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Weekly Articles

Terry’s Top Ten: Worst Foods

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To say that America’s diet is out of whack is to state something tremendously obvious. You might even feel a bit overwhelmed when you think about what to eat, what not to eat, and try to balance what you’ve heard over the years.

There’s certainly been a lot of misleading information, which doesn’t help things a bit.

First, I’m sure most of you have heard about the Standard American Diet, not surprisingly, abbreviated as “S.A.D.” And the whole story certainly lives up to that acronym. Let’s take a look at some of the more frightening realities behind the Standard American Diet.

Right off the bat, we’re eating a lot more calories each day. From an average of 1900 kcal in the 1950s, our daily intake has ballooned to 2661 kcal – a boost of 40%! Now, if we all had very physically active jobs, this may not be such a bad thing. The problem is, we’re all much more sedentary at our daily work.

Plus, the kinds of calories we take in have changed considerably since 1900. These days, the average American consumes 200 lbs. of sugar – 42 lbs. in the form of corn syrup. Along with that, we’re eating 29 lbs. of French fries, 23 lbs. of pizza, 56 lbs. of corn, and washing it all down with 53 gallons of soda.

In this Terry Talks Nutrition®, we’ll take a look at the top foods you must avoid in order to stay healthy. So, what makes the Top Ten Worst Foods list? Let’s take a look at the main offenders:

Deep Fried Anything:

Frying not only adds fat and calories, it reduces nutrient content, too. Take a chicken breast, for example. Roasted, it only equals 142 calories and 3 grams of fat. Take that same chicken and deep fry it and the numbers really add up: breaded, and with the skin on, this chicken now weighs in at 364 calories with 18.5 grams of fat!

Beyond the obvious caloric payload, there are other very good reasons to avoid deep fried foods. First, most of the oils used for deep frying are hydrogenated vegetable oils. These man-made oils raise the risk of heart disease and stroke, and are often used over and over again in most restaurants, becoming rancid in the process. Rancid oils boost the oxidative stress in your body, causing inflammation and cellular damage.

Also, deep-frying carbohydrates creates acrylamide – a cancerous compound that increases the risk of breast cancer by 10 times! Guess where these compounds are found most? French fries and potato chips.

Milk – Pasteurized and Processed:

When you consider that milk-producing cows in the United States are often injected with artificial hormones to boost production, you have to wonder if that affects the end-product. It does.

These hormones cause the cows’ udders to become inflamed. This inflammation triggers white blood cells (pus) to flock to the udders. With the pus in such close proximity, you can be sure some of it will be found in the milk. Many of these cows are also milked while they are pregnant – at the very time they are producing over 30 times the estrogen as non-pregnant cows. The combined effect produces a cocktail of hormones that you may be ingesting every time you have a glass at home.

Some of you may argue that pasteurization – the process of heating the milk to high temperatures and rapidly cooling – will take care of any problems. Unfortunately, it does too good of a job, killing both harmful and beneficial bacteria, as well as wiping out about 20% of the natural iodine content you’d normally find in healthy milk.

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, consider goat’s milk. It provides more calcium and vitamins, is less allergenic, and is more easily digested. However, raw milk from cows can be – or at least should be –an option, too. When raw milk comes from grass-fed cows, it is an excellent choice. Raw milk retains valuable nutrients, including conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and lactoferrin. Lactoferrin, aside from helping the body absorb and use iron, also has strong anti-microbial and immune-enhancing abilities.

Conjugated linoleic acid is an especially beneficial nutrient found in organic grass-fed cows’ milk. It has been studied for its ability to help the body fight against food allergies, boost metabolism, and keep blood sugar levels healthy. But again, the source is everything; pasture-fed, grass-grazing cows had 500% more conjugated linoleic acid in their milk fat than the cows fed typical dairy diets.

So, why is raw milk – even when acquired from reputable farms – so hard to come by? Especially when bacteria-laden spinach, cantaloupes, lettuce, and sprouts have hospitalized and in some cases, even killed people, continue to be sold? We need to keep these questions in mind when laws that affect our health are being written and enforced.


There was a time when this was considered the “healthy” alternative to butter. But we’ve learned better since then. (Some of us always knew: allegedly, Julia Child kept margarine on hand only to serve to her enemies.)

In any case, margarine is made from hydrogenated vegetable oils, which are chemically modified by adding hydrogen to make them more stable. Unfortunately, this so-called “healthy” choice has actually been found to increase the risk of heart disease by 10% for every teaspoon consumed. In fact, long-term consumption by women was associated with a 67% increased risk! Do your heart and taste buds a favor – eat real butter instead.


