The media, health magazines, even Facebook are all touting the “right” foods that are supposed to help you stay or get healthy. Sadly, there is much information being distributed that is so far from the truth, it not only will confuse people, but it will make them sick too! Even the health “nuts” are getting it wrong. If you want to take your health to a new level, read this!
Foods to Avoid and The Reasons Why
1. Unfermented Soy
While we know that most soy grown in this country is genetically modified, there may still be those who feel that soy has great benefit if it is organic and pure. Sadly, the estrogenic properties and the added protein of soy will still prevent your body from achieving optimal health. Non-fermented soy products contain phytic acid, which contains anti-nutritive properties. Phytic acid binds with certain nutrients, including iron, to inhibit their absorption. This is a direct, physical effect that takes place in the digestive system. Their ability to bind is limited by the milligrams of phytic acid present. Another dirty little secret about the “natural” soy foods industry is the widespread use of hexane in processing. Hexane is strictly prohibited in organic food processing, but is used to make “natural” soy foods and even some that are “made with organic ingredients,” such as Clif Bars. Hexane is a neurotoxic petrochemical solvent that is listed as a hazardous air pollutant with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The best way to consume soy is fermented. Fermented soy stops the effect of phytic acid and increases the availability of isoflavones. The fermentation also creates probiotics -- the "good" bacteria the body is absolutely dependent on, such as lactobacilli. The fermentation of soy increases the quantity, availability, digestibility and assimilation of nutrients in the body. Soy is among the most common food allergens, along with dairy and tree nuts. However, fermenting soy appears to reduce its allergenic properties. A study by researchers at the University of Illinois and published in “Food Engineering and Ingredients” in 2008 found that allergic reactions to soy were cut by 99 percent through fermentation. The process also appears to increase the availability of the amino acids in soy foods. The researchers noted that fermenting breaks down the protein in soy into small particles that antibodies cannot identify as foreign matter. Many studies have shown traditionally fermented soy--which is the form that is very popular in many Asian cultures--aids in preventing and reducing a variety of diseases including certain forms of heart disease and cancers.
2. Vegetables and Fruits… That are Genetically Modified (GMOs)
While squash, zucchini, papaya, corn, alfalfa, sugar beets, and soy may seem healthy enough for eating since they are vegetables and fruits, they could actually be ticking time bombs in your body waiting to be provoked. Currently, eight crops from GM seeds are commercially available in the United States: corn (field and sweet), soybeans, cotton, canola, alfalfa, sugar beets, papaya and squash. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) urges doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients. They cite animal studies showing organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging, and infertility. Human studies show how GM food can leave material behind inside us, possibly causing long-term problems. Genes inserted into GM soy, for example, can transfer into the DNA of bacteria living inside us, and the toxic insecticide used on GM corn was found in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn fetuses. Numerous health problems increased after GMOs were introduced in 1996. The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years; food allergies skyrocketed, and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others are on the rise. Although there is not sufficient research to confirm that GMs are a contributing factor, doctors’ groups such as the AAEM tell us to protect ourselves, and especially our children who are most at risk. The American Public Health Association and American Nurses Association are among many medical groups that condemn the use of GM bovine growth hormone, because the milk from treated cows has more of the hormone IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1)―which is linked to cancer.
