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Don't Invite This Guy to Your Holiday Party

Sometimes you've gotta wonder about publicists. There's a no-nonsense book about eating healthy that would be perfect for a January PR blitz... but they're trying to drum up publicity for it now, right smack dab during the holidays. I dunno about anybody else, but telling me not to eat a Christmas cookie or to stay away from a bowl of peppermint stick ice cream because they're full of empty calories is kind of missing the whole point of holiday snacking.

But, in the spirit of the season, here's a list of the "four foul foods" compiled by Dr. David Ostreicher (he's a dentist), author of Brush Your Teeth and Other Simple Ways to Stay Young and Healthy. I do need to point out that after you strike these four foods off your list, about all that's left is cauliflower. But if you can be festive with cauliflower, I suppose you can be festive with anything. Or you can do what I'll do -- refer back to this list on January 2nd.

Salt "Salt raises your blood pressure and can lead to heart attacks and strokes," Ostreicher says. "It has also been linked to cancers of the stomach and esophagus. Throw out your salt shaker. You don't need to add any salt to your food. Salt is not the only spice. We should all make much better use of pepper or other spices. When cooking, leave out the salt, or cut the amount in half. After a period of time, your sensitivity to salt will change. Your taste buds will accommodate to the normal salt diet, and soon you will find you don't need it anymore."

Sugar - Ostreicher believes we eat way too much sugar, and the wrong kinds of it. "Whether it's in the form of table sugar (from sugar cane or sugar beets), or high fructose corn syrup, the average American eats about three pounds of sugar a week," he says.

Calories Those three pounds of sugar are equal to 3,312 empty calories per week. "No vitamins, minerals, fiber just 3,212 calories," he says. "That will convert to 4 pounds of fat per month. No wonder obesity in America is epidemic."

Fat The last of the Foul Four on Ostreicher's hit list is fat. "Fat is another endless supply of calories," he says. "USDA 'Dietary guidelines for Americans' says we should limit total fat to 20% to 35% of our RDA for calories. Most Americans get more than that. Fat, especially the "bad" fats (saturated and trans) are linked to obesity, heart attacks and cancer."

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