Healthy???

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The so-called 'health foods' that are probably killing you

There
are so many products on the market these days that are supposed to be
good for us — much of it based on zero evidence. Here are 11 commonly
touted "health foods" that are actually quite harmful.

1. Fruit Juices

The fruit
juices you find at the supermarket aren’t always what they seem. They
may have small amounts of real fruit in them, but often they are little
more than water, artificial flavor and sugar.

But even if you’re drinking real fruit juice, it is still a bad idea. Fruit
juice is like fruit with most of the good stuff removed. All that is
left is the sugar and a few vitamins. Orange juice, for example,
contains the same amount
of sugar as Coca Cola. There’s no fiber in it, no chewing resistance
and nothing to stop you from downing massive amounts of sugar in a short
amount of time.

Eating too
much sugar is associated with all sorts of diseases. These include
obesity, type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many others (1, 2, 3).

It is much better to avoid fruit juices and eat real fruits instead.

Bottom Line: Most fruit juices contain the same
amount of easily digestible sugar as sugar-sweetened soft drinks. It is
best to eat whole fruits instead.

2. Whole Wheat

It
is true that whole wheat is healthier than refined wheat. But this does
NOT mean that whole wheat is healthy. It’s kind of like saying that,
because filtered cigarettes are healthier than unfiltered cigarettes,
everyone should be smoking filtered cigarettes. It’s flawed logic.

There are plenty of good reasons to avoid wheat — both the refined and the whole variety.

For example, wheat is the main source of gluten in the diet and a large part of the population may be gluten sensitive (4, 5, 6).

The immune
system of susceptible individuals attacks the gluten proteins in the
digestive tract. This can cause damage to the lining of the digestive
tract, pain, bloating, tiredness, stool inconsistency and other nasty
symptoms (7, 8, 9).

One study shows that wheat fiber can make you Vitamin D deficient, making you burn through your stores of this important vitamin much faster (10).

Another study shows that whole wheat raises small, dense LDL (the truly “bad” cholesterol) by a whopping 60% (11).

Bottom Line: Whole wheat is rich in gluten and can
cause digestive problems and various symptoms. It may also cause Vitamin
D deficiency and elevated small, dense LDL cholesterol.

3. Agave Nectar

In
the health food isle at the supermarket, you will definitely find some
“sugar-free” products that are sweetened with Agave. This sweetener is
touted as a healthy alternative to sugar because it is natural has a low
glycemic index.

But the
harmful effects of sugar have little to do with its glycemic index, it
is harmful primarily because it is loaded with unnatural amounts of fructose. Too much fructose in the diet can cause all sorts of problems, especially in people who don’t exercise much.

All fructose is metabolized by the liver. If the liver is full of glycogen the fructose will be turned into fat (11, 12).

This can
cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and all kinds of metabolic
problems like resistance to the hormones insulin and leptin, which will ultimately lead to obesity and diabetes (13, 14, 15, 16).

While regular sugar is 50% fructose, the fructose content of Agave is as high as 90%. If anything, agave is even worse than sugar!

Bottom Line: Agave nectar is loaded with fructose and therefore causes all the same problems as regular sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup.

4. Sports Drinks

Sports
drinks were designed for athletes who have just finished an intense
training session with massive sweating and glycogen depletion.

For this reason, sports drinks contain:

  • Water – to replenish lost fluid.
  • Electrolytes – to replenish electrolytes like sodium that were lost via sweat.
  • Sugar – because athletes need energy after an intense workout.

You don’t need any additional electrolytes unless you’ve been doing a very intense workout and most people are already eating too much sugar.

One bottle of Gatorade contains over 30 grams of sugar.

You’re better off sticking to plain water, which you should certainly drink plenty of, especially around workouts.

Bottom Line: If you’re not doing super intense workouts, then you should avoid sports drinks. They are not needed and contain sugar.

5. “Heart-Healthy” Vegetable Oils

As
the fear of saturated fat took hold of the world, consumption of all
kinds of nasty ingredients increased. Prime examples are industrial seed- and vegetable oils like soybean, corn and cottonseed oil.

These oils
are extracted from seeds using very harsh processing methods and include
high heat, bleaching and the toxic solvent hexane. These oils contain
very large amounts of Omega-6 fatty acids, way more than humans ever
consumed throughout evolution.

We need small amounts of these fatty acids in the diet, such as the amounts found inmeat and nuts. However, if we eat way too much like is the case with Western populations, this causes problems (17).

Eating too much of these fats can lead to inflammation, which is a leading cause of many chronic diseases (18).

These oils
get incorporated into our body fat stores and cellular membranes, where
they are highly sensitive to oxidation and damage.

To top it all off, the industrial vegetable oils that you find in the supermarket contain 0.56-4.2% of their fatty acid as trans fats, which are highly toxic (19).

(This does not apply to olive oil, which is good for you!)

