They may be considered healthy, but overdoing it with some of these eats could have major consequences. – By Christine Yu
But variety is the spice of life, so they say, and it can also save your life in the long term too. “You may have heard ‘eat the rainbow,’ meaning all the different coloured fruits and veggies, and there is truth to that,” says dietitian Ginger Hultin.
“It’s important to eat a large variety of foods so you get access to different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.”
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A lack of variety can also be hazardous to your health, especially if you overdo your go-to list foods. Here are four foods that you shouldn’t eat every day, and why they could be dangerous if you do.
Salmon seems like a can’t-go-wrong superfood. But when it’s smoked, there are some limits. “Smoking fish generates polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and dietary exposure could result in excess lifetime cancer risks,” says Hultin, so keep it to once or twice a week. But the good news, Hultin says, is that you can safely enjoy salmon many other ways such as poached, braised, or roasted—as often as you’d like!
Coconut oil is a darling in the healthy-eating world, but that doesn’t mean you should have it every day. “Coconut oil is a saturated fat, but it is abundant in medium-chain triglycerides that may decrease levels of overall cholesterol and triglyceride,” says registered dietitian Julie Harrington. But it’s still kilojoule dense, with 507kj per tablespoon. “Be mindful of portion sizes as it can add excess kilojoules in meals,” Harrington says. Aim for two tablespoons per day max.
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There are tons of reasons to love tuna. It’s high in protein and minerals like iron, calcium, zinc, and magnesium. But, thanks to its high mercury count, you shouldn’t eat it every day. “An excessive amount of mercury can lead to mercury poisoning, which can cause vision problems and muscle weakness,” says Harrington. “Whether you fall into the higher risk category (pregnant and nursing women and children) or not, consider your mercury intake and choose the lowest mercury type of tuna,” says Hultin. Stick with canned light tuna, for up to two to three servings per week.
Hultin says that when meat—including beef, pork, fish, and poultry—is cooked at high temperatures, like during pan frying or grilling, it can create cancer-causing compounds like heterocyclic amines (HCAs)—a good reason to limit your intake. “HCAs are not found in significant amounts in foods other than meat cooked at high temperatures, so feel free to grill veggies, fruit, and meat alternatives like veggie burgers,” she says. It’s recommended that you keep grilled and processed meat consumption to 18 grams per week—roughly 80g to 170g burger patties a week. So, make it an occasional indulgence.
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