Unhealthy “Healthy” Foods

By: Bel Marra Health | Functional Foods | Friday, February 24, 2012 - 12:28 AM

Unhealthy Healthy FoodsIn today’s society it is so important to consume healthy foods which will help to prevent and fight disease. What you eat has a direct impact on how your body performs and feels. Your body requires a diet that contains carbohydrates, proteins, fats, nutrients and minerals. What may surprise you is that not everything that you thought was “healthy”, may not be. There are five foods that have been accepted as “healthy” by society that can actually have a detrimental effect on your health.

1. Bread – even the whole wheat variety

Canada’s food guide recommends that adults eat between 6-8 servings of grain products a day including whole grain breads, bagels, and flat breads. This is in addition to the recommendations for fruits, vegetables, and dairy and meat products. Bread contains a high level of carbohydrates and is often used as a source of energy. Many Canadians attempt to follow these guidelines and will purchase whole wheat bread as a healthier option. While whole wheat bread may provide better nutrition than white bread to a small extent, it is more likely to cause an individuals’ health to decline. Whole grains, in particular wheat, are the cause of many illnesses. Illnesses that can be caused by the consumption of wheat products include:

– Celiac disease

– Rheumatoid arthritis

– Headaches

– Infertility

– Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Of particular concern is that due to the difference in wheat production now, compared to 50 years ago is the fact that wheat can be contaminated with mycotoxins. This may be contributing to the diseases mentioned above.

What is important to remember is that while carbohydrates are recommended as part of a healthy diet, carbohydrates are not an essential nutrient. Just because the level of carbohydrates in bread products is high, does not mean that it has to be part of your diet. Carbohydrates are also found in fruits, certain vegetables such as beans and potatoes, bran and rice among other foods. The World Health Organization recommends that adults should be receiving 55-75% of their energy from carbohydrates. However, the Institute of Medicine recommends that adults only receive 45-65% of their energy from carbohydrates due to the increased incidence of obesity in today’s society.

2. Pasteurized Milk

Just like bread, Canada’s food guide recommends that adults consume two to three servings of dairy products in addition to the recommendations for grains, fruits, vegetables, and meat products. However, milk products today are generally pasteurized and are often associated with poor health. The pasteurization process destroys enzymes and decreases the nutritional value of the milk product. While raw milk is not commercially available, if you check with your local farmer they may be able to offer it to you.

3. Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oils such as corn, soy, safflower, and canola oil can have a negative effect on your health. These oils are polyunsaturated, which means that they are the worst oils to cook with. This is because when this type of oil is heated, it becomes oxidized much quicker than other oil options (such as coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil). When a polyunsaturated fat is heated, it results in the formation of toxic molecules. Additionally, vegetable oils contain a high level of omega-6 fats and a low level of omega-3 fats. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 should be approximately 1:1. Currently, the level is between 20:1 and 50:1. This is yet another reason why vegetable oil should be cut out of your diet. This doesn’t mean that you can’t cook with oil, just try the healthier options of coconut oil or a good-quality extra virgin olive oil.

4. Soy

Soy-based products have become a popular choice in recent years in response to claims being made that they can provide an excellent source of protein, can help to lower cholesterol, can protect against heart disease and cancer among other health benefits. However, multiple studies have found that soy products can:

– Increase the risk of breast cancer

– Contribute to thyroid disorders

– Promote kidney stones

– Impair the immune system

– Cause severe food allergies

Soy products have phytoestrogens that can imitate the effects of estrogen. This is a disturbing fact as it can impact a women’s menstrual cycle and can have a detrimental effect on a fetus. Due to the phytoestrogens found in soy products, they should be avoided, especially in infants as the child would be receiving extremely high levels of estrogen by drinking soy-based formula.

5. Fruit Juices

You may ask…how can a juice made from various fruits and even some made from vegetables be “bad”? The answer is quite simple: fruit juices that are commercially available have approximately 8 teaspoons of sugar per glass. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid eating fruits and vegetables, just avoid the juices made from fruits and vegetables. The amount of sugar found in commercially available juices causes a significant increase in insulin levels which is not good for your body.

When you eat fruits and vegetables in their raw form they are considered “intact”. When fruits and vegetables are intact, they contain fiber which will help to moderate the release of sugar into your blood stream which will indirectly moderate the release of insulin. Eating raw fruits and vegetables is definitely a better option that consuming the juices made from these products.

So, there you have it….5 foods that most Canadians would consider “healthy” that you should actually avoid for better health. While the changes to your diet may be difficult in the beginning, you will get used to them over time.

Related Reading:

Too much of a good thing? Don’t overeat these health foods

Popular health foods you should avoid…

5 Foods you should always have in your refrigerator


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