dextrose
• Fructose
• Glucose
• High fructose corn syrup
• Saccharose
• Sucrose
• Sweetener
• Syrup

Before you eat it, yes sugar is fat free! But once you eat it, it will turn into fat if you don’t burn it off shortly after your consumption.

Potential or common side effects:
• Anxiety
• Aging
• Bloating
• Hyperactivity in children
• Constipation
• Heart diseases
• Fatigue
• Diabetes
• Obesity
• Food craving
• Lack of focus or concentration (leads to decrease
• Tooth decay
• Lost concentration
• Lack of ability to sit still
• Premature aging and wrinkles
• Weight increase leading to health challenges
• Weakened immune system " get sick more easily and
• Difficulty sleeping " especially for children

7) Salt
Salt is one of our bodies’ requirements. However, it should only be taken in moderation, that is, between 1.2 grams to less than or equal to 5.8 grams of salt for an adult " depending on your current health condition.

Common side effects for eating too much salt:

• Weight increase because excess salt retains water in your
• Kidney problems
• Hypertension (High blood pressure)

8) Caffeine
Common side effects of caffeine:

• Mood swing
• Dehydration
• Nervousness
• Quick temper
• Impatient

9) Nitrite
If you are a big fan of canned meat, bacon, ham, sausages, and
hot dogs, and you eat them regularly, you might want to rethink
this practice.

Not only are canned meat, bacon, ham, sausages, and hot dogs
high in salt, which you already know is not the best for your
health, a large percentage of them also contain nitrite, a
preservative which is known to cause cancer in experiments
with rats.

Nitrite is commonly found in the following:
• Bacon
• Canned meat

• Hams (beef, chicken, pork, or turkey)
• Hot dogs
• Sausages (various kinds of meat)

10)BHT and BHA
BHT and BHA are banned in England and some other countries, but these preservatives are commonly found in baked goods, beer, butter, cereals, chewing gum, dehydrated potatoes, meats, shortening, and snack foods in the U.S.

BHT and BHA could cause the following:
• Liver and kidney damage
• Behavioral problems
• Infertility
• Weakened immune system
• Birth defects, cancer; should be avoided by infants,
young children, pregnant woman, and those sensitive to

BHT and BHA are commonly found in:
• Baked goods
• Beer
• Butter
• Cereals (including children’s cereals)
• Chewing gums
• Dehydrated potatoes
• Meats
• Shortening
• Snacks

11) Artificial color
Food coloring may cause the following:

• Hay fever
• Hyperactivity in children
• Learning and visual disorders
• Nerve damage
• Skin irritation
• Upset stomach
• Tumors in lab animals

Coloring is commonly found in processed foods:
• Toothpaste (including children’s toothpaste)
• Cereals
• Chips
• Candies
• Cheese
• Desserts
• Icing
• Meat
• Fruit or salty snacks
• Soft drinks
• Canned foods
• Frozen foods
• Packaged foods

12) Aspartame
Aspartame may cause:

• Fatigue
• Irritability
• Headache
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Vision problems
• Dizziness
• Memory loss
• Hyperactivity
• Migraine
• Aggression & Insomnia
• Brain damage
• Central nervous system disturbances

Aspartame is commonly found in the following:
• Sugar-free candies
• Diet or Sugar-free desserts
• Sugar-free chewing gum
• Diet or Sugar-free ice-cream
• Diet or Sugar-free sodas
• Diet or Sugar-free yogurt
• Other “Diet” or “Sugar Free” products

13) ...    Continue

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@ 6:53am ET on October 13, 2008
Thanks for the info John!

@ 7:08am ET on October 13, 2008

@ 7:09am ET on October 13, 2008
then what are we supposed to eat??!!! if all these things are bad??!!!!

@ 7:41am ET on October 13, 2008
Thanks! This is what my family has been saying for years! Its good to hear it from others!
Notice, over half of these things are chemically altered foods.

@ 8:58am ET on October 13, 2008
Thanks for the info!! Patty

@ 9:25am ET on October 13, 2008
Ok, very good, you forgot to mention that everything is unhealthy even breathing air and that we will all die someday. Lets just forget about ever eating or drinking anything other than water.

@ 9:31am ET on October 13, 2008
Alex knows it may be almost impossible to cut out ALL the 14 foods mentioned. His advice is to use moderation when the need arises. His book does spell out a healthier diet; the focus of this feature was the 14 foods to watch. Natural, unprocessed foods are your best bet when it comes to better health.

@ 9:44am ET on October 13, 2008
Interesting, but I think some commonsense may need to be used in food selection. Not everyone can afford organic and all natural foods. Moderation in choices and of course elimination of junk food on the whole or forever and as much artificial sugars and processed sugar as possible does a world of good. Using olive oil that has been coldpressed is a better selection in that area. You can still eat and enjoy many foods just by using some different techniques in preparing and good old commonsense in eating choices. We all know that too much of anything is not good for anyone.

