Most of us think that as long as we minimize drinking alcohol and refrain from smoking, our chances of developing major diseases and requiring emergency medical attention is smaller. Coupling this scheme with eating sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables and engaging in regular exercise may also enhance good health. However, a recent report published in the journal Nutrients showed that a number of common food items may increase the risk of disease and may actually be deadly foods.
The Bellagio Report is a compilation of information gathered from a meeting attended by various nutrition groups in the United States and Europe, as well as members agencies of the United Nations, such as the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). This meeting focused on identifying the most current research findings relating to good health. The attendees were mostly concerned about food schemes that may promote good health, as well as identifying common deadly foods in the market. After identifying and discussing these deadly foods, the international meeting then translated all the gather information into intervention schemes that would decrease the chances of consumers needing emergency medical treatment based on the effects of these harmful food items.
One of the major deadly foods identified in the Bellagio Report is sugar, in the form of fructose. Fructose is more commonly known as the sugar naturally present in fruits and vegetables. There are currently a growing number of reports concerning fructose intake, including the increased risk of developing fatty liver, which may eventually lead to liver cirrhosis. Fructose from fruits has also been associated with elevated triglyceride levels in blood, which may result in various cardiovascular diseases, as well as insulin resistance, which may lead to diabetes. Fructose has also been linked to increased appetite, resulting in obesity. Although these outcomes are not considered as emergency medical conditions, these effects may influence the incidence of disease in society, equal to the effects of smoking and drinking.
Added sugar is another harmful food item identified in the Bellagio report; added sugar is often used by food manufacturers in the production of common products such as cereal, sodas, cookies, and snacks. This food item has long been considered to influence elevated caloric intake, often resulting in the development of cardiovascular and liver diseases, and increase the risk for obesity and diabetes. The Bellagio meeting recommends that the consumption of added sugars may cause emergency and non-emergency medical issues in children, since this specific age group consumes more of these types of food items, including sodas and high-energy drinks. To maintain good health, the meeting concluded that not more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar be consumed each day.
Another group of harmful food items identified at the meeting involve those containing omega-6 fatty acids, which are commonly found in corn oil and sunflower oils used in cooking. The Bellagio meeting discussed that these items may cause non-emergency yet severe medical conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, as well as breast and prostate cancer. The Bellagio consortium is recommending that olive oil and hazelnut oil be used instead for cooking meals to promote good health.
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The recent Bellagio report provides an extensive review of the most common food items that may be harmful to human health. The meeting has identified specific common products that we earlier considered as safe and healthy. Based on the information gathered from this meeting, it may be possible to reduce the occurrence of emergency and non-emergency medical conditions and improve our general health