Cardiologists Reveal the 15 Foods They Never Eat

It’s easy to get caught up in all of the different diet trends in the world today. But what should you actually avoid eating? According to cardiologists, the following foods should be off limits. Here are the top 15 foods cardiologists never eat.

1. Soda

soda bottles

Soda is full of empty calories. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Sugary drinks, such as soda or other soft drinks, are nothing but empty calories. They lead to weight gain without providing any nutritional benefit. And according to Healthline, the large amounts of sugar consumed from soda are turned to fat when processed by the liver. Plus, that sugar overload can lead to Type 2 diabetes. Stick to flavored sparkling water when you want a fizzy pick-me-up.

Next: These might be convenient, but they aren’t healthy. 

2. Chips


Potato chips are loaded with sodium and fats. | Lisovskaya/iStock/Getty Images

Chips have tried to make a better name for themselves over the years, with alternatives like “baked” and “kettle cooked.” But the bottom line is chips provide empty calories and unnecessary trans fats — the type of fat you always want to avoid. Plus, reports that many bagged chips contain a carcinogenic chemical called BHT, which is used to preserve the chips while they’re on the shelf. It’s best to avoid these salty snacks altogether, but if you must indulge, do so in moderation.

Next: This could be America’s favorite food — but it definitely isn’t healthy. 

3. Bacon


Bacon is full of fat and sodium. | Villagemoon/iStock/Getty Images

Bacon might be one of the most well-liked foods in the United States. Who can resist its salty, crispy, crunchy flavor and texture? Well, cardiologists can. Bacon contains a lot of bad fat (yes, there are several different types of fats). It’s also high in cholesterol, and that’s a great way to make yourself more susceptible to heart disease. Plus, the process to make bacon (such as the conditions the pigs are raised in) are often very unsanitary and inhumane.

Next: A little of this is good — but don’t have too much.  

4. Too much alcohol

Red wine

Red wine is only okay in moderation. | karandaev/iStock/Getty Images

One glass of wine per night can actually be good for your heart. But too much of a good thing can become a bad thing — and that’s the case with alcohol. Heavy drinking has been linked to excessive weight gain, which puts strain on your body, especially the heart. But enjoying a glass of red wine each night can improve heart health. Red wine contains a compound called resveratrol, which has heart healthy effects. With alcohol, moderation is key.

Next: These are even worse for you than soda. 

5. Energy drinks

energy drinks

Energy drinks are worse than soda. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Energy drinks are teeming with caffeine — far more than a cup of coffee. And caffeine can cause serious problems with heart rhythm, blood flow, and blood pressure. It has even been linked to death. Energy drinks often combine caffeine, sugar, and additional chemicals to achieve their flavor and purpose, and research has suggested these can cause serious changes in your heart’s behavior. It’s best to stick to one or two cups of coffee to wake yourself up.

Next: This might be a classic comfort food, but don’t indulge too much. 

6. Ice cream

chocolate brownie ice cream

Ice cream contains tons of fat and sugar. | tasha_lyubina/iStock/Getty Images

Ice cream is full of fat and sugar — two things you don’t want to eat in large quantities. Milk fat, which is used to make ice cream, is high in cholesterol and saturated fat. Consuming too much of either one increases your risk of heart disease. And while ice cream does have a few benefits, such as being a good source of energy and minerals, its drawbacks make it a food you don’t want to eat too often.

Next: You might love these, but you also probably tend to over-indulge. 

7. Cookies

Assorted cookies

Cookies should only be consumed in moderation. | Svetl/iStock/Getty Images

Cookies, along with other baked goods, are loaded with sugar and fats. And sadly, it’s not good for you. Plus, it’s nearly impossible to stick to only one cookie. And the more you eat, the worse you’re doing for your body. Even oatmeal cookies are deceiving — they’re still packed with sugar and carbs and often don’t have enough oatmeal to make much of a nutritional difference. However, life is about moderation. If you can manage to enjoy a cookie or two without eating the whole bag, then go for it.