@ 10:18am ET on October 13, 2008
Darn, lost my original post, but reading this was a total waste of my time and I presume others time too. Imagine taking advice from a former marketing manager, who now apparently is marketing his own book! A registered dietician would never recommend such drastic measures and would show us how to modify our diets in moderation. In fact this was such a waste of my time, that I have decided to mark all email from you as unwanted, and in the future all will be directed to the trash folder. Fmc

@ 11:23am ET on October 13, 2008
Thanks for the great advice. Yes, the list sounds drastic, but also necessary to be in good health as we get older. There is a vast difference between people in their 50's and up, and the primary difference is how they eat and how active they are. People are getting diseases a generation earlier than they use to....ie....diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, strokes, etc. Prevention is certainly the best medicine and apparently Mr. Ong has followed this path and has seen the results. It's just a new way of eating.

@ 12:14pm ET on October 13, 2008
I am the perfect case study for aspartame. I started using it at 16 and now I am 40. I am not totally convinced about the symptoms listed above..they are actually pretty vague and can be caused by a number of factors.

Something causing fatigue and insomnia sounds almost contradictory.

I don't know anyone who hasn't experienced at Least half of those symptoms in a given month.. and lots of those people don't use aspartame..
Telling people who have those symptoms that brain damage is pretty much the next step is frightening.

My sister's memory started going in her 40's, as is my own, and she uses sugar to sweeten her beverages and hates the aftertaste of any artificial sweetener.

Off my aspartame soapbox not.. lol

I agree with most of this list. I think sugar should top the list though, or maybe pesticides....

@ 12:22pm ET on October 13, 2008
And he forgot to mention water.

And he should've also added that we should stop eating all together and starve to death.

Only then we'll all be very healthy...living in paradise.

@ 2:24pm ET on October 13, 2008
Then what the heck can we eat??!!! Every single food item is listed on here!!!

@ 4:12pm ET on October 13, 2008
WTF? Some good info in here BUT I think the mass consensus wants to know what we are supposed to eat?

@ 5:18pm ET on October 13, 2008
This is a horrible article!! I mean it basically tells you anything you eat is going to be bad for you in some way, so I guess we should live off of? O wait there nothing we can eat because everythings on the list, so thank you for the bad advice.

@ 6:06pm ET on October 13, 2008
O my god! if this isnt the stupidest thing iv ever read than idk what is! i guess we should all just starv 2 death. what r u thinking writing this!? this is the worst advice i have ever read or herd of in my whole life. if i ever see this book im burning it!

@ 7:19pm ET on October 13, 2008
I find it funny that nearly everyone who reads this article is defensive about it (yeah, so what do we eat? etc...) It's a suggestion, not the bloody bible! And if you didn't read at the top it says M-O-D-E-R-A-T-I-O-N, not "DON'T EAT THESE FOODS EVER AGAIN". I think it's a great article and those who don't agree I ask you to do a better job :P This article has helped me alot and I hope there's other people out there that can say the same.

@ 7:48pm ET on October 13, 2008
What's wrong with u guys?It's up to you,if you want to follow the good and the bad things in this article.Why, are you so affected? If you want to die early,don't follow.If you want to live longer and take it positively, go for it or better don't read anything that would mess up your life and create you a problem.ok!Respect others...if you get old, you will not remember all of those things that you read here.

@ 7:39am ET on October 14, 2008
I am glad to see this feature triggered such passionate response -- it indicates we all care about our health and the food we eat. I will ask Alex to follow up with a blog on the proper eating that helped him cut down weight and cholesterol.

Yes this list is extensive and includes many of the foods we commonly eat -- and it's those common foods that have led us to being overweight and unhealthy.

Don't burn the book or kill the messenger. Please wait for his follow up advice!


John McGran
Chief Editor

@ 11:26am ET on October 14, 2008
I have got to say a lot of you seem very offended about the comprehensive list of bad additives, and foods. But none of you thought about this... What did your parents/grandparents eat 50, 60 years ago?? Do you think they starved? Do you see any pictures of them sitting in a fast food restaurant hardly able to sit on a chair because they were too overweight to fit the chair??? I ask these questions because I have gone through all of the difficulties all of you have. I have tried every diet out there...with no success and starving yourself of course is not being asked but for all of you to know, there are a lot of foods added to, modified, created, and ruined through processing. All he is telling you is to watch for these common names and types of foods. Please take his advice and eat these types of foods in moderation. Just like not going out for fast food each and every night of the week, and hardly a green item seen all week. If everyone had the choice, of course growing your own food is an option. In some cities there are community gardens that you can access your own piece of land and for a small fee(which usually goes to charity) and grow your own fruits/vegetables. It also gives you the chance to get out and get a bit of exercise. Walk the extra block, use a sunhat, and get some fresh air!!! I have lost nearly 15lbs this month alone. All I did was follow the nutrition guidelines on the back of the box of the foods I eat. I drink my water and walk a minimum of 30 mins. three days a week.(don't forget to stretch) and you will see it for yourself. Month 2 for me and counting, I got another 50lbs to go!!! Wish me luck!!!