Bottom Line: Vegetable oils are unhealthy and lead to inflammation. They are potential key players in the epidemic of Western diseases.

6. Low-Fat or Fat-Free Foods

It ain’t the fat, people!

Despite the last decades of propaganda against saturated fats, they have now been proven to be harmless (20, 21). When the anti-fat message first came out,
food manufacturers started producing “healthy” products that were
low-fat or fat-free. The only problem is that foods that have had the
fat removed taste like crap.

The food manufacturers then loaded their products with chemicals,
artificial sweeteners and massive amounts of sugar. What they basically
did was remove the good stuff (fat) and replace it with bad stuff
(sugar).

This is how
they managed to turn perfectly healthy foods like yogurt into very
harmful products filled with unhealthy ingredients.

Bottom Line: Avoid everything labelled “low-fat” or
“fat-free.” These are highly processed products loaded with sugar and
other harmful substances.

7. Gluten-Free Junk Foods

Many people have started to avoid gluten… a protein found in wheat, spelt, rye and barley (and a few other grains). Almost a third
of the U.S. population currently wants to cut back on gluten or go
gluten-free. Food manufacturers have caught up on the trend and have
started offering all sorts of gluten-free “health foods.”

The problem with these foods is that they’re usually not healthy at all.

Instead of a
gluten grain, they’re made with other starches like potato starch,
tapioca starch or some others. These starches are usually highly
refined, void of nutrients and spike blood sugar fast, just like wheat.

But these products are often also loaded with sugar and other harmful or artificial chemicals.

This does
NOT apply to foods that are naturally gluten free, like meats or
vegetables. If a product says “gluten-free” on the package, then it’s
probably bad for you.

Bottom Line: Gluten-free foods are highly processed
foods that are not much healthier than their gluten-containing
counterparts. It’s best to avoid them.

8. Margarine And Fake Butters

“I wish butter tasted more like margarine, said nobody ever.”Danny J. Albers

Another
side effect of the anti-fat hysteria is a plethora of so-called
“healthy” butter alternatives. The most notable example of these is
margarine. It used to be loaded with trans fats, now it tends to contain
processed vegetable oils instead. Butter consumption went down,
margarine consumption went up.

The problem with this is that butter is healthy. Margarine is NOT.

Grass-fed
butter, in particular, is an excellent source of the fatty acid butyrate
and Vitamin K2, both of which can have powerful positive effects on
health (22, 23).

Margarine
is a processed food with harmful ingredients that can make you sick. In
one large study, replacing butter with margarine lead to a drastically increased risk of death from heart attacks (24).

This is one great example of where blindly following the mainstream advice can put you in an early grave.

Bottom Line: Margarine is a processed food that contains unhealthy, artificial ingredients. Avoid it, use real grass-fed butter instead.

9. Energy Bars

Energy
bars are in the same boat as sports drinks – most people don’t need
them. If you’re an elite athlete who desperately needs to keep protein
intake high and eat every 2-3 hours, then these bars can definitely be
convenient. However, most people don’t need to eat that often and these bars don’t contain anything that you can’t get from real foods.

Energy bars
and protein bars are often highly processed products. Even though they
may be higher in protein than chocolate bars, they often still contain
the same unhealthy ingredients.

Sugar, white flour, artificial flavor — you name it, they’ve got it.

Of course, there are some healthier brands available, but if you want to avoid the crap then you must read labels!

If you’re
starving and far away from home, then healthier types of energy bars can
certainly be better than a burger and a coke, but your money is still
better spent on real foods.

Bottom Line: Energy and protein bars are often
highly processed products. Most people don’t need them and they tend to
contain sugar and other nasty ingredients.

10. Low Carb Junk Foods

As people
have changed their mind on fat being the root of all evil, some people
have started cutting back on carbs instead. Again, food manufacturers
have caught notice and brought all sorts of low-carb junk foods to the market. Even though something is low in carbs and sugar, it can still be very unhealthy.

Great
examples are the low-carb Atkins bars. These are nasty, highly processed
products that nobody should be eating. Just check out the ingredients list for this Atkins Advantage bar. This isn’t food.

If you’re going to do a low-carb diet, stick to real, unprocessed foods.

Bottom Line: There are some low-carb processed foods on the market that are extremely unhealthy and loaded with artificial ingredients.

11. “Healthy” Breakfast Cereals

Most highly processed breakfast cereals are not healthy. In fact, they are among the worst foods you can eat. They’re often loaded with sugar and refined carbohydrates.

Then the
manufacturers fortify them with some synthetic vitamins and put tiny
amounts of whole grains in the mix, then market their products as healthy.

Don’t be fooled
by the labels… low-fat, fat-free, whole grain, etc. Just check the
ingredients list on these products, they’re usually loaded with sugar.

Starting the day with a high-sugar cereal will set you up for a blood sugar crash later in the day, followed by hunger, cravings and another high-carb meal.

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