Next: These should be avoided altogether. 

8. Sugary treats


Sweet treats should only be eaten once in a while. |

Cookies aren’t the only thing to avoid. Actually, all sugary treats should be consumed very infrequently. On those days when you truly have a craving, it’s fine, but stay away from them most of the time. Consuming sugary treats creates that spike in blood sugar that could lead Type 2 diabetes. And those with Type 2 diabetes are at a much greater risk of developing heart disease.

Next: The sodium in these makes them a food to stay away from. 

9. Canned foods

canned food customer

Canned foods should be avoided. |

In order for canned foods to be nonperishable, they must be preserved. And most canned foods are preserved with salt, which ups their sodium content. Foods that are high in sodium cause the body to retain fluid. This can increase blood pressure, leading to hypertension and putting people at a greater risk of suffering from heart attack or stroke. Always choose fresh foods over canned, if possible.

Next: This does have a few benefits — but only if it’s consumed sparingly. 

10. Too much cheese

Greek Feta Cheese

Cheese is only beneficial in moderation. | Mizina/iStock/Getty Images

Cheese does have some health benefits, but it’s another food where moderation is key. Cheese provides calcium and protein, along with vitamins A and B12. But cheese is also very high in calories and fat. It should be consumed in small quantities, such as an ounce served with whole wheat crackers for a light snack. Consuming large amounts of cheese puts you at risk for developing heart disease later in life.

Next: These are bad for your heart and carcinogenic. 

11. Hot dogs

hot dogs

Hot dogs are carcinogenic. | David Paul Morris/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has actually classified hot dogs as carcinogenic, so you shouldn’t eat them at all — and if you do, very moderately. Not only are hot dogs bad for your whole body because of this, but they’re also loaded with sodium. This puts a lot of stress on the heart, since sodium increases blood pressure. Over time, too much strain on the heart leads to heart disease.

Next: These are also carcinogenic — and full of sodium. 

12. Cold cuts

turkey sandwich

Cold cuts are carcinogenic. |

Cold cuts are similar to hot dogs in their effects on the body. But besides also being labeled carcinogenic (if that wasn’t bad enough), they are full of sodium. Again, sodium leads to high blood pressure. And over time, damage to the heart caused by high blood pressure can lead to heart attack and potentially death.

Next: These were popular in the 1950s, but doctors have sworn them off. 

13. Microwave dinners

A processed frozen dinner

Frozen dinners are full of preservatives, fats, and calories. | Joe Belanger/ iStock/Getty Images Plus

Microwave dinners are stuffed with salt, fat, and calories. Although they’re convenient time-wise, they are not convenient for the body. The high fat and salt content puts strain on the body. And the dinners might come with a small serving of vegetables, but it is not enough to offset the damage they cause. Try meal-prepping at the beginning of the week to save time on dinner rather than resorting to a frozen meal.

Next: Cardiologists skip this grocery aisle altogether. 

14. Cardiologists skip the frozen food aisle

woman frozen food aisle

The frozen food aisle should be avoided. | Studio

In addition to skipping frozen dinners, cardiologists skip frozen foods altogether. (Unless, of course, they need some frozen fruits or veggies.) The frozen food aisle is full of dangerous foods, such as ice cream, appetizers, TV dinners, and more. Rather than tempt yourself while grocery shopping, create a list and stick to it. If you don’t have any frozen foods on the list, you’ll be less likely to wander over that way in the store.

Next: Cardiologists also prefer this type of food over another. 

15. They choose grilled foods over fried

Homemade Southern Fried Chicken

Grilled foods are always better than fried. |

Fried foods are full of fats, and that includes trans fats — the worst type of fat to consume. Trans fats raise your bad cholesterol and lower the good cholesterol. Grilled is always a healthier option than fried. Instead of consuming fried, breaded chicken or shrimp, try grilling up some and topping it with something delicious, such as mango salsa, or adding it to a Caesar salad. You’ll still get your protein in, and you won’t even have to sacrifice flavor.

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