Top 10 Foods to Avoid for a Long and Healthy Life

In this video, Dr. Sten Ekberg discusses the top 10 foods that should be avoided for a long and healthy life. He begins with sugar, explaining that it is high in empty calories and can lead to overeating and insulin resistance. He also highlights the negative effects of fructose, which can cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Dr. Ekberg believes that a small amount of sugar is okay for metabolically healthy individuals, but consuming large amounts can be detrimental to health. He also mentions the importance of avoiding highly processed plant oils, margarine, fried foods, artificial sweeteners, low-fat dairy, modern wheat, cereals, and processed foods in general. Dr. Ekberg emphasizes the need to focus on whole, minimally processed foods for optimal health.

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Key Insights:

  • Sugar is empty calories, raises blood glucose levels, and causes insulin resistance and fatty liver disease.
  • Fructose, found in sugar, causes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and overwhelms the liver.
  • Moderate sugar consumption depends on an individual’s metabolic health and ability to control cravings.
  • Blue zones have common factors for longevity, including natural movement, purpose, downshifting, moderation, plant-based eating, wine consumption, strong faith and community.
  • Avoid highly processed plant oils, such as soybean, corn, and canola oil.
  • Margarine contains trans fats, which are harmful to health and are not easily metabolized.
  • Fried foods, especially those using plant oils, can increase inflammation and oxidative stress.
  • Modern wheat may cause digestive upsets and inflammation due to changes in its composition.
  • Diet soda and artificial sweeteners can be detrimental to health and are found in many processed products.
  • Low-fat dairy is often pasteurized, lacks beneficial enzymes, and can cause digestive issues.
  • Cereals, especially highly processed varieties, can be high in sugar and quickly elevate blood sugar levels.
  • Processed foods, including fast foods, contain high sugar, wheat, and often artificial ingredients.
  • When eating out, choose whole foods, avoid deep-fried items, and be cautious of added sugars and highly processed ingredients.


Hello Health Champions. Today we’re going to talk about the top 10 foods you absolutely do not want to eat if you want to have a long and healthy life and these are in no particular order but we’re going to jump straight in and number one would be sugar on this list and there’s so many things wrong with sugar I can’t cover them all but for one thing it’s empty calories meaning if you get calories but no real nutrition you will tend to overeat secondly it raises glucose blood glucose because 50 percent of sugar is glucose and when blood glucose goes up it also triggers insulin if we eat a lot of this a long time for regular time then we will tend to develop insulin resistance so that’s the first half of insulin resistance the second part most people don’t realize but half of sugar is fructose and fructose doesn’t raise blood sugar per se but fructose causes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and there are two things that humans consume that clog up the liver that overwhelm the liver one is alcohol and the other is fructose so there’s no other tissue in the body that can process and break down alcohol and fructose so if you eat 100 grams of food then you can spread that food food out evenly over all of the body cells if it is fat or glucose or protein but alcohol and fructose have to be going through the liver and if you weigh 200 pounds and you have a three pound liver then the potential to overwhelm the liver is about 70 times greater with alcohol and fructose than it is with other sources of calories so this is why we want to avoid fructose so much and why sugar acts to create insulin resistance in two different ways by raising blood sugar and by causing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and it’s kind of ironic that it’s become this way because sugar is one of the most natural molecules that there is it’s there’s a little bit in almost every form of food that we eat the problem is that we’re eating way way way too much so if you are metabolically healthy if you don’t have a condition you don’t have a disease and you’re at your ideal weight you can probably eat 10 to 20 grams per day and be totally fine which is what humans have done for several hundred years until the very last century here when it’s been increasing dramatically the guidelines say about 50 grams per day and I believe that is way way too much and once we get up to over a hundred gram which is the average of which people actually eat then that is a pure disaster that’s causing the epidemic of degenerative disease and metabolic disease that we’re facing today so most diseases actually caused by sugar and by the fact that we eat so much even though it is a natural molecule and a tiny tiny amount should be okay in theory if we start eating a lot then it’s a disaster but what about moderation can you eat a little bit and be fine and the answer is it’s different for different people it’s going to work for some people like I said if you’re healthy and you’re metabolically fine and you can have a teaspoon or two or three to throughout the day and it doesn’t trigger any other Cravings or overeating then you’re probably fine but for a lot of people