Many foods are marketed as healthy or “all natural” these days. In fact, you don’t have to go to a health food store to find such items anymore. Yet, what you are lead to believe is healthy for you, is often, quite to the contrary. Let’s take a look at three health foods that you’d be wise to leave behind nine times out of ten.
Soy, a vegetarian protein alternative to meat, became prominent in the vegetarian/health-food scene around the 70’s & 80’s, gaining popularity in the 90’s. In the last decade it has been highly marketed as a “health food” and is now served in many restaurants, not just those focused on vegetarian fare.
Soy poses many health problems for various reasons. It contains phytoestrogens which have been found to be endocrine disruptors, creating hormone imbalances in the body and potentially other adverse health affects. Studies have linked soy to “malnutrition, digestive distress, immune system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders, and infertility—even cancer and heart disease.”
In fact, soy is a known carcinogen. Soy consumption significantly increases the chances of cancer development, especially for those who’ve been exposed to these phytoestrogens since birth, which today is nearly everyone. Soy-based infant formulas dominate the market place. Several years ago, in 2010, soy-based formulas already made up a third of the market. And, today it’s in many processed foods as well.
Further health issues are spun from the unfortunate fact that nearly all soybeans produced in the U.S. are genetically modified (GMO). Since the introduction of genetically engineered (GE) foods there’s been an notable increase in “low birth weight babies, infertility, and other problems.” Animal studies link GE soy specifically to “allergies, sterility, birth defects, and offspring death rates up to five times higher than normal.”
Furthermore, soybean crops are contaminated with high levels of toxic herbicides, particularly glyphosate, which researchers have found to be carcinogenic. And lastly, soybeans (including organically grown) contain natural “anti-nutrients” that create further issues for the body, especially difficult digestion.
The exception is fermented soy (ie. tempeh, miso), in which the anti-nutrients mentioned above, are eliminated through the fermentation process qualifying it as a true “health food” that offers the benefits of soy while avoiding the negative effects. Only organic non-GMO fermented soy is recommended.
In its unadulterated form, yogurt contains an abundance of probiotics which helps build a strong immune system by replenishing good bacteria in the body, particularly the gut. Unfortunately, nearly all yogurt is overly processed, sabotaging the aforementioned benefits. These processed yogurts also contain numerous unnecessary damaging ingredients as well as a toxic carryover over from the poor practices of factory farms.
The process of pasteurization and homogenization that’s standard for all store bought yogurts destroys its nutrients. Culturing this denatured dairy into yogurt does not yield a nutrient- and probiotic-rich food.
Beware of the labels that read “live and active cultures,” particularly on non-organic brands. Research provided by an organic watchdog organization, Cornucopia Institute, reports that farmstead organic yogurts lacking the “live and active cultures” tagline actually contain more probiotic cultures than conventional yogurts labeled as such.
Processed yogurt, coupled with its troublesome additives and toxic carryover creates an end-product that does more damage than good. In fact, dairy is a highly inflammatory and mucous forming food, and is far from healthy beyond its probiotic immune boosting potential (destroyed through processing). Inflammation in the body coupled with systemic excess mucous is highly linked to the disease process.
Considering the additives found in yogurt alone falsifies its “health food” status. Some additives to look out for, but are not limited to are: artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, artificial colors such as red #40, yellow #6, blue #1, processed sugar, high fructose corn syrup, synthetic preservatives, and the controversial thickener carrageenan.
The majority of yogurt has some form of added sugar making its sugar content extremely high. Yogurts with fruit aren’t any healthier as the natural sugars found in fruit only further tips the scale alongside the other added sugars. Most conventional brands contain more sugar than a single Twinkie.
Lastly, the majority of yogurts in the marketplace are sourced from animals that are far from healthy. Factory farm cows are deprived of their natural environment and habitat, lacking exposure to sunlight or the freedom to graze. They are forced to eat GMO grains when they are by their very nature herbivores—intended to eat plant-life and grasses.
They are injected with ridiculous amounts of antibiotics—unbelievably over 80% of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. They are beefed up with hormones and in many cases blatantly abused with the underlying goal of beefing up production and profits. The repercussions of such practices in the form of lost health and vitality to the consumer are devastating.
Choose your dairy wisely by investing in organic yogurt minimally. Plain yogurt with minimal additives, sugar free with no fruit added is your best bet. Ideally buy your dairy from local farmers, raw—never heated and make your own homemade yogurt and kefir cultures. Otherwise, you’re better off leaving the dairy to the calves.
Consider this: we are the only species that doesn’t ween from “mother’s milk” after infancy, and furthermore, are the only ones to consume milk derived from a different species than our own.
Fruit juice, by association to “fruit” which is considered healthy by most, is easily perceived as a health food. Marketers don’t have to work hard to convince consumers that fruit, and therefore fruit juice, is good for them. The problem is that nobody’s telling consumers that most fruit juices contain minimal real fruit juice. This is where smart consumers will learn to read labels.
Fruit juices are mostly made from concentrate and/or synthetic ingredients, loaded with additives and preservatives that do nothing but damage the body. Many organic juices, due to additives and preservatives, do not score much better.
As a society, we are ‘addicted’ to sugar—and fruit juice is just one way we’ve been hooked by the unscrupulous food industry.
The problem multiplies as the industry’s pursuit of profits fuels their motivation to add various forms of “fruit juice” to the majority of processed foods. The end goal is to get you addicted so you’ll buy more.
Sugar has been shown to be as dangerous as cocaine. It is just as addictive, lights up the brain in the same way that cocaine does, and it’s readily available—and legal.
Food “crave experts” are intentionally hired to make sure you get “hooked” on processed foods that literally have nearly zero nutritional value. They are in fact, pseudo foods, and can’t possibly offer you the nutrition levels of real food—that which your body requires to be healthy. Americans are starting to recognize this alarming truth.
When you think “health food” think fresh produce and healthy grains, seeds, nuts, and oils. Avoid the dairy aisle and the gluttony of processed foods found in the periphery of the store. It’s that simple—buy real food. Food in which your great-great grandmother would have called “food”.