MINNEAPOLIS - Most Americans don't need a study to tell them bacon and soda are bad for you, but a new study recommends eliminating them from our diets entirely due to their links to heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Research from Tufts University found that overeating several "Bad" foods, while not eating enough specific "good" foods like nuts and fish, contributes to nearly half of US deaths from these causes.
The research was based on 2012 U.S. government data which found about 700,000 deaths from heart disease, strokes and diabetes. It also studied and analyzed national health surveys that asked participants about their eating habits.
Researchers found that most people didn't eat the recommended amounts of 10 "good" and "bad" foods. The study found diets lacking in nuts and seeds, salmon and other seafood containing omega-3 fats, fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Instead, researchers found people eating too much salt, processed meats like bacon and hot dogs, red meat and sugary drinks.
The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, claimed those "good" "bad" ingredients contributed to about 45 percent of those heart, stroke and diabetes deaths.
Though the research suggests eliminating sugary drinks and processed meats, Mellissa Horning, a Registered Nurse and PhD at the U of M School of Nursing says you shouldn't try to cut too much too quickly.
"Assess how much bacon you're eating," Horning said. "If you're eating bacon every single day, think about what you could do to decrease that right. Maybe it's not going cold turkey on the bacon."
Though she says there's no question bacon is unhealthy, Horning says giving up anything completely can be self defeating.
"If you decide tomorrow that you're going to do all of the things that this study recommended, you're going to find that you're really exhausted," Horning said. "That it's really overwhelming and the reality is, it's not going to be as sustainable."
Instead, she says focus on eating more of the "good" stuff. Try to incorporate more fruits and veggies, especially during snacks. Gravitate to nuts and fish that have healthier fat than red meat. Try to avoid deli meats, and if you can't, try to find products that have a short ingredients list.
"You get to the end it's like, 'Oh, there's sodium nitrate and potassium chloride and so those are the (bad) things that you can find in processed lunch meats," Horning said.
She says you should think of drinks the same way, the fewer the ingredients the better. Try to stick with water while avoiding sodas and most juices.
"Added sugar is something no one really needs more of," Horning said. "The moral of the story is, try to eat a well-balanced, varied diet."