Frustrated with low energy? Do you often feel bloated? Fed up with unexplained aches and pains?
These are all signs that you’re eating the 12 foods to avoid.
Have you ever been eating a so-called health food, to later discover that it’s actually harmful?
It’s occurred to me more times than I care to remember!
What is the cause?
We Fall Victim to Trends
When it comes to our health, we all want to be eating the latest headline-grabbing superfood.
Something the health industry knows only too well.
We, therefore, find ourselves reading about a food’s remarkable health benefits.
And as a result, 61 percent of us have bought a food or drink simply because it had been labelled as a superfood.
More often than not, these claims are at best, based on tenuous links to flawed research (see foods you should never eat #12).
What About ‘Normal’ Foods to Avoid?
It’s not just ‘superfoods’ that cause confusion in the public mind.
Many genuinely wholesome foods have been subject to makeovers to give them more commercial appeal.
This usually translates to more taste.
Food companies achieve this by piling in a load of salt, sugar and/or unhealthy fats.
How Advertisers use Marketing Psychology
Perhaps the real danger comes from what’s known in the advertising world as the ‘sleeper effect’: the source of the claim fades faster than the benefit.
In other words, your brain quickly forgets where the information came from – a dubious marketing campaign or the government’s top health adviser.
No wonder most of us are so confused about the foods to avoid when considering our health!
So without further ado, I present to you the 12 foods to avoid if you don’t want to put your health at risk.
1. Goji Berries
The goji berry is widely touted as one of the top health foods.
In fact, I used to eat them every day.
Until I realized they can cause a host of health problems, wreaking havoc on your system.
Goji berries can cause leaky gut.
This condition allows yeast, toxins, and all other forms of waste to flow freely from your gut into your bloodstream.
Leaky gut can cause:
- Diarrhea, constipation, gas and bloating.
- Vitamin deficiencies.
- Crashed immune system.
- Headaches, brain fog and memory loss.
- Constant fatigue.
If that wasn’t bad enough, goji berries can make you hyperactive, disturb your sleep, cause dizziness and increase the effects of pollen sufferers!
A far better alternative is to eat native berries with a proven track record.
Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and black currants are all great and won’t leave you clutching your stomach in agony!
Make sure you choose organic. Non-organic strawberries are sprayed liberally with hazardous pesticides.
See also: 15 Zero Calorie Foods for Weight Loss
2. Processed Meats
There’s no doubt about it:
Processed meats are delicious!
So needless to say, this makes them one of the most difficult to resist foods to avoid.
And processed meats come in many forms such as bacon, ham, pepperoni, even the great British banger.
However, a report by the World Health Organisation says that processed meats pose the same cancer risk as smoking and asbestos.
The warning comes after the fact that processed meat has been classified as a ‘definite’ cause of cancer.
Whilst red meats are classed as ‘probable’, you can still enjoy a steak in moderation. For now.
Avoid cooking at very high temperatures though, as this can produce carcinogenic compounds, the same as those present in cigarette smoke.
Swap out your processed red meats for organic chicken, turkey and plenty of fresh water and oily fish such as mackerel and salmon (see below for which type).
3. Raw Kale
Kale has become a very popular addition to healthy smoothies.
So how has it made it onto the list of foods to avoid?
The clue is in the title:
Eating RAW kale can prevent your thyroid gland from getting the healthy amount of iodine it needs to function properly.
This is due to the presence of goitrogens.
Simply boil for around 5 minutes and drain off the water.
This will eliminate the goitrogens almost entirely.
4. Soy Protein
Fermented soy is one thing.
But eating unfermented soy – the type found in soy milk and soy protein – is something else entirely.
Whilst in the UK, GM foods are no longer grown commercially, the same is not true for many other areas such as the US.
Here, soy is genetically modified to withstand the chemical glyphosate, the active ingredient in popular herbicides such as ‘Roundup’ (a toxic weedkiller!).
Recent findings out of Norway found “extreme” levels of this chemical in soy products.
Put another way: you’re effectively consuming weed killer.
Unfortunately, there’s no true substitute for soy but if you love tofu in your stir-fry, try swapping it out for mushrooms.
5. Sweetened Yogurt
Yes, it may well be.
But chances are a pot of your favorite ‘healthy’ yogurt contains more sugar than two chocolate biscuits!
Is there a better alternative?
The thick, creamy texture of Greek yogurt makes for the perfect substitute.
What’s more, it contains probiotic cultures, is lower in lactose and has twice the protein content of regular yogurts.
Adding fruits and berries will sweeten it up whilst sprinkling nuts, seeds and oats improve texture.
6. Farmed Salmon
I was duped for years by eating ‘Atlantic’ salmon which upon close inspection is actually farmed in Scotland.
