Doctor advises avoiding dangerous diet trends

By Haley Hernandez - Health Reporter

HOUSTON - A number of diet trends promise a variety of benefits, but none are quite as dangerous as unpasteurized foods, like some organic cheeses and apple cider vinegar, according to one doctor.

"I don't drink anything that's not pasteurized," Dr. Richard Harris of Kelsey-Seybold Clinic said. "They tell you too many horror stories in med school."

The trend of drinking apple cider vinegar began in hopes of lowering blood sugar and losing weight, which Harris said is partially true.

"So there is actually some evidence that shows it does help lower blood sugar. It does help you feel more full after you eat, and there are some studies that show it does help lower cholesterol as well," he said. "The problem is, people are taking too much of it. So in these studies most people did maybe a teaspoon or two teaspoons with dinner."

He recommended mixing a teaspoon with water, but warned that it has to be pasteurized or you could be ingesting loads of bacteria.

"We're talking some pretty nasty bacteria like E. coli, salmonella, listeria. They can make you pretty sick," Harris said.

Those illnesses can be deadly for people with weakened immune systems.

A diet that has proven beneficial is the alkaline diet. It encourages ingesting citrus fruits like lemons and oranges in water.
The idea is that acidic foods like lemons help neutralize the body's pH, a helpful aid for patients with kidney stones or kidney failure, but not exactly meant for weight loss.

Harris does not recommend the ketogenic diet.

"Ketosis is a state where you change ... what your body uses as fuel to mainly try to burn fat as fuel," he said.

He said some people are taking the ketogenic diet to the extreme and eating nothing but high-fat foods.

"The body doesn't like that," Harris said. "It can be dangerous for people who don't exactly know what they're doing if you do it long term."

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