There are many of us who are dieting and trying to live a healthy lifestyle. We exercise and go out of our way to eat the best foods we can. Most of us already know that trans-fats, white sugar and white flour are not the best health choices, especially if we want to keep our weight down.
Unfortunately some of the very foods that we think are healthy are ones that can cause a lot of trouble for our bodies, and even make us ill. Below is a list of some surprisingly unhealthy “health foods.”
Many people who are dieting, whether it is low calorie or low carb diets, will opt for beverages with artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. Admittedly sugar is certainly a troublemaker and should be avoided, but artificial sweeteners are actually worse for you and could even be dangerous to your health.
All the artificial sweeteners are bad, but one of the worst sweeteners for us is NutraSweet (Equal, aspartame). There are over 92 different health related side effects associated with aspartame consumption, including brain tumors, birth defects, diabetes, emotional disorders and epilepsy/seizures. There are more adverse reactions to NutraSweet reported to the FDA than all other foods and additives combined.
A much better alternative to chemically derived sweeteners is stevia, which comes from a plant. It has been used for centuries with no know side effects. It can be purchased in most health food stores in the United States.
Although marketers would have us believe that sports drinks are what the body needs when exercising heavily, the truth is that sports drinks are filled with sugar (sucrose, glucose, and fructose) and salt (potassium and sodium) as well as artificial flavorings and colorings. Add a little salt to Cool-Aid and you have about the same thing. You would be much better off drinking spring water or diluted freshly squeezed juices while exercising.
Most Energy and Sports Bars
Most sports and bars are also filled with things that are not the best for our bodies, and are little better than candy bars. Many of them contain sugar or artificial sweeteners, chemicals, preservatives, and synthetic nutrients. Check the ingredients before you buy an energy bar. Try to find one that is made with whole foods, such as oats and flax seeds, fruits, and natural sweeteners.
This is one of the most surprising ones of all, after all soy has been used for countless generations in Asia. But the way we now use soy is very different than the way the Asians have traditionally used it. The ancient Asians knew that the soybean was hard to digest, so they had extensive fermenting processes that broke down most of the indigestible components, making it much healthier to eat. Examples of this would be products like soy sauce, tempeh, and miso. These were used in small amounts as condiments and flavorings, not as a meat replacement.
But the way we use soy as a meat alternative (texturized vegetable protein or TVP) can be very unhealthy, since soy contains large amounts of toxins or anti-nutrients. Some of the problems the anti-nutrients in soybeans cause are conditions of the pancreas, cancer and thyroid problems. Soybeans also can block the body’s absorption of essential minerals.
Granola (and Other Unprepared Grains)
For the last 30-40 years granola has been synonymous with heath food. But eating unprepared grains, or grains that have not been soaked, fermented or sprouted, has only come about in the last 50-100 years. People who lived before our time understood that unprepared grains could cause dietary distress.
There are anti-nutrients in grains (like there are in soybeans), such as phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors, that make them harder to digest. These antinutrients can cause serious problems like Crohn’s disease, colitis, and even mental disorders. Our failure to prepare our grains properly is one of the reasons that celactic disease is so prevalent now.
So, stay away from the granola. Oatmeal is an excellent addition to our diets, but use whole rolled oats (not instant) and soak them overnight before boiling them for breakfast. Go to our recipe blog at http://coconut-recipes.blogspot.com for a good recipe for coconut oatmeal.
Good breads to eat are those that have properly prepared grains, including whole grain sourdough and sprouted grain breads. You can usually find these in specialty grocery stores and health food stores.
If you are trying to lose weight and/or eat healthier, remember that just because a company markets a “healthy” product well or a health food store sells it, it doesn’t mean that it is really healthy for you. Do some research before you grab that sports bar, or better yet, reach for an organic apple, cherries, or some other natural (not processed) food. Your body will thank you and reward you for it.