sugar is like alcohol to an alcoholic that if you have just a little bit it sets off it spins out of control and you got to have more and more and more so if that’s the case then you have to be honest with yourself and you probably need to cut it out entirely but then there’s always these people who watch some videos and then they come back and comment and they say oh that’s too extreme that’s not how it works and they tell me about their grandparents or some relative who my grandpa lived to be a hundred and five and he never took care of himself he never exercised he ate red meat bacon and eggs and all the things that are supposed to be bad for you but not really and he ate sugar and he smoked and he drank so out of this list it’s really the smoking is probably the worst and the sugar would be second and drinking is all right in moderation the red meat the bacon and the eggs are totally fine if they are raised in a healthy and natural way if the animal was healthy and you didn’t add a bunch of sugar or chemicals then there’s nothing wrong with these foods but again people give these examples and they point out that some people live for a long long time despite not really taking good care of themselves so first of all these people have excellent genetics but then we also have to ask is it really the food that is doing it or is it the fact that they despite eating this food they did not develop any metabolic or inflammatory condition because that’s really what this is all about that if you can eat these things and not have any major metabolic or inflammatory problem then that’s not going to shorten your life significantly and also when our grandparents grew up the notion of moderation was completely different so if they had a soda there might have been a six ounce soda twice a week not two gallons a week or a six pack every couple of days so moderation is something that has changed over time and also our grandparents didn’t have access to nearly the amount of processed food and sugar and they weren’t exposed to as many chemicals as we are either through preservatives and environmental pollutions we have to keep all of those things in mind so as we talk about these foods to live longer we want to keep in mind what the goal is because what Acts actually shortens life is metabolic disease non-alcoholic fatty liver disease so if we can reduce metabolic disease if we can reduce inflammation if we can reduce oxidative stress and toxicity then that is where we can be healthy and live a longer life and metabolic disease have to do with sugar and carbohydrates that drive insulin caused as fatty liver that clogs up the body that causes overeating and inflammation is partly caused by metabolic disease but there are other things as well so if people have a sensitivity people have allergies that also drives inflammation and if you have an inflammatory condition in your gut if you have a leaky gut if you have poor microbiome then that can also increase inflammation so we want to reduce that oxidative stress are things like emotional stress can contribute to that but it’s primarily things like smoking and chemicals in our environment that are going to cause the oxidative stress and then there’s other forms of toxicity like pesticides and environmental pollution and why we want to avoid those is because they drive all the major diseases we call these things different conditions like type 2 diabetes cardiovascular disease stroke and cancer but they really fall very much under the same umbrella which are driven by metabolic disease inflammation oxidative stress and toxicity it’s metabolic syndrome and toxicity that really drive all of this so food can have a lot to do with that but and we will talk about food but we also have to realize that there are many other factors as well that we can’t just look at our people our grandpa who lives to be a hundred and say that this is what he did we have to look at the bigger picture so they have determined there are certain areas in the world called Blue zones and these are areas where people on average live longer they live a few years extra over the most other countries but also they have a higher number higher percentage of people who reach a hundred years old and here’s what they have found now a lot of times people tell me that oh you shouldn’t eat red meat because the people in the blue zones are vegetarians and no they’re not but more more than that we want to look at what are the other factors just so we get the bigger picture so the things they have in common all these areas is that they move naturally it’s part of their lifestyle is to constantly keep moving whether it’s agriculture or they’re just walking or doing things they’re moving throughout the day they don’t have to go to the gym they don’t have to pump iron but they constantly move they take thousands and thousands and thousands of steps and move through a range of motion through the day they also have a purpose it doesn’t necessarily mean to be a CEO or make millions but within their communities they have a purpose they also know how to downshift they know how to work and then how to stop working and relaxing and winding down something that a lot of modern people have lost that ability four they eat in moderation mostly because they traditionally they didn’t have a whole lot of food but also because they stick to Whole Food that helps regulate their appetite much better number five they eat mostly plant-based because again plants are what they grew and that’s