Some foods that are touted as being healthy and good for you are really not so good and can create health problems instead of promoting better health.
Foods that proclaim to be fat-free, sugar-free, sodium-free, etc., are probably not as good for you as you think.
Foods that are labeled ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ make us think like we are doing something positive for our health when we consume them, but it’s not always an accurate thought.
All the buzz words that pertain to health foods and healthy eating are often designed to promote a product, increase sales and keep the consumer confused.
To help clear up the confusion and make shopping and healthy eating a little simpler, here is a list of 11 of the so-called healthy foods you should never eat. Many of these aren’t really health foods at all.
Instead, many are secret sugar bombs and foods that will set your body into inflammation overdrive.
Restaurant menu items that can throw your hormones into an unhealthy state or they’re tainted with unnatural compounds are also on this do-not-eat list.
1. Artificial Sweeteners
Any food that contains the word ‘artificial’ in its name should be avoided, but we have embraced artificial sweeteners right from their creation.
Consuming foods and beverages that were artificially sweetened gave us the freedom to consume as much of them as wanted without gaining weight. So we thought.
Doctors even recommend them to their diabetic patients because artifically sweetened products are supposedly safe because they are low on the glycemic index.
Ironically, new research has shown that artificial sweeteners cause a disturbance in gut flora and can actually cause diabetes.
If that wasn’t bad enough, sugar substitutes have been clinically linked to:
* Bladder cancer
* Brain tumors
* Breast cancer
* Weight gain and obesity
The national crisis we are currently experiencing with rampant obesity is rooted in foods and drinks sweetened with artificial sweeteners.
When ‘Zero Calories’ are emblazoned on the container, it gives the false sense that large quantities of the product can be consumed without consequences.
There are always consequences (negative ones) when any artificial product is consumed.
2. Agave Nectar
Agave nectar is on almost every health food shelf across the nation because it’s natural. It is indeed a natural sweetener derived from a plant, so it has to be safe to use and healthy, right? It’s anything but healthy.
Agave has the highest fructose content of any commercial sweetener on the market. And remember, fructose is hard on the liver and puts our body into fat storage mode.
Using this ‘natural sweetener’ is almost as harmful as using an artificial sweetener. Usage of either one will lead to weight gain and other serious health issues.
For a safe sweetening alternative, use a little raw honey or green stevia when you need a little sweetness.
3. Farm Raised Fish
The trendy buzz word in the fish market is ‘farm raised’. Farm raised fish supposedly eat a healthier diet than their wild cousins and are raised in a clean, controlled environment. All that sounds good, but it’s not.
Tilapia, an exclusively farm raised fish, is on most menus at restaurants that serve fish. Tilapia is also sold at most supermarkets at an inexpensive price. This tasty white fish has been found to be worse on your health than eating fat-laden bacon.
Farmed raised salmon, often called Atlantic salmon, is promoted as a healthy fish to eat because of its low fat content and high omega-3 content. Low fat yes, high omega-3, no.
Farmed raised salmon can actually increase the amount of inflammation in the body instead of reduce it because of its reduced amount of omega-3 fatty acids.
* The diet of farm raised salmon contains less ground anchovy than it used too. As a result, the nutrient value of the salmon have greatly decreased.
A study conducted in October 2016 study found omega-3 levels in farmed salmon are rapidly dropping and are half of what they were five years ago.
* University of New York at Albany researchers found dioxin levels in farm-raised salmon to be 11 times higher than those in wild salmon. The environmental pollutants are linked to cancer, organ damage and immune system dysfunction.
* A 2011 study published in PLoS One found mice-eating farmed salmon actually showed weight gain and an increased risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes symptoms.
The increased risk comes from the persistent organic pollutants, called POPs, that tend to be high in farmed salmon.
* Another study conducted in 2011 by the Food and Water Watch aquaculture reported that hundreds of thousands of farmed fish escape into the wild.
These fish are often carrying “super lice” parasitic hitchhikers that even the harshest chemicals no longer kill. Some even carry other diseases that can debilitate nearby wild fish populations.
The study also revealed that farm raised salmon are often treated with banned pesticides, another serious toxicity concern.
* In November 2015, the Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of genetically engineered salmon and the product will not require any labeling alerting the consumer to it being a GMO product.
The Food and Drug Administration approved it despite findings the GMO salmon doesn’t actually grow as fast as its creator claims.
True healthy fish options include: Alaskan wild-caught salmon, Pacific sardines and Atlantic mackerel.
4. Factory-Farmed Meat
The no-no list also includes farm raised animals. We are what we eat, and if the meat you’re serving for supper is fed hormones, drugs and an unnatural diet grown using chemical pesticides and fertilizers, that’s what you’re eating too.
* A study conducted in 2012 looked closely at feather testing and detected banned antibiotics, allergy medications, pain killers and even depression medication like Prozac in chickens.
* Studies have revealed that higher levels of toxic arsenic are showing up in humans. Farm raised poultry are fed arsenic. We are what eat.
* About 30 million pounds of antibiotics are sold for use in farm raised animals each year.
A better option for obtaining healthy meat is to shop local. Get to know your local food growers and ranchers and become familiar with their growing practices.
Ask the farmer if the animals are grass-fed, if poultry is free-range and how they deal with sickness. (For example, if they use drugs preventatively or only if the animal is at risk of dying.)
If you’re looking for poultry, the gold standard is raised on rotated green pastures and supplemented with organic feed.
5. Fruit Juice
Many parent serve their children a glass of orange juice for breakfast and provide them with fruits juices throughout the day as a so-called healthy alternative to soda.
