We have a lot of foods in this day and age that are junk food pretending to be healthy. Many of the companies behind these foods will try to convince you how healthy the food is on the container, but the ingredient list tells the real story.
These unhealthy foods that parade as health foods are part of the reason so many folks feel like they eat well, yet their health does not improve.
The undercover junk foods are part of the reason our society is sicker and fatter than ever with no signs of improvement.
Sadly many of these undercover junk foods are considered healthy by many, in this blog I am going to expose these “healthy junk foods” and explain the damage they do.
Store Bought Salad Dressing
There is no argument that salads are a great way to get more vegetables in your diet, especially the leafy green variety.
The problem is that many vegetables don’t taste great on their own, so salad dressings are a great way to add some flavor to salads.
The biggest problems with most store bought salad dressings is the number of ingredients that are damaging to our health. Some of the main ingredient culprits include sugar, corn syrup, vegetable oils, trans fats, preservatives and chemicals.
Eating vegetables in a salad is a great step to improving health, drenching the salad in rancid vegetables oils and sugar is not healthy. Make sure to read the ingredient list on store bought salad dressings or just play it safe and make your own.
Margarine or Butter Substitutes
With the low fat craze many people opted to throw out traditional healthy butter because of the saturated fat and cholesterol content.
Since then we have come to realize that saturated fat and cholesterol are not health damaging, and that butter is a legitimate health food.
When butter was demonized due to the saturated fat content, experts started recommending margarine as a substitute.
Trans fats in margarine have slowly been removed over time due to the overwhelming evidence that trans fats are bad for us. However margarine and butter substitutes are packed full of rancid vegetable oils.
Margarine is sold as a healthy food, but it is really chemicals and vegetable oils designed to look and taste like butter. Skip the man made chemicals and vegetables oils. Eat real butter from grass fed cows instead.
Fruit is a healthy food choice so it would make sense that the juice that comes from a healthy food would also be healthy.
The problem is that most fruit juices are misleading and many contain little to no fruit juice. The majority of them are sugar water and chemicals that have been flavored to taste like a fruit concoction.
Even if you are consuming one hundred percent high quality fruit juice there are still some problems. Many of the benefits that we gain from fruit comes from the high fiber content and living enzymes and minerals that present in the flesh of the fruit.
Fruit juice is what remains after we have removed all the health promoting aspects of fruit, what we are left with is mainly sugar water.
As we look further at the sugar content of fruit juice you quickly realize that it is resembles soda or other sugar sweetened beverages more than whole fruit.
We all know that sugar damages our health and we should do our best to avoid it. The problem is that once sugar’s health damaging effects were exposed we were left clamoring for substitute.
Enter the “natural” sweetener that quickly rose to popularity, agave nectar.
Agave nectar instantly became the natural alternative to sugar in many “health foods”. When we take a closer look at agave and how it compares to sugar, it is actually much worse for our health.
Agave nectar is even higher in fructose than high fructose corn syrup! One of the many reasons that fructose is bad for us is because it is a toxin that can not be used by our cells for energy.
Fructose has no use in the body, and must be shuttled to the liver where it is primarily transformed and stored as fat cells.
Even though agave nectar is a “natural sweetener” gram for gram it is far worse than sugar, and the high fructose content which damages the liver and metabolism make it extremely unhealthy and should be staunchly avoided.
“Heart Healthy” Whole Grains
The over consumption of grains has thrown our diet completely out of balance. It is not that carbohydrates are bad for us,but our current diet relies so heavily on carbohydrates that we are creating metabolic and blood sugar problems with how we eat.
The carb centric diet our society has adopted came at expense of vegetables and healthy fats. By relying so heavily on processed carbohydrates we continually throw our blood sugar out of normal ranges and stress the body.
If you haven’t already read my blog post “Are Carbohydrates Bad For You ?” to learn more about carbohydrates and how they fit into your health picture.
By over consuming grains and rejecting healthy traditional fats we have created the perfect health damaging storm.
Many of the problems our society is suffering from can be traced directly to metabolic problems and inflammation from blood sugar imbalances.
Gluten is a dirty word these days, and it is a hotly debated subject but for many folks this little word creates big problems. I have myself helped many clients transition to whole foods excluding grains have seen great improvements in digestion and blood sugar markers.
There is no nutrient present in grains that can not be found in vegetables, fruits and starchy tubers.
Vegan Meat Substitutes
Nobody can argue that avoiding processed foods and eating more fruits,vegetables, nuts and seeds as a vegan is a much healthier option than the standard american diet.