what was available and I believe that we should eat a lot of plant food but I also think that it doesn’t mean that we can’t eat meat what it really comes down to is that we want to eat the quality of food it’s not so much do we eat grain or potatoes or meat or fish it’s the quality of those things and to what degree we process and Destroy them that matters number six they drink wine they drink regular and in moderation most days because wine is a part of their culture it’s the beverage for the meal so they have one or two glasses but they don’t drink to excess they also have typically a strong faith and a strong community that they’re part of with that faith and they keep family together so their parents and their grandparents typically stay in the same household for a lifetime which keeps them very tight-knit and very close together they have a social network in addition to all these different things they’re very strong social networks that keep them engaged and of course you have to on top of that if you want to reach 100 you have to also win the genetic Lottery but I’m going through this list because I want to point out that we talk so much about these people being vegetarians or meat eaters but in fact there’s only two items here that have to do with food and even there it’s not whether you eat plants or meat it’s about the quality and moderation and the balance of Life as a whole and the second food you want to avoid is plant oils and here I get a lot of comments also because people say well you promote olive oil and coconut oil and then you say plant oils are bad so we have to understand the difference there as well that the ones to avoid are soybean corn canola which is sometimes called rapeseed these are plants but they’re very very high in omega-6s and they’re very very highly processed they’re processed with tremendous heat with a lot of pressure and sometimes even chemicals and solvents to get the oil out of these grains and seeds and legumes Etc so it’s not all plant oils it’s how harshly do we have to process them to get the oils out and that’s the the real issue very highly processed that makes them Ox that causes oxidative stress so on the other hand extra virgin olive oil coconut oil palm oil are totally fine because they are very very high they’re kind of soft fruits soft plants and they’re very high in fat so you don’t have to apply tremendous pressure and heat you can just squeeze a little bit and out comes the oil and people also often ask about the palm oil because there’s a lot of controversy around that and palm oil is totally fine what’s not fine is when they produce it there’s a lot of talk about deforestation and child labor and things like that so that’s not the Palm oil’s fault that’s just greedy or or uninformed humans who produce it that way but palm oil in itself is fine and make sure that you get a sustainable palm oil if you’re going to use that so extra virgin olive oil is mostly monounsaturated coconut oil is mostly saturated and palm oil is about half and half so they use these in different types of foods and if different products when they’re looking for certain properties but the key again is not whether it’s monounsaturated or saturated that really doesn’t matter as far as health goes what matters is that they’re minimally processed the third thing you want to avoid like the plague is margarine so everything we said was wrong with the harshly processed plant oils still holds true for margarine because that’s the kind of oil they use but then they abuse it a little further and they do something called partial hydrogenation which means they bombard it with hydrogens and in doing that they create something called trans fat which is still unsaturated but it behaves a lot like a saturated fat and here’s how that works so if you have a fatty acid and we’re getting at just a tiny bit technical but I’m going to keep it simple I’m going to tie it together and you’ll understand exactly why I’m telling you this so there are carbons in a long chain and on each side of the carbons we attach two hydrogens and if they’re two hydrogens it’s called fully saturated and then we have two three four five six seven eight nine and it goes on and when it’s fully saturated we have hydrogens all the way however when something is unsaturated now we have carbons with a double bond between them so here there’s just one bond between the carbons if there’s two bonds now there’s not room there’s not enough connections to put hydrogens on all the carbons so now instead of two hydrogens we only have one and here is when the hydrogens are on the same side this is called CIS that’s just a chemical notation meaning that they’re on the same side and what happens when they’re on the same side is they push each other apart and we get a bent molecule so this instead of being straight we get to the double bond and now that molecule is bent so when it’s unsaturated it is more liquid in room temperature and that’s the difference between oils and solid fats but when we create this artificial this industrial version of hydrogenation then we keep the double bond but what happens is the hydrogens end up on opposite sides so what that means is the molecule is still straight so we have a partially unsaturated molecule so it should be bent but it’s not anymore it’s straight and the problem here is we don’t have enzymes to break this down this is a man-made fat it’s a Franken food we have no way of dealing with this at all and fortunately they have realized the trans fats are really really bad but people still want to continue to do this manufacturers love to do this because it’s cheap they can use really cheap raw materials there’s very little waste because once they hydrogenate it the products become shelf stable they give them certain texture properties they’re looking for and it can stay on the shelf for a long long time so it saves them money so they want to use these things and therefore they go to Every trick in the book when they can and very often you’ll see products that are called trans fat free and I’ve even seen ridiculous things like trans fat free per serving what does that mean either it is trans fat free or it isn’t right no they reduce it they reduce the serving size to the point where the trans fats are less than 0.5 grams per serving because now they can round it down to zero so if it has 0.49999999 then they can write trans fat free or trans fat free per serving and it might still have 10 percent trans fats so just be aware of that manufacturers are getting better but there’s still some that like to deceive you and the other thing that we want to understand is about natural trans fats because whenever I talk about trans fats being so bad then some people say well meat must be really bad then because there are natural trans fats in meat and if we look at it then these bonds these connections they do look the same there’s going to be a double bond two carbons and we’re going to have hydrogens on opposite sides the difference is that when Nature makes it then it puts it in a different place so the industrial production keeps this double bond at the ninth carbon whereas nature puts it on the 11th and now you’re wondering do I really need all this technical detail and you don’t really but I’m telling you this so that you understand that nature makes it a different way so it may not seem like a big deal if this is on the ninth or the 11th carbon but it makes all the difference because if Nature Made it it’s been around for hundreds of thousands of years and we have the enzymes to break it down when industry when science does something and they move it just a couple of carbons we don’t have the enzymes anymore now it’s a Franken food it’s completely foreign so even though they look very very similar Nature has one way of doing it that works and when we start meddling and messing with it we create things that don’t work but like I said fortunately people are becoming more aware so they are moving away from the blatant abuse of hydrogenation and one way to do it a little better is to do something called fully hydrogenated so now they don’t just bombard it with a little heat and some hydrogens till they get this trans bond they keep bombarding it until it’s fully saturated until it has no double bonds left so now there is no more trans fat the question though that I would want to ask is how sure are we that they can complete that because if they don’t complete the saturation then we’re still going to have these trans fat bonds and the other question is that why would you even want synthetic food why would you want to eat something that is fully hydrogenated even if it looks better on paper than regular margarine why not just eat butter or coconut oil or olive oil some of these wonderful flavorful foods that nature has provided for us why do we think that we have to go and make something that is semi-plastic just because it satisfies a few more criteria I think in my mind the choice is pretty clear and by the way I actually really love science we just need to keep it out of the food supply that’s all so the next one number four is going to be fried foods and everything we said about the plant oils and the hydrogenation now still holds true with fried food except now it gets even worse again we use the plant oils a lot of these frying foods are still going to be partially hydrogenated because it makes the oils keep longer and now in addition to those problems though now they use high heat and they reuse it so now the high heat is going to oxidize and Destroy these oils even further and now if they did it once it would be bad enough but when they use it all day long and they just keep going keep going batch after batch now it gets more and more rancid and more and more destroyed so a lot of times when we talk about longevity and living longer too much of the focus I think is on lifespan and I want to contrast that with health span so we really understand what we’re talking about and what the stakes are so we do know that you can live longer by eating right but that’s not still the big deal we know that a properly managed diabetic for example someone who has Type 2 diabetes who takes all their medication they take their metformin and their insulin they will probably live on average 10 years shorter than if they didn’t have the diabetes and that’s that’s still 10 years but it may not seem like that huge deal however then you weigh in the fact that the cost of maintaining this diabetes and the additional health problems that this person is going to have is going to run in the millions per person and then they’re probably going to have some joint pain and some immobility and if they’re overweight then that’s going to add insult to injury on that they probably will have some reduction in Vision they probably have some lessened kidney function over the years maybe they’ll even have some neuropathy and end up with amputations and wheelchairs Etc even if it’s not that bad they probably will have less energy they’ll have more brain fog Etc because of this and that’s a well-managed that the person who does what they’re told so the biggest problem here is not just that you live shorter it’s that you have such a dramatically decreased quality of life compared to what it could be so when people say that we live longer Medical Science has helped us live longer then I’m all in favor of saving lives and and progress in various ways but all we’re really doing is we’re not necessarily living longer but we’re dying longer we I think that we’re supposed to live to 80 90 100 maybe longer and one day just be done and not wake up we’re not supposed to have 30 40 years where we’re being managed where we control symptoms where we can’t do the things that we love to do so what I believe is that by eating right then you will increase your health span by as much as 30 to 40 years instead of starting to degenerate and not be able to do the things you want to do from age 40 45 50 you should be able to have a full quality of life into your 80s and even 90s food number five is modern wheat so grains and especially wheat is responsible for human civilization we wouldn’t be where we are if it wasn’t for wheat it has helped us develop societies and culture and so forth the problem is wheat has changed and a lot of people they’ll ask well is wheat GMO and no it’s not really there’s like one country I think Argentina has allowed GMO wheat but then there’s some legal problems that they may not even be able to push it through but even if it’s not GMO because GMO is genetically modified and back when they started developing all these different strains they didn’t really have that technology but it didn’t mean that wheat isn’t a Franken food just from recombining and messing with it so hundreds of thousands of years ago there was one type of wheat it was called iron corn and then it took tens of thousands of years and we had two and then three but until the last 50 60 70 years or so when they really started recombining and playing with these genetic quickly there was a handful and now there are tens of thousands of different types of Wheat and in developing all that wheat and all these different types they were not concerned at all with human health whether humans could digest this what would happen to the digestive tract if you put it in all they were concerned with was is it resistant to weather is it resistant to Drought is it resistant to strong winds Etc and what is the yield per acre and maybe the third thing was can you bake white fluffy bread with it and not these flat heavy things so Health was not a concern at all any step of the way and as a result wheat modern wheat is the most common sensitivity that we find in a clinic when we try to get people checked on food sensitivities and what they can tolerate wheat is the absolute most common sensitivity and it’s also the most common reason for Digestive upsets and whenever you have digestive upsets and sensitivities now you create inflammation and a lot of people miss this because they’ve heard of celiac they know that celiac is increasing in numbers and they know that people with celiac they get terrible digestive upsets but they figure hey if I don’t have celiac then I’m fine and that’s not true that there’s this whole range of of sensitivities where celiac is the extreme but most people do not tolerate modern wheat very well number six is diet soda and the artificial sweeteners that they put in there now don’t confuse this with things that are sweetened with stevia and monk fruit those are generally good products but when they use sucralose and aspartame and acesulfame potassium and saccharin these are basically pesticides and they have no place in human biology so all these artificial sweeteners that they use are very detrimental to health another place you find artificial sweeteners now is chewing gum and it used to be that you had sugary gum and you had sugar-free gum that’s not true anymore because they found that the flavor lasted longer with the artificial sweeteners that whenever you had sugar you chewed on it and the flavor went away so now they put the artificial sweeteners in on top of the sugar so it doesn’t matter which gum you buy you’re going to get artificial sweeteners either way now there are some Niche brands that use Xylitol or other sugar alcohols and those would be much preferred but that flavor lasts for like milliseconds you chew a couple times and the flavor is gone so most people don’t go that route but realize that no matter what commercial gum you’re buying you’re going to get the artificial sweeteners check the labels if you don’t believe me but it’s not just chewing gum and diet soda this stuff is making its way into thousands and thousands of different products so low calorie desserts low calorie yogurt low-fat yogurts they know that people don’t want the sugar anymore so they start putting this artificial stuff in there instead and if you go on a cruise for example they have this huge buffets these huge tables with with food and with desserts and you have to be really careful because any all of the low calorie desserts are basically going to have this nasty stuff that artificial sweeteners in them and this is becoming more and more of a problem as people are becoming more aware of the low carb lifestyle they know that Sugar causes all these problems but they don’t want to give up they still have their sweet tooth so now we’re finding these artificial things in more and more products