Health Foods in Disguise
It is no secret that our diet plays a crucial role in how the body looks and feels and whether it stays healthy. But despite our efforts to improve our nutritional status, many of us still find ourselves confused and misguided as to what our daily meals should consist of. Our government regulated food guide pyramid—along with the billion dollar marketing industry has certainly created a misconception as to which foods are truly healthy making it difficult for consumers to chose wisely. Here are the most commonly mistaken health foods in disguise.
- Low-Fat and Fat-Free Foods — Based on weak evidence, this trend has been completely debunked and we now know that the right kind of fat supports brain and skin health, assists in weight loss, and is integral to a healthy nervous system. When you encounter a low-fat or fat-free label, you are seeing a highly processed product that is loaded with sugar to compensate for the ill taste that comes with fat removal. Nuts, seeds, avocado, butter, ghee, and fish provide the best sources of oil and should be consumed liberally.
- Commercial Salad Dressing — Kudos to you for eating a large salad for dinner, but the salad dressing that accompanies your veggies is sure to add a plethora of unhealthy ingredients that include trans fats, sugar, and artificial chemicals. Those would only negate any health benefits you get from a salad. Settle for a homemade oil vinaigrette instead.
- Fruit Juices —This may include a fruit of some sort, or it may be a fruit-flavoured water. And while there are 100% quality fruit juices out there, I would exercise caution. In a concentrated serving, you are getting large amounts of fruit sugars while missing the fibre which acts as your blood sugar stabilizer. Fruits are best consumed whole.
- Whole Wheat — Most “whole wheat” products are made of grains which have been pulverized into very fine flour, causing a rapid rise in blood sugar levels. True whole wheat is also a cause for concern. Studies are showing that modern wheat is less nutritious and contains properties that make it increasingly difficult to digest while causing inflammation.
- Vegetable Oils — Soybean oil, canola oil, and grapeseed oil have been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels short term, however, there is no guarantee that they will help prevent hard end points like heart attacks. Controlled trials have shown that these oils can increase the risk of heart disease and cancer. Natural fats like butter, coconut and cold pressed olive oil are healthier choices, offering many nutrients that reduce inflammatory markers.
- Agave Nectar — Known as a “natural” sweetener, Agave actually contains excessive amounts of fructose which can cause severe metabolic problems—even in moderation. While sugar is roughly 50% fructose, Agave contains a whooping 70-90% fructose! Consequently, “natural” doesn’t always mean healthy, leaving Agave as a debatable sweetener.
- Processed Organic Foods — “Organic” has become a marketing buzzword which food manufacturers have learned to create junk food around. You may be getting authentic organic ingredients but this may leave you void of the nutrients your body is looking for. An organically labelled food should still prompt you to read the label closely. For example, organic cane sugar is still sugar!
- Gluten Free Junk Food — Gluten has generated quite a stir in our society and many are conscious about eliminating this in order to experience better overall health. Not surprisingly, food manufactures have introduced all sorts of gluten-free products to the market including other harmful components, particularly sugar and hydrogenated oils to keep the flavours desirable. Once again, this leads to rapid blood sugar spikes and voids important nutrients.
It can be a real challenge to learn the authenticity of our food through food labelling alone. Beware if the packaging of a food says it is healthy; you will be disappointed. Healthy foods are those that don’t need any health claims. Whole, unadulterated, single ingredient foods don’t require a label. Becoming Aware of the simplicity of our nutritional needs through “real food” will inevitably lead to collective health and ultimately—disease prevention. Visit your holistic nutritionist to learn about making healthier choices today.
Did You Know?
The longer the shelf life of what you are eating, the shorter yours will be.