A problem arises when the adoption of a vegan diet includes the processed meat substitutes that are very soy and grain heavy.
The vegan friendly meat substitutes are highly processed and factory made foods that serve no health benefits
I also believe when your body is sending a clear signal that it is craving a certain natural food, it should be followed.
If you're craving meat, but you try to trick your body by giving it a vegan or soy meat substitute you are going against your biology and actually choosing a far less healthy option.
Organic Junk Foods
Organic has quickly become a marketing buzzword that grabs the attention of the health conscious. Food giants have taken advantage of this marketing buzzword by producing the same old junk food as before, but instead using organic ingredients.
These organic ingredients that make up the junk food are no healthier than the non organic options. Don’t buy a packaged food just because it is organic, always make sure to read the ingredients. Organic sugar is still sugar.
Gluten Free Products
Gluten allergies or intolerances can be very problematic for a lot of people, and the transition to avoiding gluten can be difficult for some.
Many of these folks find the transition to be a little easier in the beginning by using gluten free products to make swaps.This should be a phase though and the goal transitioning whole foods is recommended.
The problem is that many of these gluten free foods are just as unhealthy as the gluten containing foods. They are highly processed and contain many additives, chemicals and other refined starch flours that create similar blood sugar problems.
Gluten free foods junk foods are still going to be junk food that contains sugar and other nasty ingredients. Plants, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and starchy vegetables are all gluten free and far better for your health.
Low Fat/ Fat Free Foods
Excluding saturated fat from the diet was one of the largest nutrition mistakes ever made. The theory that saturated fat contributes to heart disease was based on handpicked data, that evidence never really supported. This theory has since been completely dissected and proven incorrect.
When this low fat propaganda became popular food manufacturers took advantage of this trend and began removing fats from foods and flooding the market with low fat, and fat free foods.
The problem with removing fats from foods is that it makes them taste horrible.In an attempt to make the foods more palatable and allow them to stay shelf stable for longer sugar was added to these foods in high amounts.
Saturated fats are not harmful and in fact many people see benefits from including more healthy fats in their diet. It is well proven that sugar consumed in excess has disastrous effects on our health. When you see a “food” that is low or fat free it regularly means it is riddled with added sugar and very processed.
Many folks will replace a meal with a smoothie from a juice bar or grocery store in the expectation that it will be lower in calories and contain healthy vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables.
The problem is that many of these smoothies are loaded with added sugars, fruit juices from concentrate, soy products and many lack adequate protein and fat which help to regulate blood sugar.
While smoothies can be a great way to get some healthy nutrition in your body I encourage people to be mindful of how much they are consuming.
You are able to consume a greater volume of foods when they are blended than if you were to chew every ingredient in your smoothie. Make sure your smoothie is balanced, and doesn't contain too much sugar from fruit juices and seven servings of fruit and added honey.
Opt to make your own green smoothie with lots of veggies, a few pieces of fruit and some healthy protein from nuts and seeds or protein powder and fats from coconut or some nut butters.
Granola has long been accepted as a “health food” because it regularly boasts the words” whole grain” or “low fat”. Granola is very high in added sugars and regularly contains hydrogenated vegetable oils and other chemicals/ flavors.
Granola is not nearly as natural as it boasts, and is very high in calories while being devoid of any nutrient that benefits our health.
Make sure if you are going to eat granola that you read the ingredients with a skeptical eye for unhealthy ingredients. Keep in mind that any food label that says it is a healthy food is probably not a healthy food.
My hope is that after reading this blog you can look at food a little differently, realizing that many supposed “health foods” contain health damaging ingredients. Make sure to always read labels so you are aware of what you are putting in your body. Everything you eat either adds or subtracts from you health.
Don’t take the food industries word for it when it comes to health claims. Realize that food manufacturers are interested in taking advantage of health buzzwords and trends, not creating truly healthy foods . Many of the foods created by these food giants are designed to make money, not make you healthier.
The healthiest foods on planet earth come from nature, and rarely do they have labels or ingredient list. Make sure you are eating foods in their whole form and from nature. If you do this most of the time you are on the right track!
If you’re tired of working hard, and not getting the results you want, I can help you adopt the simple habits necessary to reach your health or fat loss goals.
These habits are based on getting you to your goal in a sustainable fashion that can be maintained. I’ll be there every step of the way to support and keep you accountable.
Get on a Strategy Call with me to Discover how to achieve your health or fat loss goals, and make them yours to keep this time around.
Whether you decide to work with me or not I can guarantee you will leave this call with more knowledge on how to achieve your goals.