This is a big problem. Americans eat approximately 100 acres of pizza every dayabout 350 slices per second. Over a third of these include pepperoni as a topping, which aside from adding poor calories to the diet, are loaded with nitrites and nitrates – preservatives that add carcinogenic compounds to our bodies that add another form of sodium (which affects the heart and cardiovascular system) and may even cause cancer.

Plus, the typical white crust for pizza is made from refined flours that most likely put bromide into your system, competing with valuable iodine.

Do yourself a favor. If you must have pizza, make it yourself at home with a thin, whole grain crust – there are some great recipes out there – use vegetable toppings, and go easy on the cheese.

Juice and Soda:

You see people everywhere drinking soda or juice – especially kids and younger people. Obviously, each one packs a wallop of sugar, but not all sugar is the same. For example, the fructose from high fructose corn syrup – especially in liquid form, (like you have in soda) is quickly metabolized by the liver and converted from sugar to fat. This is the very process that is associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Just one 20-oz. soda – now considered the “regular” size (remember 8 and 10-oz bottles?) has 67 grams of sugar – about 17 teaspoons. And artificial sweeteners, once considered the answer to concerns about sugar consumption, are just as bad. New research suggests they can lead to many chronic diseases, including diabetes.

Fruit juices, which many people may be tempted into thinking is the healthy alternative have two or three times the sugar content – and only half as much fiber as simply eating a piece of fruit. In fact, just 8 ounces of apple juice has twice the sugar and only 1/10 the fiber of a medium apple!

Want a healthy refresher? Go with simple, un-fluoridated spring water. It’s the best choice.

Sugar-Coated Breakfast Cereal

Starting off with one of the many sugary breakfast cereals is probably the worst way to begin your day. Some of the unhealthiest offenders are almost 60% sugar! That’s 5 teaspoons for every cup of cereal! By the way, that’s more sugar than you’ll find in a Twinkie.

These high-sugar cereals are the last things kids need for breakfast. Sugar consumption isn’t just linked to obesity – if that weren’t unhealthy enough – but also to diabetes, cancer, and inflammatory diseases.

You really don’t want sugar for breakfast anyhow. Your system needs to recharge in the morning with protein, so consider eggs or a protein smoothie with fruit instead. It’ll carry you much further through the day without the mid-morning “burnout” that so many people feel when they eat standard, sweetened breakfasts.


While sodium in and of itself is not a “food”, it is consumed in mass quantities. There’s nothing inherently wrong with sodium – our bodies need it for fluid, electrolyte, and pH balance. But Americans get far too much sodium in their diets. The average American eats 40% more than the maximum recommended intake for sodium – 3400 mg vs. 2300 mg daily.

Most of this excess sodium – about 70-75% — comes from processed foods; pizza, cured meats, soup, cold cuts, cheese, and pasta, to name a few.

Too much sodium leads to fluid retention. You know that “bloated” feeling you get sometimes when you know you’ve had too much salty food? Unfortunately, it’s doing more than just making you uncomfortable. Fluid retention increases blood volume in the body, which in turn, boosts blood pressure. The combined effect puts a lot more pressure on your kidneys to try to reach equilibrium, and of course, the increase in blood pressure makes your heart and blood vessels work a lot harder.

The best thing to do is cut down on processed foods – that will reduce a lot of your excess sodium intake right away. You’ll also want to add some potassium-rich foods to your diet. For some supplemental assistance, check out my article: “One Easy Answer for Some Big Health Questions”.

White Bread and Pasta:

I have a saying about this group; “The whiter the bread, the sooner you’re dead.”

That might sound harsh, but it’s true. White bread and pasta have taken anything good about grains and drained them of their value. They’re made from refined white flour, which has removed the husk, bran, and naturally-occurring nutrients. Instead, this flour is bleached with chemicals and dried, becoming just part of the structure – nutritionally speaking, almost a filler – between the added gluten, sugar, and salt in most bakery products.

Like sugar, white flour foods have a terrible effect on blood glucose levels – they are considered high glycemic index foods, which means that as simple carbohydrates, they are not well-used and digested by the body. With the glycemic index, the closer to the number 100 you get, the more problematic the food will be for your blood sugar. A slice of white bread falls around 70.

White bread and pasta are also notoriously low in fiber, so you’re not getting any real benefit there, either. Your best choice – if you must have these carbs – is to limit your intake to just a small amount of real whole grain bread and pasta.


