When it comes to healthy eating, you must filter out the commodities. Commodities are products that are simply being pushed in the interest of profit. Companies will claim their product is “heart-healthy” or that it helps with “regularity.”
The truth has been coming out in recent years, however, that these foods are anything but. Here’s a list of 5 things that are pushed by corporations that are abysmally bad for your health.
This is a huge category of food that includes things such as bread, pasta, and especially cereal. There area few reasons why these are some of the unhealthiest things you can put in your body. The main factor is that all refined grains are carbs, and the body has no nutritional requirement for carbs whatsoever. To put it bluntly, anyone that claims you must eat refined grains for health is flat out untrustworthy.
In the process of becoming refined grains, the bran and germ are also removed. This means that the b vitamins and fiber are stripped away, making its nutritional profile even worse. “Well what about whole grain?” you might ask.
This doesn’t change much for two reasons. One, to make pastas, cereals, and bread, the grain is still ground up and “ruined” structurally from its natural state. This affects how the body absorbs it and can promote an unhealthy insulin response. Second, much of the “healthy” protein in grain is not able to be digested by our body. What looks decent on the nutrition label is misleading.
This protein, known as gluten, also cannot be completely broken down in our digestive system. When its separated into gliadin and glutenin, these proteins cause gut permeability or “leaky gut.” Leaky gut is linked to all kinds of inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.
Conclusion: Most people will see significant improvement in health by simply not eating refined grain products.
Fruit and Especially Fruit Juice
The problem with fruit is not that it’s inherently unhealthy. It’s more of a problem with overabundance. Nowadays, people can go to the grocery and pick up any kind of fruit they want, any time they want it, regardless of season. Couple this with the fact that many nutritional bodies recommend eating fruit for health benefits and you have people eating it year-round as a snack.
Fruit is high in the molecule fructose, which should be considered a toxin. It’s metabolized almost identically to alcohol and can cause much of the same health problems, such as liver and visceral fat accumulation and cell damage. In the words of Dr. Robert Lustig:
“You’d never think about giving your kid a beer, but you don’t think twice about giving your kid a coke and they do the same thing.”
Not only is fructose very bad for the body (particularly the liver), it affects hormones and makes you hungrier. This makes sense evolutionarily for fruit; they want to be eaten to spread their seed when animals defecate. It’s bad news for humans, however, because overeating due to hormones is a key factor in obesity.
Conclusion: Limit fruit while eliminating fruit juice and dried fruit from diet to reduce fructose intake. Try to eat in season and only as a treat.
Vegetable and Seed Oils
Seed oils have had one of the most forced marketing pushes out of anything on this list. They are advertised as being “heart-healthy,” and containing “no cholesterol,” or having “beneficial omega-6 fatty acids.” They include canola, corn and sunflower oil, and their byproducts such as margarine or butter substitutes.
When you look closely, however, you realize that these products are highly processed. It originally was labeled toxic waste until Procter and Gamble started using it in soap!
To make seed oils, seeds are heated and treated with petroleum to extract their oil. Then, they smell and look so terrible that they must be treated with even more chemicals to make them tolerable.
This process has numerous negative effects on human health. One of the worst might be that high omega 6 has far-reaching health disadvantages.
Conclusion: Remove seed oils from your diet. Replace with oils that have low omega 6 such as olive oil or avocado oil. Ghee, lard and butter are also significantly better.
Sugar is everywhere. If you look close enough, you’ll find it in almost every single product not in the produce section of a grocery store. Sugar intake can be directly traced to every single chronic illness affecting humans worldwide. And yet, there are still studies popping up blaming fat and processed meats.
One important thing to note is that this includes not only fruits, but all sweeteners. Just because honey, maple syrup and agave are “all natural” doesn’t mean that they aren’t pure sugar. Anything containing a combination of glucose and fructose is harmful for our bodies and should be consumed in moderation.
There are studies that show sugar intake can kill the cells in our pancreas that create insulin – the hormone that regulates blood sugar. This directly leads to Type 2 Diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Conclusion: Heavily limit or eliminate sugar intake; it is one of the most harmful substances we can put in our bodies.
Processed food is what some may refer to as a triple whammy. If the 4 foods above (I reluctantly call sugar and seed oils food) aren’t bad enough, they are all combined into the processed food umbrella term. Some products, such as prepackaged sandwiches contain added sugar, refined grains AND vegetable oils.
While each product might seem like a terrible thing to put in your body, processed foods take it to a whole new level: Combining them into one convenient package. The level of damage to our bodies from consuming processed foods, especially with regularity, is just disastrous. Processed foods are nothing more than a commodity meant to reduce cost for a corporation.
Conclusion: Limit prepackaged and boxed foods as much as possible; eat real foods found in the produce section and butcher section of your grocery.
Eliminating the above foods should be the first step towards maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle.