There are many foods and beverages believed to be healthy that may actually be harmful to health. The confusion is mostly thanks to some savvy but unscrupulous marketers trying to dupe consumers about their junk food or processed food options. Here are seven so-called “health foods” that aren’t:
Whole wheat bread—Most whole wheat products are actually made from refined white flour with a tiny amount of whole grain wheat added along with molasses or artificial colors to make the bread appear darker. Few breads labelled “whole wheat” are made from 100% whole wheat. Even worse, most wheat is now genetically-modified (GM). Many health issues have been linked to GM foods so it is best to stay clear of them if possible.
Multigrain bread—Similar to “whole wheat,” “multigrain” bread is usually just white flour with a handful of whole grains tossed in to give the bread a more natural, rustic look. And if you know much about white bread then you know it causes wild blood sugar fluctuations similar to sugary foods. Blood sugar rollercoasters are linked with weight gain, mood swings and energy crashes.
Milk—While dairy bureaus will argue otherwise (of course they will—they have a financial interest in making people think dairy is healthy), milk is not a health food. Research shows that the countries whose citizens consume the most dairy products have the HIGHEST incidence of osteoporosis. Milk nowadays is full of hormones and antibiotics and is actually playing a huge role in the ability of bacteria to become antibiotic-resistant. It’s also linked to diseases like pain disorders and arthritis. In one study on rabbits, scientist Richard Panush was able to PRODUCE inflamed joints in the animals by switching their water to milk. In another study, scientists observed more than a 50% reduction in the pain and swelling of arthritis when participants eliminated milk and dairy products from their diet.
Energy Drinks—Most of the so-called “energy drinks” and “sports drinks” are full of artificial colors, caffeine and sugar. In small amounts caffeine might not be too bad but in the quantities most energy drinks are consumed, caffeine can cause heart palpitations, anxiety and over time deplete the body’s adrenal glands a.k.a. the “stress glands.” As for artificial colors and high doses of sugar—neither have a role in a beverage with a name that implies health, energy or sports.
Most Protein Bars—Protein immediately makes people think “thin” and “healthy” which is odd because excessive protein consumption will turn into fatty deposits in the body. And most people eat more protein than they actually need. But call a sugar-laden candy bar a “protein bar” and most people think they’ve found the perfect health food. Most protein bars are just candy with a sprinkling of protein powder added (usually in isolated or hydrolyzed forms that contain monosodium glutamate—the harmful brain and nerve toxin).
So that makes most protein bars junk food. Does that mean there aren’t healthy protein bars out there? No, of course not, but most aren’t healthy contrary to what the label or the manufacturer might tell you. Instead of the sickly sweet bars, opt instead for Nature’s own high protein, super-nutritious snack foods: raw, unsalted nuts and seeds.
Low Fat Muffins—Low fat almost inevitably means “high sugar” in the world of baked goods. Many people still equate low fat in their food to lower fat on their body but this is a serious oversimplification of what causes us to become overweight. More often than not it is sugar and refined carbohydrates that cause people to store fat on their bodies. And since most low fat foods replace fat with extra sugar, low fat muffins or baked goods are the way to go if you want to gain weight and if you don’t mind it taking the form of love handles, belly flab or a muffin top…or should I say “low fat muffin top?”
Sugar-Free Drinks—Okay, I know I’ve been going on about sugar here, so this blog wouldn’t be complete without something “sugar-free” on the list. If you’re like most people you may think that sugar-free means “perfect health food” but it doesn’t. Sugar-free foods and beverages are usually full of artificial sweeteners concocted in a laboratory, including: aspartame (now called NeoTame or AminoSweet), saccharin or sucralose (Splenda). The list of illnesses linked to artificial sweeteners is many pages long but includes: seizures, brain tumors, chronic fatigue, birth defects and psychiatric disorders to name a few. That’s definitely not sounding so sweet is it? So, I urge you to think twice about that “sugar-free” flavor you add to your coffee or the diet soda you consume.
Subscribe to my free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow me on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook. Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD.
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