3. Commercially Grown Whole Grains
Today's commercial wheat—a semi-dwarf, high-yield type—is causing many people to be sick. A decade ago, gluten intolerance levels were 1 in 2,500 worldwide. Today, it’s at 1 in 133! What has happened to the grain that has fed us for thousands of years? The grains that were used in baking the ancient sourdough are completely different than what we are eating today. The ancient grains that our ancestors ate were covered wheat grains, having thick husks around each kernel. The inedible husk was removed by pounding or milling and then winnowing before the grains could be ground or eaten. Today’s modern wheat is considered to be a naked-wheat cultivar, with a much thinner husk that is easier to remove. The move toward today’s modern wheat began with hybridizing for smaller or dwarf varieties of wheat. Shorter wheat means more of the plant’s energy is put into seed production, increasing yields. This was very successful, producing huge increases in production. Dwarf cultivars are also more resistant to lodging or falling over. Lodging occurs when the stalks are too long for the plant’s roots, the stalks fall over (lodges) and rot. Heavy applications of nitrogen fertilizer, common in commercial agriculture, only made the lodging problem worse. The hybrid dwarf varieties were much less susceptible to lodging, allowing excess nitrogen to be applied without losing too much of the wheat crop. Happy with the increased production of the hybridized dwarf wheat, plant breeders began more hybridization experiments starting in the early 1960’s. Extensive hybridization research, testing and experimentation went on, all with the objective of increasing the yields wheat produced. Repetitive back-crossing and crossing with foreign grass species were just two of several techniques used. What happened was a drastic increase in the production capability of the dwarf super-hybridized wheat. Unfortunately, the issue of digestibility was never examined. The hybridization resulted with increased gluten levels in the new wheat. This was a good thing for making tall, fluffy breads that are appealing to consumers. The experimentation didn’t stop there, however. In 2003 BASF, the chemical company, introduced Clearfield wheat, which is tolerant to their proprietary herbicide Beyond, much like Roundup Ready Corn is tolerant of glyphosate. They proudly proclaim that the wheat is not the product of genetic engineering, but of “enhanced traditional plant breeding” methods. What exactly is the difference? The technique is called “chemical mutagenesis” and might be worse than GMO engineering. Using a highly toxic chemical—sodium azide—as well as gamma and X-ray radiation, the exposed wheat embryo mutates. After further experimentation, testing and development, Clearfield wheat emerges and is tolerant of the Beyond herbicide. Clearfield is now supplied in 20 varieties and nearly one million acres are planted with it in the US and Canada. So what we are now eating is a super-hybridized, chemically and radiologically mutated wheat. It’s no wonder we are having issues with digestion and allergic reactions that are becoming more common and more severe. Not all of the wheat that is commercially available is from Clearfield wheat, but more and more is coming into the market. The rest of the wheat is from super-hybridized semi-dwarf varieties. Another area to consider when identifying wheat differences is how bread is made today as compared to the past. Traditionally bread was made with a slow rise sourdough method, using native yeast from the air to raise the dough. Sourdough is a partnership between specific yeast and bacteria that supports each other and makes bread rise and develop the unique flavors. Today’s bread is made with fast-rising yeast that has been cultured specially to raise bread dough faster and higher. The wheat is milled to remove the outer layers of wheat bran and wheat germ, leaving only the starchy endosperm or white flour. Some of the nutrients that were removed with the bran and germ are added back in the “enriching” process, where iron and synthetic B vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folic acid are added back synthetically. Other agents are added to the dough which keeps the bread fresh and pliable for a longer period of time. The bread dough is mixed and kneaded, then left to rise for an hour or two and baked.
4. Dried Fruit
A handful of craisins here, a bunch of dried apricots there…no big deal, right? Not so fast. Fresh fruit is made mostly of water. Drying it out reduces the water volume and increases the amount of sugar per serving. Dried fruit may also have added refined sugar to enhance the flavor and taste. Here are five facts you need to know about dried fruit—and why you should probably just eat an apple with nut butter instead.
- The sugar in fruit makes you fat fast. It’s called fructose and it can create all kinds of havoc on your health. Excess fructose gets quickly converted by the liver into VLDL, a form of cholesterol that’s high in triglycerides, which leads to fat storage. It’s also the type of sugar that creates insulin resistance, heart disease, obesity, and more.
- Most dried fruits are double, and sometimes even triple, the sugar content of fresh fruit. Most people should limit their daily fruit intake to 30g of carbs
per day, which is about one banana, one apple, or two cups of berries. And that’s a lot less than what’s in the typical serving of dried fruit. One cup of fresh cranberries contains 4g of sugar and one cup of dried cranberries contains a whopping 70g.
- Your brain doesn’t know how to say no to dried fruit. It’s easy to eat a ton of dried fruit, because fructose doesn’t signal your brain when you’re full. It doesn’t suppress ghrelin or stimulate leptin after you eat (ghrelin makes you hungry and leptin stops hunger). Now it might make sense why you still feel hungry after inhaling a bag of trail mix.
