Ostreicher, author of Brush Your Teeth and Other Simple Ways to Stay Young and Healthy (http://www.brushyourteethbook.com), has a list of ways to keep people from looking like Santa after the holidays.
His message is simple: Air and water are polluted. Diet is loaded with artificial ingredients and hormones. Americans are fat and do not exercise. Yet we are living longer than our grandparents did. He calls it the “American paradox.”
The answer, says Ostreicher, is simple: Hygiene, from improved sewerage to personal hygiene. He also suggests avoiding the “foul four” foods that hijack health.
“The American diet is one of excesses,” Ostreicher says. “We eat too much – too many calories, too much fat, too much salt and too much sugar. And those elements make up the ‘foul four’ dietary villains.”
Salt – “Salt raises your blood pressure and can lead to heart attacks and strokes,” says Ostreicher. “It has also been linked to cancers of the stomach and esophagus. Throw out your salt shaker. You don’t need to add any salt to your food. Salt is not the only spice. We should all make much better use of pepper or other spices. When cooking, leave out the salt, or cut the amount in half. After a period of time, your sensitivity to salt will change.Your taste buds will accommodate to the normal salt diet, and soon you will find you don’t need it anymore.”
Sugar – Sugar is Ostreicher’s next target. He believes we eat way too much of it, and the wrong kinds of it. “Whether it’s in the form of table sugar (from sugar cane or sugar beets), or high fructose corn syrup, the average American eats about 3 pounds of sugar a week,” Ostreicher says.
Calories – Those 3 pounds of sugar is equal to 3,312 empty calories per week. “No vitamins, minerals, fiber – just 3,212 calories,” he says. “That will convert to 4 pounds of fat per month. No wonder obesity in America is epidemic.”
Fat – The last of the foul four on Ostreicher’s hit list is fat. “Fat is another endless supply of calories,” he said. “The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans says we should limit total fat to 20 percent to 35 prcent of our RDA for calories. Most Americans get more than that. Fat, especially the ‘bad’ fats (saturated and trans) are linked to obesity, heart attacks and cancer.”
One major fallacy to avoid this holiday season is the idea that any member of the foul four somehow is made healthy because it’s organic. “It seems intuitive that ‘organic’ is healthier,” Ostreicher said. “Given the choice, I would rather eat an organically grown tomato than one grown in a field with pesticides and artificial fertilizers. However, there is very little true scientific evidence to show that eating ‘non-organic’ foods cause serious illness. There is a ton of evidence that shows that eating sugar, salt and high fat/high calorie diets cause all kinds of health problems and increase risk for disease.
“At the end of the day, with all the choices we have with our diets today, clearly we can all agree that avoiding these foul four foods is a good start,” says Ostreicher.