A salmon farm can hold upwards of 2 million salmon in cramped conditions teeming with bacteria, drugs, and pesticides.
These dangerous chemicals are used to stave off parasitic hitchhikers that fish often carry known as “super-lice”.
One of which is known to have neurotoxic effects.
Even the feed pellets used to grow the salmon can be toxic.
It gets worse:
Once they reach adulthood, farmed salmon is grey in color.
But worry not! An artificial dye is added to give the fish its reassuring pink hue.
What’s the healthy option?
Eat only wild-caught Alaskan salmon or mackerel from the icy waters of the Atlantic.
I am capable of downing truly foul-tasting foods and drinks in the name of good health.
Wheatgrass is where I draw the line.
It’s a nightmare on your taste buds and your wallet!
Let’s be clear:
Wheatgrass is, well… just grass!
Wheatgrass fans insist it’s packed full of vital nutrients…chlorophyll, amino acids, iron, fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins…and yes, it does have some nutrients.
However, unless you have four stomachs like a cow, humans can’t digest wheatgrass or any other type of grass.
Still not convinced?
When one of my cats wants to make itself sick, it will eat grass. This alone should tell you something!
8. Fake Coffee
Coffee has recently been making inroads into the health and fitness space.
We’re no stranger to tales of how it wards off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, burns fat and contains healthy nutrients.
All of which is true.
However, when regular ground coffee is dressed up as a vanilla latte or a caramel macchiato, it’s sugar content skyrockets.
Some of your favorite high-street caffeine fixes contain a whopping 50 grams of sugar!
This equates to a donut, a giant cookie or a liter of coke…double your recommended daily sugar intake.
9. Fruit Juice
Most of us keep a carton of fruit juice in the fridge because of its supposedly healthy credentials.
However, a study published in the journal ‘Nutrition’ revealed that the average fruit juice’s fructose concentration is 45.5 grams per litre.
So what’s the big deal?
Well, fructose is processed almost exclusively in the liver, where it’s converted to fat.
Fructose intolerance can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea and gas.
Worse still, most people suffering from fructose intolerance, don’t even know they have it.
If you believe you may be fructose intolerant, experiment with lower fructose foods.
Blueberries, strawberries, carrots, avocados, green beans and lettuce all make the grade.
See also: 18 Low Carb Meals for Weight Loss
10. Vegetable Oils
Hand-in-hand with margarine (see below), vegetable oils also make it onto the list of foods to avoid.
Cleverly marketed as healthy foods, oils such as canola oil are highly inflammatory.
Over time, chronic inflammation can cause DNA damage and lead to cancer.
In addition, canola oil contains heart attack-triggering trans fats.
Corn, soybean, sunflower, and safflower oils, are all omega 6-rich, the culprit behind the inflammatory response.
Try using healthy red palm oil, olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil instead.
11. Artificial Sweeteners
Many of us made the switch to diet sodas believing we were making the right health choice.
After all, they’re sugar-free!
But at what cost?
Artificial sweeteners cause symptoms ranging from headaches and migraines to weight gain and even more serious conditions like cardiovascular disease.
Ironically, they retrain your taste buds to expect progressively sweeter foods which leads to obesity, kidney damage and type II diabetes.
Watch out for the top 5:
- Acesulfame K.
- Xylitol or Sorbitol.
Can’t believe it’s not butter?
The good news is you no longer have to!
Saturated fats in butter is unlikely to kill you, but margarine just might.
Introduced in the 80’s to rival butter and to satisfy the low-fat craze, many succumbed to the ‘health benefits’ of margarine.
I too, at one point, smeared my toast with a 5% fat margarine. It tasted like plastic and smelled just as bad.
Saturated fat has been vilified since the 1950’s. Research suggested a link between high saturated fat intake and deaths from heart disease.
But the study author drew his conclusion on data from six countries, whilst choosing to ignore data from a further 16 which conflicted with his hypothesis!
Margarine, therefore, has very little going for it despite its trumped-up health benefits.
The trans fats or highly processed fats it contains increase the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke.
Solution: swap out your marge for butter or ghee from grass-fed cows.
Knowing which foods to avoid for greater health and longevity has never been easy.
Even governments and top health advisers get it wrong from time to time.
Try and eat organic, whole foods, which are in-season and native to your land.
And most important: the next time a food makes the headlines for its supposed health benefits, try to resist being swept up by the ensuing mania.
Research the topic for yourself. Does this food really live up to its claims?
Or is it just another passing fad?
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Thanks for staying to the end!
Have you been eating any of the above 12 foods to avoid? What are your views on their supposed health benefits?
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