- It contributes to toxicity. When the body breaks down fructose
, it produces a lot more waste products and toxins, and increases blood pressure more so than other carbs.
- You’re better off eating candy than dried fruit, if you’re looking at the sugar content. Okay, we’re NOT saying go eat a candy bar, but you should know that one bag of M&Ms or a Milky Way bar has 30g of sugar, which is less than what’s in about a cup of dried papaya or figs
Opting for dried fruit not only loads you up on calories, but it can send your blood sugar spiking and then crashing—which is bad news for your energy levels.
5. Foods Containing Heated Omega 6 Oils – Especially Snack Foods
Foods made with vegetable, soy, canola oils, etc. such as granola, snack bars, salad dressings, mayonnaise, healthy chips, crackers, etc. Even when you think you are getting “healthy” snack foods because you find them on the shelves of the health food section and they say “organic”, you may be shocked to know that if they are baked or infused with any of the omega 6 rich seed or vegetable oils, they are still dangerous to your health. The heated Omega-6 fatty acids build up in our cell membranes and contribute to inflammation. Inflammation is an underlying factor in some of the most common western diseases and include cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis and many, many others.Industrial seed and vegetable oils aren’t just burned for energy like any other macronutrient. These oils (that are very sensitive to chemical reactions) are also stored and incorporated into cells. That is a very scary thought. These oils are leading to actual physiological changes in our bodies. When you plot the consumption of these oils to the prevalence of certain diseases in the population, you see some interesting correlations.
- The amount of Omega-6 in the blood is highly correlated with death from cardiovascular disease.
- There are observational studies showing a drastic correlation between consumption of these fats and violence, indicating that they may have a detrimental effect on mental health.
- Having more Omega-6 fats in mother’s milk is associated with altered immune function in young children.
- In rats, a high consumption of these oils can cause fatty liver and severe liver damage.
- Several other animal studies also show an increase in cancer when rats eat a diet high in Omega-6 fats
6. Foods that Contain Artificial Sweeteners
For many years, people have been trying to cut their calories and when sugar-free substitutes hit the market, the Healthy Sugars were purported to be born! Sadly, if anyone has been following these so-called sugar twins, you will have soon realized their deadly potential, and their twin, the real sugar, may not be nearly as sinister!
9. Gluten-Free “Health” food
Just because it doesn’t have gluten doesn’t make it healthy all of a sudden. Processed gluten-free products tend to be higher in calories than the products they are replacing, meaning people can actually gain weight when they go gluten-free. Processed gluten-free foods are designed to approximate the taste and texture of the products they are replacing and tend to rely on substitutes such as rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch. These foods have high glycemic indexes, so when people eat them, their blood sugar spikes. To make gluten-free products taste good most manufactures increase the amounts of sugars and fats. Manufacturers "get the worst foods to replace wheat and gluten," said William Davis, a cardiologist and author of the book, "Wheat Belly." He said that eating such foods over time leads to disorders such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. The standard Gluten-Free Diet typically contains 4 specific food toxins that contribute to leaky gut, inflammation, and poor vitamin absorption:
- Cereal grains (like corn, rice and oats)
- Soy (milk, protein, flour, etc.)
- Industrial seed oils (Canola oil, Rapeseed oil, safflower oil, and sunflower oil)
- Sugar (especially refined table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup)
10. Green Tea (Brewed)
Green tea contains naturally occurring, high amounts of fluoride. The plant picks it up from the soil and the brewing process extracts most of it from the leaves. Lower quality may have significantly more fluoride than higher quality teas. That’s because lower quality teas are often made from fallen, old leaves that have more fluoride than young tea leaves. Lower quality teas may also use smaller tea leaves or ‘tea leaf dust’, and studies have shown that the smaller the leaf size the more fluoride the tea contains. Decaffeinated tea showed higher fluoride values than caffeinated tea. Ready to drink tea beverages probably have more fluoride than loose leaf and bagged tea, which makes sense as those are often brewed from low quality leaves. Apparently heavy long-term consumption of instant tea can cause skeletal fluorosis. The amount in the plant depends on the concentration of fluoride in the soils as this varies between different areas of the world and industrial pollution can add to this. Organic teas would be no different in this respect. The amount of fluoride in tea leaves increases as the leaves mature and age. This is why black tea made from the oldest leaves of the plant contain the highest levels and cause problems of fluoridosis in places such as Tibet where the tea is regularly consumed. The longer you brew your tea, the more fluoride will come out of the tea.