I think I’ve saved one of the worst for last here. The potato – the world’s number one vegetable crop – is by far, the most consumed, too. Remember, the average American eats almost 30 lbs. of French fries a year, and about 1/3 of all potatoes are eaten as fries or chips.

Along with those calories is a load of hydrogenated vegetable oil, which brings acrylamide, the cancer- causing compound.

Unfortunately, eating potatoes in their un-fried form is not any better for you. They aren’t that high in fiber or nutrients, so they seem less filling, and as a result, you tend to eat more of them.

Even mashed, baked or boiled potatoes are unhealthy – they adversely affect blood sugar and insulin levels. In fact, a simple baked potato can top off the glycemic index scales at over 90! No wonder they’re considered a “blood sugar bomb!”

If you’re looking for a snack alternative to chips, there are an abundance of healthier options. Consider walnuts or almonds. Both are great sources of minerals, vitamins, fiber, and healthy fats. For potatoes, substitute with a sweet potato instead. They are rich sources of chlorogenic acid, which may reduce insulin resistance, are higher in fiber, and have 30% less impact on blood sugar levels.

What We Eat Makes a Huge Difference:

There’s no doubt that what we make into a habit: what we eat, what we think, what we do – has a giant impact on our lives. Unfortunately, we tend to slip up on our diets more than anything, not realizing the overall impact it has on our mental and physical well-being.

But consider this: 30-40% of cancer cases are due to lifestyle choices, including the foods we choose to eat. Add to that the fact that 35% of Americans are overweight or obese, the epidemic of Type 2 diabetes, which is only expected to double or triple in the next 40 years, and that almost a quarter of all Americans have metabolic syndrome, and it’s shockingly evident that we need to rethink our relationship with food.

I believe it can be done. I think we have it in ourselves to change our habits and replace bad choices with good ones. Next week, I’ll review the Top Ten BEST foods. In the meantime, I encourage anyone who struggles with keeping a healthy diet or who feels addicted to one (or more) of the foods on this list to see my article, “Terry’s Traditional Diet”.

You can change your path. Next week, we’ll look at some of the most wholesome, delicious, and nutrient-rich foods that satisfy body and mind, and can put you on the road to vibrant, optimal health.



19 Responses to Terry’s Top Ten: Worst Foods

  1. Mary Vandersteen says:

    Thank you Terry for all your words of wisdom. We need every one. MV

  2. Lori says:

    My husband is STILL struggling with blood clots. It all started last summer when we discovered Bilateral Pulmonary Emboli after much pain in the rib area on the left side. We thought it was kidney stones, so we had waited about 3 days. He was hospitalized and told to start on Warfarin. He was taking that for 6 months, when the Dr. told him he was done. We ASKED for A test to show the clots were gone because within a week, his foot swelled to much he couldn’t walk without lots of pain. The Dr. sent him home with a splint, saying he must have injured his foot. We asked for A test to show that the clots were gone. The Dr. reluntantly agreed to do a blood test. We asked again IF he would PLEASE also order a ultrasound for his left leg and he did relunctantly. Both results came the same day. The blood test said NO MORE CLOTS but the ultrasound showed NO CHANGE, blood clots behind the left knee, in the same place they were 6 months prior…????? We are still making payments for the hospital visit and all the tests.

    We decided to try and find something natural. He started taking Curamin, Nattokinase, and increasing his intake of clean, pure water up to 3 quarts, and putting Organic Cayenne Pepper on most everything for better circulation and healing of those veins. He had success right away, within a week the swelling went down a bit and a bit longer the pain went away. When the Nattokinase ran out and we thought we were done (since Christmas, almost 3 months). Within a week of his finishing the Nattokinase, his left leg began to hurt and swell again. The swelling seemed to go down a bit as soon as he started back on Nattokinase but the pain (now in the calf area as soon as he LOWERS his leg, even before he puts any weight on it…?) is EXTREME. We added Cod Liver Oil and a parasite cleanse and now just started using a “Castor Oil Pack” (cayenne, mustard and ginger root powders mixed in the oil and then wrap the areas with Saran Wrap) around his leg and stomach area.

    ANY other suggestions?

    THANK YOU SO, SO, SO much for ALL your help,

    By the way, we also listen to you on the way to church on Sunday mornings. We appreciate YOU.

    • Terry says:

      Dear Lori,

      Stay with the nattokinase. Add 300-400 mg of magnesium bisglycinate with P-5-P, and 200-300 mg of grape seed extract standardized at 95%.

