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Your diet: the good, bad and ugly


After last week’s article, I am sure everyone has now sworn off black cake and eggnog for this Christmas season, right? All I hear is a mosquito here and there, so that means no one agrees. Well, this may surprise you, but I am not going to badger you about staying with a strict diet during this season, or even at all. My goal is not to set you up for failure and vexation, but instead give you reasonable guidelines to follow.{{more}}

Please do not interpret this as my saying you can eat whatever you want. Truly, not even little children without any health problems should be eating whatever they want-do you really want to allow a child to eat sweeties all day? Or fried chicken– morning, noon and night? No.

Let’s begin our Christmas crash course on how to approach that table of food when you visit Tanty next week:

1) The Ugly: sweets, cakes, pudding, eggnog, sugary fruit juices, and heavy bread– SMALL AMOUNTS PLEASE. I am not the devil. I am not asking you to stand in front of a beautiful Christmas table full of sweet bread and walk away. If you can, more power to you. But for most of us, this is very difficult. Remember: all of those foods add calories and/or fats to your diet, and in many cases do not really add much nutritional value to an otherwise balanced diet. So have a small slice of black cake on Christmas day-not every day of Nine Mornings, and not a big piece.

2) The Bad: Fried foods (Tri-Tri cake included), and heavy starchy foods (Duccano, yam etc). PROCEED WITH CAUTION. For those of you who have high cholesterol as well as diabetes, this is especially dangerous territory for you. If you can, discretely blot off some of the oil from all fried foods on a paper towel before eating it. I know this is heresy, but take some of the skin off the fried chicken. I know, I must be crazy, that is the good part, right? But it is also jam-packed with oil. Your arteries will thank you…

3) Alcohol-yes, you can have it, but again in moderate amounts for a variety of reasons. Alcohol has what we call “empty calories,” meaning it does not have much nutritional value, but it still contributes to weight gain. So be sure to count that glass of wine when you look over your plate to decide if you have too much on it.

4) Ham, meat, chicken-if it is lean (no fat, not fried), then there is no true restriction (that said, please do not eat half a ham).

5) The Good: Fish, veggies-assuming the fish is not fried (in which case it falls under number 2 above), I encourage you to have your fill of fish and vegetables. These are some of the best foods on this earth for you to eat. Try to keep them boiled, baked or steamed, or better yet for veggies, FRESH.

Next week, we will go into more detail regarding dietary rules of thumb, so keep reading!

Anita Ramsetty, MD
Medical Director Endocrine Care Group