number seven is low-fat Dairy and the biggest problem here is that it’s after wheat it’s the most common sensitivity it’s the most common thing that upsets the digestive tract and causes inflammation in different people and one of the big problems is that it’s pasteurized so they kill off all the bacteria that would help you digest it all the bacteria and enzymes in there and the more processed the dairy is the worse it is now basically the fat in Dairy is the best part that if you eat the the full fat the high fat there you’re usually going to be okay if you eat the cream and the sour cream especially when they’re fermented like sour cream and yogurt you put the bacteria and the enzymes back in now the vast majority people can tolerate it and people are also usually okay with cheese and other high fat products but you want to stay away from the low-fat Dairy because that’s where most people get their problems number eight on the list is cereal and for some reason huge parts of the world have decided that cereal is the only thing that you can eat for breakfast so either you when you cut it out people ask what do you eat instead well you can eat eggs and bacon and sausage you can have a full-fat yogurt with some nuts on it or you can just skip breakfast all together that’s called intermittent fasting and I’ve done lots of videos on that but some of these cereals are worse than others so instant oats for example has a glycemic index of 83 it is absorbed in your bloodstream almost exactly as fast as pure glucose which is a hundred this is faster even than table sugar so what that does it’s a highly processed food and the more they process it the more they increase the surface area so you enzymes and your digestive juices can get to it and break it down fast and get that sugar into your bloodstream if I’m not saying that oats are the worst thing on the planet so if you have a good metabolism and you like the oats then if you do the steel-cut oats that’s completely different it’s still a high glycemic index compared to eggs and sausage or an omelet but it’s significantly less than than the highly processed instant oats but out of the cereals the oats are probably the least harmful the least atrocious so a lot of people they give the kids cereals to their kids or they eat them themselves because they’re sugar addict so if you like your children at all just don’t get them the kids cereals there’s so many things wrong it’s grain it’s processed it’s synthetic it’s artificial colors it’s tons and tons of sugar again it’s almost like donuts you you couldn’t try to make a a worse food really it’s got everything that you don’t want in a food number nine is processed foods in general and now we’re starting to see now that you know the other items on the list and why you don’t want them you realize that a lot of processed foods are going to be based on sugar they’re going to be based on wheat and it’s going to be the processed wheat that is very high starch that raises blood sugar that is they’ve increased again the surface area when they chop it up then your enzymes can get to it and and you digest it super fast and it jacks up your blood sugar but that’s not the end of it they also put in preservatives and chemicals and artificial flavors and artificial colors and when they do all this processing also they deplete nutrients so they’re empty calories and pretty much as bad are fast foods because here you’re still getting a lot of sugar you’re getting the wheat you’re getting the high starch and when they cook these things very often in the dressings they’ll use these highly harshly processed plant oils if you get the fries or if you get various different fast foods a lot of it they’re going to deep fry so again a lot of these bad items we’ve talked about they just repeat and come back and over and over again and when I say fast food those are like the chains that what we consider fast food but also realize that a lot of restaurant food is not a whole lot better so you want to think about how do they prepare the food so if you get a steak and a baked potato or you get a salad or something that’s okay it’s better obviously if you get a grass-fed steak but even so once in a while it’s not going to kill you but be aware of the types of oils are they frying everything are they using tons of sugar so when you eat out what I focus on is I try to get steak I try to get salads there’s a lot of these restaurants where they make burrito wraps where you can actually get a salad with the with the beans and the onions and the steak and so forth and that’s actually really good food you can get some salsa with it and chipotle is one of them there’s several others like Moe’s and Willies I don’t want to favor anybody but think about how they make it and what are the the raw materials in here another thing I go for is Thai food and Mexican because it’s one of the few places that you can eat a meal and not spend a fortune and it is dairy free and wheat free so with Mexican obviously you want to go either for the corn tortillas or cut out the tortillas completely and with Thai food you want to go easy on the rice but they use coconut they use natural fats and much much less processing their food is based on on whole food ingredients if you enjoyed this video you’re going to love that one and if you truly want to master Health by understanding how the body really works make sure you subscribe hit that Bell and turn on all the notifications so you never miss a life-saving video