After all, orange juice is high in vitamin C and helps fuel the body for the day’s activities.
Consider this: Drinking an 8-ounce glass of orange juice is equivalent to consuming the juice of four medium-sized oranges. That glass of juice is gone in seconds and typically contains no fiber.
Compare that to how long it would take to eat four oranges and realize how eating a whole piece of fruit is far better than drinking fruit juice. Plus you get the get the fiber content when eating whole fruit.
Fruit juice also makes the so-called healthy foods to avoid list because of its high fructose content.
In June 2014, a study published in the journal Nutrition found that the average fruit juice’s fructose concentration is 45.5 grams per liter.
For soda, it’s 50 grams. Our bodies aren’t designed to deal with that type of fructose overload.
While glucose serves as a fuel for our body, fructose is processed almost exclusively in the liver, where it’s converted to fat.
Fueling your kids with so-called healthy fruit juice leads to childhood obesity and all the associated health problems.
6. Fat-Free & Low-Fat Milk
Another trap that parents fall into is giving fat-free and low-fat milk and dairy products to their kids.
The promises of less fat in the food is appealing to parent for both themselves and their children.
In a 2016 study, researchers studied more than 18,000 women and found the ones who consumed more full-fat dairy products were 8 percent less likely to be overweight or obese compared to the low-fat dairy group.
Drinking and eating full-fat dairy products helps children and adults feel fuller longer.
Plus, the fact that fat-free and low-fat dairy products are often loaded with added sugar to make up for the flavor loss when the fat was removed.
The extra sugar is a potent risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Organic milk and dairy products are the best choice according to recent research which shows organic milk has a much healthier fat profile.
In a 2013 Washington State University study looking at 400 samples, conventional milk had an average omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio of 5.8, more than twice that of organic milk’s ratio of 2.3.
The researchers say the far healthier ratio of fatty acids in organic milk is brought about by a greater reliance on pasture and forage-based feeds on organic dairy farms.
Raw milk contains more nutrients than pasteurized milk due to the heating process destroying the enzyme lactase. Full fat, raw cow, goat and sheep milk are available through local farmers and health food stores.
7. Microwave Popcorn
Microwave popcorn is filled with questionable ingredients, but many varieties are touted as being ‘heart healthy’. The risk of this favorite snack food is not the popcorn itself, but the bag it comes in.
The microwave bags are coated with nonstick perfluorochemicals like perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), chemical that is linked to cancer.
The buttered varieties are even worse for your health. Not only is there toxic coating on the inside of the bags to be concerned about, but also the fake butter powdered flavoring.
The flavored powder contains diacetyl which is known to cause serious lung damage when inhaled in large amounts.
Margarine was initially created to be an alternative to butter that would be lower in saturated fats and protect heart health. But we now know that’s not true.
Trans fats were the original fats used in margarine and today we know trans fats are responsible for about 50,000 fatal heart attacks a year. Trans fat also increases the risk of developing type II diabetes and several other serious health problems.
While trans fats have since been removed from most margarine’s, it’s important to note that most contain industrial, highly processed fats that are not found in nature.
Healthier options to replace margarine are butter, ghee from grass-fed cows or coconut oil.
9. Non organic Strawberries
Non organic strawberries rank number one on the dirty dozen list, according to Environmental Working Group. Strawberries tested by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2009 and 2014 contained an average of 5.75 different pesticides per sample.
The test was conducted after the strawberries were washed. Nonorganic strawberry fields are often fumigated with toxic gases that were initially developed for chemical warfare.
Organic strawberries are a healthy food, and you may want to consider growing your own to ensure you are getting chemical-free berries. Another option is to buy in bulk directly from a farmer in season and preserve.
Standard table salt, when used in excess, causes hypertension. Yet it graces the table of almost every home and restaurant.
While a little shake of salt on prepared food is not an excessive amount, most processed foods already contain the average daily amount of salt that we should have.
One typical lunch sandwich pushes you over the recommended daily amount of salt you should consume.
Combine that lunch amount with all the other processed foods and salt shakes throughout the day and it’s easy to see why over half of the population suffer with high blood pressure.
Originally produced from mined salt, refined table salt technically starts as a real, organic food then quickly becomes fake.
Manufacturers use harvesting methods that strip salt of all its natural minerals and then use many additives to dry it.
11. Vegetable Oils
Vegetable oils also make the list of so-called healthly foods you should never eat. Since it’s ‘vegetab;e’ oil, it tricks the mind into thinking it’s a good-for-you product. It is not.
Vegetable oils, like canola oil, are highly inflammatory and in no way healthy. They are usually genetically modified, are partially hydrogenated and have been linked to:
* Birth defects
* Bone and tendon problems
* Digestive disorders
* Heart disease
* Immune system impairment
* High cholesterol
* Learning disabilities
* Liver problems
* Low birth weights
* Reduced growth
* Sexual dysfunction
* Skin reactions
* Vision reduction
The healthiest oil choice is pure, cold pressed, extra virgin coconut oil. To make ensure you’re getting all the health benefits of coconut make sure the product smells like coconut when you buy it. Otherwise it’s probably been pasteurized, and the health benefits will be diminished.
While the manufacturers, growers and retailers will always try to come up with new buzz words to increase the sales of their products, know the facts so you won’t be fooled. Health foods, superfoods, organic and natural foods are not always what they appear to be.
Protect your health by being an informed consumer that knows where food comes from and how its sourced. Consider growing your own food (or at least some of it) to further be an advocate of your own health.