A patient asked me during treatment the other day what I thought the five worst foods were. I could easily think of two: Bananas and grapes. Most people think of these as healthy foods and indeed they do have many healthy properties. Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin B6, soluble fiber, and contain moderate amounts of vitamin C, manganese and potassium. Grapes are regarded by many as almost magical, containing health promoting phyto-nutrients such as poly-phenolic antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. However these are the two foods that I most frequently advise patients to avoid. I added dried fruits, alcohol and coffee to complete my top five foods to avoid.
My reason for choosing the first three and my initial thinking behind compiling the list was that most prevalent food-related problem that I see in patients is weight control. It is one thing to advocate balance and moderation, but quite another to practice it if it leaves you hungry all of the time. The problem with bananas, grapes and dried fruit is that they have a very high glycemic load (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glycemic_load) and due to the way that sugar metabolism works, in simple terms, the more of them you eat, the hungrier you feel.
Alcohol, for all its other failings is essentially liquid sugar and so explains that need to snack when returning from the pub. Coffee is a stimulant and removes sugar from the blood, leaving one hungry and looking to replenish supplies.
I firmly believe that managing the Glycemic Load of the food that one eats is the key to a trim waistline while at the same time not being plagued by hunger pains. I can thoroughly recommend Patrick Holford’s book “The Holford Diet” to anyone who wants to lose weight based on the GL principle.
However, on reflection, this is a pretty poor list. I have focused on whole foods because that is what I am familiar with. But the curse of modern life is processed food. So, the next person that asks me I will probably say: Cake, Biscuits, White bread, white rice and ready meals.