Six foods that could be fuelling heart disease

This Morning: Dr Chris discusses heart disease

Processed foods help bridge the gap between comfort eating and the lack of time, while delivering pleasant taste. This tempting combination, found on every supermarket shelf, means that Western diets often leave little room for healthy cooking. However, two doctors have warned that this lifestyle fuels heart disease. Fortunately, the experts shared which foods to “avoid or limit”.

From shiny bags of crips to hearty ready-made meals hiding at every grocery store corner, it’s not always possible to eliminate problematic foods, so moderation and portion control are key, according to the cardiologists.

Speaking to TODAY, Dr Sharonne Hayes, a cardiologist based at the Women’s Heart Clinic in Minnesota, US, said: “There isn’t a food that will save your life.

“And there isn’t one that’s going to kill you, it is about balance.

“So the occasional cheesecake isn’t going to kill you, but it really is what you eat and how much you eat that’s so critical.”

Dr Sharonne and fellow cardiologist Dr Andrew Freeman, who works at National Jewish Health in Colorado, US, have shared some of the key foods they try to avoid or limit for optimal health.

Sausages and bacon

Whether you get a bacon sarnie on the go or tuck into warming bangers and mash, processed meats are very popular with many Britons.

Apart from the comforting flavour, the foods are also packed with calories, saturated fats, salt and additives like nitrates.

Worryingly, all of these ingredients are a recipe for heart problems, according to the cardiologists.

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What’s worse, Dr Andrew even warned that processed meats have been linked to a higher risk of cancer.


“Our culture values convenience, which is great, but convenience doesn’t mean you have to eat packaged processed foods with added sugars and salt,” Dr Andrew said.

High Blood Pressure UK explains that high salt consumption is the single biggest cause of high blood pressure, which can lay the groundwork for serious health problems like heart disease.

Therefore, the doctor recommended steering clear of small bags of salty, crunchy processed carbs that you might find in vending machines.


While it’s fine to enjoy the occasional sugary treat, you should keep your consumption of puddings to a minimum.

Dr Sharonne said she indulges once a week at most and keeps her portion small to limit calories. 

Eating too much sugar can contribute to weight gain and being overweight, which can hike your risk of health problems such as heart disease, some cancers and type 2 diabetes.

Too much protein

Protein is a key nutrient that many don’t get enough of but having too much could also be harmful.

Dr Andrew said: “It’s not uncommon to see people getting two times as much protein as they may need in a day and that taxes the kidneys and may cause more problems down the road.”

Furthermore, a recent study found men who consumed a high-protein diet had a 33 percent higher risk of heart failure.

Many people also consume protein mainly from meat that is often high in saturated fats, which may raise your cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart disease.

The doctors advised not to overdo it and opt for plant protein instead. Two portions of meat, fish, nuts or tofu per day should do the trick.


Energy drinks

Dr Andrew said he avoids energy drinks at all costs because research has suggested that the combination of sugar and caffeine found in the beverages can trigger health problems like high blood pressure or arrhythmias.

The good news is that caffeine from tea or coffee in moderation could be quite healthy.

Coconut oil

With no distinct flavour and aroma, this fat is often labelled as a healthier alternative without compromising the taste.

However, coconut oil is packed with high levels of saturated fat, which could raise your levels of “bad” cholesterol.

Dr Andrew concluded that people can keep using it as a moisturiser but not in the kitchen.

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