@ 7:31pm ET on October 15, 2008
well, i know all these food, have fat, but we can not just stop eating meat, my wife has two months of going vegetarian and well she is loosing a lot of weight. She tells me to do the same but i know i would starve to death if i stop eating meat,lol. I don't like to cook with oil, i rather grill my food and see all the fat on the grill then see it in my body. I know it a lot but it helps, just like everyone said to eat with moderation. Eat in small portions and well eat greens, salads for example. It help when you stop eating fast foods, it better to eat and apple then eat a burger and fries. All that he has said is true but what we need to do is to eat less fat stuff, and start getting inform. I am not saying that we should start going crazy and being all anal about the calories but how we eat. We as adults have to exercise at least one hour, so we could have energy to play with our kids or go to work. We don't need to drink coffee to start our day. What we need is do exercise in the morning and walk more. It really helps a lot in your love life and in your dally life. well i hope it helps i know for me it working and remember support your self and others when they are in a diet. I preparer my wife's meal and well i eat the same thing but some times i eat meat, good luck to all on their diet.

@ 10:47pm ET on November 10, 2008
I found out a few years ago that I am alergic to beer. I always thought if was the hops. I know I'm alergic to certain sulfites, but didn't know that beer had sulfites. I never thought of that.

@ 8:15pm ET on December 29, 2008
not to sure if I agree with your opinion on protein. Yes bacon, sausage, and cheese bad but.... lean meats are a great source of protein and that can not be denied. And for those wanting to build muscle you need to have it.

@ 3:29am ET on December 30, 2008
OK I agree with sugar and some other items, but milk? isnt that supposed to give calcium, and that too mainly for women? And everyone keeps on saying moderation.. may i ask what that level means..I mean, take milk for example, how much could a person normally have in a day? one glass?? two to the maximum, but i have never seen an adult having two cups of milk everyday...if having one cup is too much, then we are all gonna have weak bones...

@ 2:43pm ET on July 20, 2009
i can't believe that i'm as healthy as i am and don't have any health problems because everything you just named i love

@ 2:44pm ET on July 20, 2009
people wonder why they are fat i think it's the economy because a cheeseburger from Mcdonald's $1 but a chicken is like $8-9 no wonder people eat bad

@ 5:00am ET on February 26, 2010
The experience by surfing www.weightlossguide.com which contains particular information about particular common diet is ever best i saw.

@ 7:29pm ET on March 2, 2010
I think he's wrong about caffeine also - the lastest research shows it's not nearly as bad for you as they used to think. It's a stimulant, very low in calories (if you don't add milk and sugar), and I remember reading that it actually helps muscle recovery after exercise.

@ 10:25pm ET on October 21, 2010
Haha well the caffeine part isn't too bad if you have coffee for instance... it helps your digestive system i guess so i have a cup every morning that i remember and if you want to stay in shape then this is what you've gotta do because if you think that you can't eat anything after he named all of those foods to avoid then buddy you're in the wrong site... i guess you need to get into an obese diet plan thingy haha

@ 2:19am ET on December 7, 2012
Hello there,

I have been trying to add more whole foods into my daily meal that could be essential for me to lose the extra fat from my body. While I have seen many sites that give a brief list of important vegan foods and raw foods that are rich in healthy nutrients.

@ 9:11am ET on January 5, 2013
animal protein and fat is finein a moderate size meal, the body chops down saturated fat and combined with low carbs like veges burns fat. sugar is the main one to cut out or reduce to low levels,it causes the most health problems including weight gain not fat, that is a myth that fat makes you fat there is no real evidence though trans is bad. cut out white bread, pasta, flour, grains, margarine, processed soy and corn and hydro oils and you'll be better off, ive lost 10kg recently doing this, crank up your exercise too and it will happen.

@ 3:20am ET on March 21, 2013
Dieting is an unavoidable factor in our day to day life. It is essential for a healthy body and a healthy mind. It is important because we need to maintain health and a sensible body weight. A balanced diet should contain protein, fats, carbohydrates and fiber ,fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and fresh drinking water. androgelpills.com

@ 4:56am ET on December 21, 2015
You did really good work. I really appreciate your new and different post. Please guys keep it up and share with us some unique post in the future
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@ 8:46am ET on April 21, 2016
That was an easy method we can try. I love to cut down my weight. I feel sad when I compare my earlier with the weight I have now. I was so lean earlier and now put on lot of weight. This foods I can include in my diet if it can reduce my weight.
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