Health Advice



Protecting your heart -- start by eliminating ultraprocessed foods

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

In a 1964 episode of "The Lucy Show," Lucy takes a job as a process server, and her first assignment is to serve another main character in the show, bank president Mr. Mooney. But after trailing him all over town, she somehow ends up as a stowaway on a ship headed for a 28-day cruise. Process serving wasn't dished up again as such a catastrophe until Seth Rogan, as Dale in 2008's "Pineapple Express," took on that career choice and ended up dodging a drug lord!

If you're serving up processed foods -- that almost invariably leads to disaster. A 10-year study published in the European Heart Journal found that folks with cardiovascular disease who've had a heart attack or stroke and continue to eat ultraprocessed foods are 66% more likely to have a second -- and fatal -- heart attack or stroke and 40% more likely to die from any cause than people who make sure to send ultraprocessed foods out to sea!

Eating healthfully part time and downing ultraprocessed foods other times didn't help diminish the dangers of the deadly dishes. You can spot ultraprocessed foods: They have hydrolyzed proteins, maltodextrins, hydrogenated fats and additives like dyes, preservatives, anticaking agents, flavor enhancers and sweeteners listed on ingredients labels. Remember: Check ingredients labels on theoretically "healthy" foods, like breakfast cereals and fruit yogurt.

My recommendation: Take this list of ultraprocessed ingredients with you when you grocery shop and check that they aren't in what you buy, even if you haven't had a heart attack or stroke -- yet.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Email your health and wellness questions to Dr. Mike at

(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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