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 Is Healthy Barbeque an Oxymoron?

August 1, 2011   Contact: Sue Crosson-Knutson   312-334-2311

CHICAGO - Barbequed pork ribs, bratwurst, and corn-on-the-cob are backyard favorites. Yet these summertime staples are steeped in calories, cholesterol, and sodium.

“Grilling lean meats and vegetables without heavy sauces are wonderful for the barbeque.” said Vivienne Halpern, MD, a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery®.  “These can become your family’s new favorites.”

Chicken, fish, turkey, and sirloin are lean proteins that are lower in fat, calories, and cholesterol than hot dogs and full-fat hamburgers. Likewise, turkey, buffalo, and veggie burgers are great on the grill. Olive oil-based marinades and lemon juice provide barbequed meats and vegetables with added flavor.

Skewers of lean meat and summer vegetables, e.g. squash, zucchini, peppers, or tomatoes served over a bed of rice could become a new family favorite. Backyard chefs can round out the meal with a fresh garden salad and watermelon for dessert. 

“It’s true that we are what we eat,” said Dr. Halpern. “Our food choices affect our caloric intake,  cholesterol, and sodium.” 

As a vascular surgeon, Dr. Halpern recommends the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans created by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 

• Eat more fruits and vegetables
• Whole grains
• Low-fat milk products
• Lean meats, beans, eggs, nuts
• Fish
• Foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugar 

The USDA Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Eating Plan encourages minimal sodium intake to lower high blood pressure (hypertension), a risk factor for carotid artery disease and stroke. The fourth leading cause of death in America is stroke according to 2010 National Vital Statistics. Last year, 137,000 Americans died from a stroke.

Dr. Halpern encourages Americans to control their blood pressure and cholesterol with healthy food choices, moderate physical activity such as walking 30 minutes daily, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy body weight.
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About the Society for Vascular Surgery
The Society for Vascular Surgery® (SVS) is a not-for-profit professional medical society, composed primarily of vascular surgeons, that seeks to advance excellence and innovation in vascular health through education, advocacy, research, and public awareness. SVS is the national advocate for 3,686 specialty-trained vascular surgeons and other medical professionals who are dedicated to the prevention and cure of vascular disease. Visit its Web site at®. Follow SVS on Facebook and Twitter.


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