Tuesday, October 4, 2011

11 Fake Health Foods

Remember Jessica and her previous post about eating healthy? Well as promised she is back and has a surprising list of fake health foods and how to replace or avoid these all together.

Below I have listed some foods that are commonly accepted in the American diet. These foods are not “health” foods and should be avoided whenever possible.

1.            Soy – 91 percent (or greater) of soy is GM (Genetically Modified).  This means that some of the genes of the soybean plant have been altered. American’s today consume a lot of soy products and some don’t even realize it. Anything from ice cream to cheese products are made from soy, so be careful about what you are buying. I realize that for those who practice vegetarianism or veganism, soy is in a lot of the foods that are available to you. Organic soy is okay if you choose to eat it. But it should be fermented and you MUST be sure that it is 100% organic to ensure that it is non-GMO.

2.            Artificial Sweeteners – Just because the product you’re buying says “sugar free” doesn’t mean it’s “healthy.” Most of these “sugar free” items contain artificial sweeteners that are more harmful than the sugar itself. Avoid all artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame which has been linked to very serious health problems, such as headaches, migraines, nausea, abdominal pains, fatigue, sleep problems, vision problems, anxiety attacks, depression, asthma, chest tightness. 

3.            Peanuts and Peanut Oil – Some fast food chains have recently claimed their fries are healthy because they are fried in peanut oil. Well, they may be “healthier” than the other oils used for frying, but they are far from healthy.  Peanuts are commonly contaminated with aflatoxins. This means that the oil is also contaminated. Avoid peanut oil and all peanut products whenever possible.  This includes peanut butter. Organic peanuts are better, but still can contain mold.

4.            Margarine – I don’t know why some people claim that margarine is healthier than butter. In moderation, like everything else should be, butter is not this terrible thing that most people claim it is. Butter has antifungal properties and can actually be good for you. Margarine, on the other hand, is a chemical and is ONE molecule away from being plastic. You don’t want that in your body.

5.            Diet Soda – Diet sodas are NOT better for you than regular soda, in fact, it’s probably worse. It has been shown to cause damage to the heart. It contains the artificial sweetener, Aspartame, which we talked about before. With that in mind, regular coke is bad for you as well and should be avoided. Stick to herbal teas, water, or fresh, organic fruit juices.

6.            Alcohol (specifically red wine) – Some people think that red wine is good for you because the resveratrol has been shown to be “heart healthy.” Now, this is true. Resveratrol is very good for your heart; however, wine can be made from moldy grains (or just straight up “Mold Wine”) and contains traces of mold and yeast. Instead of putting this in your body, why not avoid it altogether and drink some fresh, homemade grape juice or take a grapeseed extract supplement? You still get the heart benefits without the negative effects of the alcohol.

7.            Fat-Free products – So many people think that fats are bad for you. They think that they should always choose the “fat free” or “low-fat” over whole fat products because they are the best, the healthiest.  I am here to tell you that this is not true.
Fat free products are stripped of all their fats and it is not uncommon for that fat to be replaced by high sugars to maintain consistency. Choosing ‘whole fat’ products won’t make you fat (provided they are healthy fats), but ironically choosing ‘low fat’ products could.
Your body needs fats to function. However, having said that, it is important to know that IT DOES MATTER what types of fats you are consuming. Avoid fats like Canola Oil, Peanut Oil, Trans Fats, [Partially] Hydrogenated Oil. These are only a few of the fats that are harmful to your body.

8.            Enriched Flours – Chances are you have products in your house that consist of “enriched white flour” or “enriched wheat flour.” They try to tell you that, because these products are enriched, you are getting the vitamins that you need. This is false. Flours are enriched because they are originally stripped of ALL the nutrients contained in the grains. However, only SOME of the vitamins are added back. Two problems with this are that 1). The vitamins that are added back in are synthetic. They aren’t real, whole food vitamins and 2). Only a small portion of these vitamins and minerals are added back, even though all of the beneficial whole grains are stripped. Stick to WHOLE GRAINS (organic, sprouted are best) and WHOLE FOOD vitamins. Always avoid synthetics.

9.            Corn Syrup –High fructose corn syrup is a highly concentrated sweetener that is used in everything from hot dogs to canned fruit. It is used to cheaply sweeten products.  The truth is IT COMES FROM CORN and, like peanuts, corn crops are contaminated with aflatoxins and should be avoided. This means ALL corn products  (also includes high fructose corn syrup, corn sugar, etc.)

10.          Energy Drinks – Yes, energy drinks give you energy. No surprise there. They are loaded with sugar and caffeine. We all know that consuming a ton of sugar isn’t good for you, neither is consuming a ton of caffeine. Doing this will give you momentary energy and then a guaranteed crash. Most energy drinks are loaded (and I mean loaded) with (synthetic) B-vitamins. B-Vitamins in such concentrated high doses can cause serious health and heart side effects. There are many natural, health food items that can give you a boost of energy, without the ill effects of energy drinks.

11.          Milk –Non-organic milk that most people get from the supermarket can have terrible effects on your health. It can cause allergies (especially in children), upset stomach and a number of problems. Regular, non-organic milk is loaded with antibiotics and steroids. Bacteria that is in the milk is killed during pasteurization but they don’t strain the milk…leaving YOU (the consumer) with loads of dead bacteria to drink (yum)! However, raw and organic milk can be good for you, if you choose to consume dairy.

Remember that you don't need to cut out all of these items at once and educating yourself is the first step. If you are feeling overwhelmed at all of this information pick one or two things off the list and do away with them. You can either cut them out indefinitely or phase them out of your and your familie's diet.
Personally I don't think I can give up my red wine all together, lol, but we shall see.

Jessica Campbell is a writer,certified Nutritional Coach, self proclaimed fashionista and lover of the finer things in life, living in Nashville, TN. I follow Jessica on Twitter and was excited when she agreed to give us some insight on how to start eating healthy.
Jessica can be found on Twitter @jeskahoney or on her blog at Glitter and Gravel, you can find healthy eating tips, creativity and witty post on both. You can also email her at