      Time is the most important element. Be patient.

      Healthy regards,

      Terry’s Radio Show:
      Listen Live or On Demand

  3. Dave Stoller says:

    What about those “two” baked potatoes that are served with every perch plate at the Red Wood Inn up in Green Bay? It is hard to cut all the bad stuff out when we are bombarded with this non-food food all day long. And the food industry should be behind bars for destroying the health of the American public. Next, throw in the liquor and beer industry that has half the population addicted to their poisons. I am one of them and fighting my addition to alcohol. But Wisconsin is swimming in alcohol. Even out here in Colorado, drinking is the major pass time for so many. We are doomed unless there is a Renaissance from the corporate thugs and they see what they are doing to us. But I don’t expect that to have.
    Thanks for fighting the good fight to protect us from the enemies of our health.

  4. I enjoyed reading your colum, I’m always looking for a healthier life style. I have been trying to shed pounds for a year now. I have lost 15lbs. since I started. I exercise usually six days a week at least 3 hrs. each session. I need to lose 15lbs. more . Its mostly around my mid section, do you have any ideas that could help ( for health reasons i have to lose this weight. Thank-you

  5. Vicky says:

    What about corn and peanut products? All contaminated. Grains too. My husband and I are on Phase I diet to remove fungus in our body and corn is contaminated with round up and peanut products like mushrooms are fungi and grains are stored in those silos and become moldy etc. They are not on our diet either. Go to Doug Kaufmann
    website. Thank you Vicky PS I read all your emails you send and forward them to family and friends.

  6. Ingrid H Fulton says:

    You know in Europe, Germany there is a saying:”Show me the bread of a society, and I will tell you how healthy it is.” I never ate the American white bread. It is a shame that manufatures get away with advertizing suggarcoded cerials and cornproducts as harmless even healthfood, i.e they have fiber etc etc. We always ate the German diet, my son adopted it and he is 45 years old now, he never had a cavity in his mouth. I love your presentations Ingrid

    • Terry says:

      Dear Ingrid,

      I rarely eat bread but when I’m in Europe, and particularly Germany, I make an exception. I love the dark, heavy bread of Germany filled with grains and seeds with as much butter as I can get on a slice of bread. The bread here in the U.S. is tasteless and as useful as wall paper glue.

      Healthy regards,

      Terry’s Radio Show:
      Listen Live or On Demand

  7. susan says:

    good info and true – when i try to warn people about acrylamides they just glaze over – dont want to hear or know about it – all of the children are getting allergies asthma autoimmune disease so sad and we are doing it to ourselves with the food, not to mention mis/overuse of antibiotics, vaccines, pollution of air and water

    • Terry says:

      Dear Susan,

      It’s amazing how poor the quality of our food is, and then to add insult to injury, chemicals are either used in the manufacturing of the food and/or they add more color chemicals and preservatives. Support your local farmers particularly when they are chemical free.

      Healthy regards,

      Terry’s Radio Show:
      Listen Live or On Demand

  8. JohnMckeehan says:

    Terry: I can remenber growing up on the farm, when we grew, or raised most of the food we ate.raised our own chickens,hogs, beef,and then put in freezer,canned, etc. but then nobody new much about nutrition. Except grandparent say; eat this good for you.Cause we go to store,and get the processed stuff,to finish the product,which would take away from the % of organic stuff.

    • Terry says:

      Dear John,

      Alleluia! You are absolutely right. We need to back up our food choices by about 70 years. Forget about the price, taste and convenience, and go back to what our grandparents and great grandparents ate, and the doctor can go begging for his supper.

      Healthy regards,

      Terry’s Radio Show:
      Listen Live or On Demand

  9. Judy Olsen says:

    What about purple,blue, gold or other potatoes that are not just white?

    • Terry says:

      Dear Judy,

      Different colored potatoes are an improvement over white russet potatoes. But, after you cut open a colored potato, it is still white. The only potato I recommend is a yam or sweet potato.

      Healthy regards,

      Terry’s Radio Show:
      Listen Live or On Demand

  10. Ryan says:

    While I like your list, most margarines are not made with hydrogenated oils any longer, the product which creates trans-fat.

    • Terry says:

      Dear Ryan,

      There are still some margarines that have hydrogenated oils. However, whatever is available out there as margarine can never measure up to good old butter. Why are we always looking for something new when nature has always provided the best?

      Healthy regards,

      Terry’s Radio Show:
      Listen Live or On Demand

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