11. Canned Vegetables
Bisphenol-A — better known as BPA — is an industrial chemical that's used in many household plastics and food packages. Capable of interfering with the body's hormones, particularly estrogen, scientists have linked BPA exposure to diseases like cancer and diabetes. Bisphenol A (BPA) is the primary component in polycarbonate plastic and is used in the resin lining of most food and beverage cans. Exposure to BPA, a hormone-mimicking compound, is linked in animal studies to early puberty and other reproductive harms.
In animal studies, BPA has been shown to mimic the female hormone estrogen. Exposure among test animals to this chemical early in life is associated with:
- Pre-cancerous changes in the mammary and prostate glands;
- Altered development of the brain causing behavioral abnormalities and earlier onset of puberty;
- Reproductive abnormalities such as lower sperm counts, hormonal changes, enlarged prostate glands, and abnormalities in the number of chromosomes in eggs;
- Obesity and with insulin resistance, a condition that commonly precedes the development of diabetes.
There is concern that BPA may cause similar health problems in humans. More than 90 percent of the general population has BPA in their bodies, at levels close to those which have been shown to cause harm in animal studies.
Where is BPA Found?
BPA is used in the resin lining of all food and beverage cans. It is the principal building block of polycarbonate plastic and is used in a wide range of products, including clear plastic baby bottles and Sippy cups, clear plastic water bottles, and other kitchen plastics such as measuring cups, drink ware and storage containers. BPA is also found in some dental sealants and fillings, medical devices, paints, epoxy adhesives, stamps and cash register receipts. A number of canned foods and plastic bottle manufacturers have stopped using BPA, though because there is no labeling requirement, consumers do not know which products contain BPA and which don't.
- Don't use polycarbonate plastics (marked with a #7 PC) for storing food or beverages, especially if you are pregnant, nursing or the food or drink is for an infant or young child.
- Avoid canned beverages, foods and soups, especially if pregnant or feeding young children. Choose frozen vegetables and soups and broth that come in glass jars or in aseptic "brick" cartons, as these containers are BPA-free.
- Use a BPA-free reusable water bottle, such as an unlined stainless steel bottle.
- Don’t allow your dentist to apply dental sealants made from BPA (or BADGE) to either yours or your child's teeth. Ask your dentist to provide BPA-free treatments.
12. Alternative Milks – Hemp, Rice, Coconut, Almond, Cashew (Store Bought)
Organic coconut milk and almond milk are common purchases at the health food store by vegans and those with dairy allergies. Usually, these people are savvy consumers who know enough nutritionally to avoid soy milk with its endocrine disrupting isoflavones and gastric inflaming phytates. Rice milk is also steadily declining in popularity as it is really not much more than a glass of sugar water nutritionally speaking and has high levels of arsenic . Organic, alternative milks in cartons at the health food store seem like great alternatives at first to traditional cows’ milk, but are they really as “healthy” as people believe? First, they are loaded with sugars. While the sugars used may be better than the typical refined white sugar, there is still danger from consuming milks loaded with these sugars. Secondly, the nutrients added to the milks.
