One of the most common responses I get as a nutritionist when I ask people about their diet is, “Oh, I eat healthy.”
Then I brace myself when I ask what that means…because what many people think is “healthy” is anything BUT.
Now, most people have good intentions—the problem is unhealthy foods are marketed to appear healthy to drive up sales.
And they’re about as good for you as eating shredded cardboard.
Let’s take a look at some of the common offenders:
Not healthy food #1: Breakfast cereals
Most breakfast cereals are packed with sugar (including high fructose corn syrup), preservatives, artificial flavorings and colorings and genetically modified ingredients (GMOs).
Even the nutrients that they’re fortified with are synthetically derived from by-products of the wood and petroleum processing industries.
Better breakfast options include oatmeal (real oats—not the sugary instant varieties), yogurt, fresh fruit and eggs.
Not healthy food #2: Egg Beaters
Egg Beaters is a processed egg product that plays upon people’s fears of cholesterol and heart disease.
They’re created by removing the egg yolk (where the majority of the egg’s cholesterol resides) and replacing it with “natural flavor” (which can include MSG), as well as xanthan gum and Maltodextrin (both of which are made with GMO corn), and synthetic nutrients (because they took out several naturally occurring nutrients with the yolk).
Regarding the cholesterol scare, know this: Your liver
makes the vast majority of your body’s cholesterol, and most people typically absorb 20 percent or less of the cholesterol they take in with food.
So if you have cholesterol concerns, I suggest you take care your liver by drinking enough water, eating lots of onions and garlic and having alcohol only in moderation.
As far as eggs go, even the Mayo Clinic acknowledges that most healthy people can eat up to seven eggs a week with no increase in their risk of heart disease. So skip the processed garbage and enjoy an occasional REAL egg.
Not healthy food #3: Sports drinks
Most sports drinks are loaded with unhealthy ingredients like sugar, highly processed sodium and artificial colors and flavors.
The average 20 oz. bottle of Gatorade contains a whopping 34 grams of sugar—that’s 10 grams MORE than a Hershey’s milk chocolate bar!
The biggest question is whether you even need sports drinks at all! Typically if your workouts are one hour or less, water is all you need.
Not healthy food #4: Vegetable oils and margarine (aka fake butters)
Our typical diets are completely topsy-turvy in terms of Omega-6 and Omega-3 essential fatty acids—we get far too many inflammation stirring Omega-6 EFAs and too few anti-inflammatory Omega-3s.
This is a major contributing factor to our high rates of inflammatory conditions today like arthritis and heart disease!
And a BIG source of our Omega-6 overload is vegetable oils and margarine/fake butters.
Isn't it ironic that they’re marketed as heart healthy when they in fact contribute
to the inflammation in your arteries that leads to atherosclerosis?
Plus vegetable oils and margarine are polyunsaturated fats which, when heated at high temperatures, can have their molecular structure altered to create trans-fats
Better oil and fat choices are stable fats like extra virgin olive oil, real butter and even lard and chicken fat.
Not healthy food #5: Farm-raised fish
Farm-raised fish are given antibiotics to stave off diseases that result from horribly crowded conditions and are treated with pesticides to combat sea lice.
And whatever is in the fish becomes a part of YOU when you eat them.
Research has also found that farmed fish has fewer Omega-3 EFAs than wild-caught fish, plus a 20 percent lower protein content.
Plus studies by the Environmental Working Group have found that cancer-causing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) exist in farm-raised salmon at 16 times the rate of wild salmon.
There’s no wiggle room on this: Buy only fresh wild-caught fish.
Not healthy food #6: Low-fat or fat-free foods
Sadly, many people still subscribe to the “all fats are evil
” way of thinking…and nothing could be more harmful to your health!
When fats are removed from foods, it leaves them tasteless. So food manufacturers add sugar, sodium and chemicals to make them more palatable.
Plus what many fat-avoiders don’t realize is a moderate
amount (2-3 tablespoons) of good fat each day is vital to your health (especially your brain and nervous system)...and can help you lose weight!
Fats turn off your body's hormone messengers that direct fat storage. They also help increase satiety and keep you full, so you eat less.
Good fats include extra-virgin olive oil, avocado, butter, flaxseed oil, fish oil, nuts and lean meats, eggs and dairy products (preferably organic from grass fed animals).
If you want to learn more about ALL the health benefits of fats and knowing good fats from bad, check out Fight Fat with Fat
by Dr. John Salerno.
Fight Fat with Fat challenges the currently-held opinion that a low-fat diet is healthy, and explains how eating that way can lead to elevated blood glucose, insulin resistance and ultimately type 2 diabetes, as well as heart disease and obesity.
Help your body recover from unhealthy foods!
If I’ve just burst your bubble about foods you thought were healthy, not to worry.
Because it's easier than you think to avoid getting misled by “food deception” and help your body bounce back from any harmful effects from unhealthy foods in the past.
Here are four ways you can help:
1- Avoid processed foods as much as possible
2- Buy organic whenever you can
It’s the only way you can guarantee that you’re eating GMO-free foods, and also avoiding antibiotics and hormones from meats and dairy, as well as pesticides and herbicides in produce.
3- Boost your intestinal flora balance
The sugar, chemicals, pesticides and herbicides from so-called “healthy foods” are very harmful to your intestinal flora.
And since this is where 70 percent of your immune system resides, having imbalanced gut flora is putting out the welcome mat for bugs, viruses, infections and even diseases.
has been formulated with a variety of probiotic strains to help keep your population of friendly bacteria strong and ready for whatever dangerous viruses, infections or toxins come your way.
4- Curb inflammation by balancing your Omega-6 and Omega-3 essential fatty acids
Since our foods are lacking the Omega-3 essential fatty acids they used to have, supplementing with an Omega-3 fish oil formula like VitalMega-3
can be a huge help to ensure a healthier Omega-3 EFA supply.
Mounds of studies have touted fish oil’s benefits of reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and easing arthritis pain.
To your health,