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September 2018

Health Foods That You Should Always Avoid

By | Eating Healthy, Health Tips | No Comments

Deceptive advertisements in the health industry are becoming increasingly pervasive. For many years, companies have produced what they call “health” food items that are often ineffective or borderline dangerous. The incessant flow of trends and industry buzzwords like “diet,” “organic,” and “sugar-free” can make it confusing when trying to improve your lifestyle. This means that a good number of people who want to eat better are actually incorporating foods in their everyday meals that they should not be consuming. Below we will go over a comprehensive overview of health foods that you should eliminate from your diet.

Farmed Fish

Farmed fish, including Atlantic salmon or farmed Tilapia, are often touted as great healthy foods. However, you should avoid these fish at all costs. A study at the University of New York indicated that farmed salmon contained 11 times more dioxin than wild caught salmon. It can take several years for your body to flush out dioxin, allowing it to wreak havoc on your health. Dioxin is an environmental pollutant that can cause cancer, immune system dysfunction, and even organ damage. It was also recently discovered that the omega-3 fatty acid levels in farmed-raised salmon are declining fast. There are also concerns regarding the contamination of man farmed fish. The amount of organic pollutants tends to be very high in farmed fish. These fish are treated with dangerous pesticides, and their production is detrimental to the natural ecosystems surrounding the farms. Fish does contain significant health benefits, just always opt for the wild-caught options.

Fruit Juice

It is a general misconception that any food item with the word fruit in it is automatically good for you. The truth is that fruit juice is just as unhealthy as soda if consumed in large amounts since it often contains just as much sugar and calories. An 8-ounce glass of fruit juice is the equivalent of eating four oranges. Additionally, fruit juice is devoid of very important fiber contained in whole fruits. The actual ‘fruit’ contained in fruit juice is about 5 to 10 percent. There is simply no substitute for consuming fruits in their entirety. Fruit juices also have high levels of fructose; about 46 grams per liter according to a 2014 study.

Fruit Bowl

To put this all into perspective, soda contains 50 grams of fructose per liter. The human body cannot handle these fructose levels for energy production. The fructose will be processed in your liver where it will be converted into fat.

Seitan

Seitan is a popular health food, especially among vegetarians. On the surface, it seems like an ideal replacement for meat. However, two specific properties of seitan make it particularly bad for you. First, seitan consists almost entirely of wheat gluten, meaning it can increase the risk of gluten intolerance and gluten allergies. Secondly, it has a very high sodium content. A half cup of seitan can contain up to 580 milligrams of sodium. This is definitely a food to avoid. The recommended alternative for seitan is tempeh.

Unfermented Soy Products

Soy products have been touted as health foods for many years, but there is nothing healthy about unfermented soy products. This includes soy milk, edamame, and soy protein. Fermented soy is a highly recommended dietary option. In the US, most soy is genetically modified in order to withstand compounds found in specific weed killers. One of these chemical compounds is glyphosate. US soy contains dangerously high levels of glyphosate, which is detrimental to human health and can cause cell death. Long-term consumption of soy protein is linked to a number of health problems. These include asthma, hay fever, breast cancer, kidney disease, hypothyroidism, cystic fibrosis, and urinary bladder cancer.

Margarine

The misconception that margarine is a healthier dietary option than butter has persisted for decades. The idea arose from the notion that the lower saturated fat content of margarine makes it healthier. Research has consistently shown that it is actually the opposite. Margarine initially contained Tran’s fats. Tran’s fats are a major contributory factor in cardiovascular disease including thousands of heart attacks each year. These types of fat also increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Most margarine produced today do not contain Tran’s fats. Instead, they have been replaced with high processed industrial fats that are nearly as dangerous for your overall health. Butter and grass-fed ghee are better options for a spread.

Vegetable Oils

Most vegetable oils find their way into the category of ‘healthy fats’. Unfortunately, there are some vegetable oils that you should not be consuming, such as canola oil. Many vegetable oils are sourced from genetically modified crops and are partially hydrogenated. Aside from being highly inflammatory, vegetable oils have been linked to several diseases and conditions. These include cancer, diabetes, liver ailments, cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, birth defects, impeded growth, high cholesterol levels, tendon ailments, immune system disorders, skin ailments, obesity, bone problems, low birth weight, and sexual dysfunction. Given this long list of risks, you should make the switch to pure unpasteurized coconut oil. It is the much healthier cooking alternative.

Artificial Sweeteners

When sugar replaced fats as the worst dietary enemy, most people looked towards artificial sweeteners including sucralose, aspartame, neotame, saccharin, stevia, and acesulfame as new viable options. Due to their low glycemic index, they are recommended for diabetics. However, recent research has revealed that artificial sweeteners interfere with flora in the digestive system and may actually contribute to causing diabetes. In addition, these sugar alternatives have been linked to allergies, brain tumors, breast cancer, bladder cancer, weight gain, seizures, high blood pressure, leukemia, and headaches.

Garcinia Cambogia

With obesity rates on the rise all over the world, overweight individuals are always on the lookout for foods that supposedly aid in weight management. Unfortunately, some of these so-called “superfoods” come with unforeseen side effects even if they are effective. One of these foods is Garcinia Cambogia, a pumpkin shaped fruit whose extract is often used in weight loss supplements. It does help you lose weight quickly, but it has also been linked to liver failure. If you are trying to lose weight, avoid this weight loss food and opt for better risk-free weight management methods.

Fad Coffee Drinks

Coffee actually has considerable health benefits to offer. It can increase your energy levels, help you burn fat, and lower your risk of certain diseases such as type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Dementia. It also has protective effects on your liver, helping guard against liver cirrhosis. However, you will not be able to reap these health benefits if your coffee contains certain added ingredients. Excess sugar is a staple in today’s popular lattes, usually coming in the form of high-fructose corn syrup. A typical latte contains up to 50 grams of sugar. These sugar levels wreak havoc on your liver and can cause fatty liver disease. Carrageenan is also found in most coffee drinks. This ingredient causes problems in the digestive system. Always go for traditional unsweetened black coffee.

Agave Nectar

Agave nectar is among the top health foods in the US market. However, a brief look at this food items reveals that it has no health benefits to offer, and is, in fact, detrimental to human health. Of all commercial sweeteners out there, agave nectar contains the highest amounts of fructose. High fructose levels in the body are very taxing on the liver. They cause your body to go into a fat storage mode, which is counterproductive to those of you trying to maintain a healthy weight.

Sugar Alcohols

Sugar replacements, like sugar-free baked goods and sugar-free chewing gum, contain sugar alcohols such as xylitol, sorbitol, mannitol, erythritol, lactitol, maltitol, and isomalt. These products are marketed as healthy alternatives to their sugar-laden counterparts, but you should avoid them altogether. The ingredients are called natural but really, they are just processed foods. Some ingredients are derivatives of genetically modified corn and other crops. Sugar alcohols have been linked to several health conditions including rashes, allergic reactions, IBS, headaches, and digestive disorders.

Overall, it is essential to stay informed on the actual ingredients contained in the food items you purchase. Be a label watcher and always opt for food products that are unprocessed, organic, and grass-fed.