When you see the added nutrients, you begin to understand why these aren’t your best buys anymore: Large doses of natural vitamin A are well tolerated by the body as established by researchers decades ago. Traditional diets contain 10 times or more of the RDA of this nutrient with no ill effect. However, synthetic vitamin A (commonly added in these milks) is associated with birth defects and bone fractures. It has no benefit in the diet whatsoever. The second really bad additive in these organic cartons of coconut milk and almond milk is Vitamin D2. Vitamin D2 is a form of the wonder vitamin that you should take great pains to avoid. In all known cases of Vitamin D toxicity where the dose was intentional, Vitamin D2 was the culprit. By comparison, Vitamin D3 is much less toxic and requires an enormous dose to produce any toxic effect. Vitamin D2 is manufactured industrially by irradiating yeast. It is dangerous for D2 to be added to any food product particularly if this product would be given to children, where toxicity symptoms would appear at much lower dosages. It would be interesting to see if any of the store brands of cartoned milks were free of these dangerous and synthetic versions of the fat soluble vitamins! Notice also that carrageenan can be present in these products as well! Dr. Andrew Weil has been telling people to avoid carrageenan since 2002. Carrageenan is so toxic and inflaming to the human digestive system that this food additive is formally classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (part of the World Health Organization) as a potential human carcinogen. These products may be convenient, but they are in no way health promoting or beneficial, particularly for growing children! One last thought about these milks is that they are dead. To make the milk shelf stable the living enzymes must be killed to keep the milk from breaking down. It is easy to make your own almond or cashew milk and less expensive too.
13. Nutrition Bars -- Energy or Protein
Don't judge every bar by its wrapper. In October 2001, when ConsumerLab.com announced the findings of its independent laboratory tests of 30 nutrition bars, 18 did not meet the claims of ingredient levels on the label. More than any other misrepresentation, about one-half of the nutrition bars exceeded the carbohydrate levels stated on the wrapper (one bar promoted as a low-carbohydrate diet product claimed it had just 2 grams of carbohydrates, but testing showed it actually contained 22 grams). Whether you are buying a snack or a meal replacement, make sure you turn the package around and read the truth about the product. Here are a few areas to consider:
- Ingredients list—if there are added flavors or words that you can’t pronounce, put the bar back on the shelf.
Even if the convenience and the cost seem to be selling the bar, don’t fall for the marketing tricks of the trade. Rather, take your time and find a real whole-food bar that is not only satisfying but nutritious as well.
Whether you see it portrayed in a health food magazine or lined up on the grocery store shelves, granola has gained a healthy lead when it comes to the breakfast cereal of choice. “Most have too much sugar and very little fiber. A healthy breakfast cereal should be the exact opposite,” says Keri Gans, RD, author of the book Small Change Diet. With all the sugar it contains, just one cup of granola can easily top out at 600 calories, a third of the average woman’s daily allowance. A 1-cup serving of a typical homemade granola contains almost 600 calories and almost 30 grams of fat, of which 5 grams are saturated. The same amount of a store-bought granola has about 420 calories and 11 grams of fat, of which less than 1 gram is saturated. In terms of calories, granola probably isn't the best choice for your diet, especially if you're actually on a diet to lose excess weight. To lose 1 pound, you need to burn 3,500 calories, and eating such high-calorie granola will make that harder to accomplish. Another major drawback to granola is the amount of sugar it can contain. One cup of granola typically contains 25 grams of sugar regardless if made at home or store-bought granola. Because granola doesn't contain much in the way of fruit, almost all of that sugar is added sugar rather than healthier, naturally occurring sugars.
15. Bottled Water
Considering this country spends $100 on bottled water per person per year, one should be ecstatic that people are consuming this much water instead of carbonated soft drinks or fruit juices. Well, when you put it that way, bottled water is definitely a better choice. However, although it is “better” than juice or soda, can we really call it a “healthy” alternative?
- Most bottled water is packaged in containers that have flimsy, easily squishable plastic that contains BPA. We know that BPA is a chemical that can leach from the plastic into the liquid when the bottle becomes warm or hot. How many of you have left your bottled water in the car for even an hour and then you go back into the car and drink from it? That’s an unhealthy way to obtain an endocrine disruptor called estrogen.
- How do we know the water is truly “filtered”? Is there still fluoride and chlorine in it? Is that really what we want to put in our bodies?
- The re-mineralization process that gives bottled water its flavor does nothing for the assimilation of these minerals in our bodies.