Labor Day is approaching, and so is the parade of end-of-summer barbecues and backyard cookouts. Party favorites like grilled burgers, creative dips, and hot dogs will be your go-tos, but you may want to reconsider your menu. Not that these foods are distasteful to serve, but they may not be a great choice if you’re expecting health-conscious guests. We asked medical doctors (and a dentist) from around the world to share with us which party foods they won’t touch and why.
To start with, make sure you’re not ruining everyone’s diet with overindulgent condiments. “Flavored dipping sauces, such as ranch, cheese, and buffalo sauces, are full of unhealthy preservatives, sugars, and huge amounts of fat,” Dr. David Greuner, top cardiovascular surgeon at NYC Surgical Center says. “Much healthier options include hummus or yogurt-based sauces.”
Before planning the menu for your next party, take a few of these tips into consideration. Find creative ways to make hummus, replace the dessert bar with a fresh-fruit bar, and serve sparkling water instead of sodas. Those minor changes will not only cut calories, but also preserve that summer body you’ve worked so hard to keep in tip-top shape.
From aged cheese to commercial baked goods, here are a few party foods doctors will not touch.
"Aged cheeses and cured meats contain an amino acid called tyramine. This amino acid, when ingested, increases the release of a hormone called norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is a wakefulness-promoting hormone that is part of the fight-or-flight sympathetic nervous system. I would definitely avoid it close to bedtime if you have problems with sleep." — Dr. Robert S. Rosenberg, board-certified sleep medicine physician and author of the book Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day
Bacon Cheese Burger Sliders
"I will not eat bacon cheese sliders. The foundation of the slider is a hamburger patty. Red meat is high in saturated fats, pro-inflammatory, and increases colon cancer risk. Cheese and bacon may add deliciousness, but also increase saturated fat intake. Bacon is particularly high in sodium, which can lead to high blood pressure and nitrates that convert to nitrosamine (a potential cancer-causing agent) when heated. Buns are high in carbohydrates, which are broken down quickly in the digestive tract.
Those two pieces of bread holding everything together cause blood sugars to spike, increasing your risk for developing diabetes. And we haven’t even discussed condiments. Still want that slider?" — Dr. James Pinckney, a board-certified physician and founder and CEO of Diamond Physicians in Dallas, Texas