Unhealthy Health Food

I read an article in the CanFit Magazine the other day titled “What’s Hiding In Your Health Food” that got me thinking. Alright, thinking is an over-stretch. Rant is probably more appropriate.

While I agreed with the majority of the article (scroll down for the summary), it made me unbelievably annoyed that it needed to be written in the first place.

Nutrition is a complex world. Many view it as all encompassing. Most are confused by what is “healthy” and they have a right to be. Between bad advice, misinforming labels, and hearsay, it’s hard to know what to believe.

ingredient

More unfortunate is that food advertising agencies play upon this confusion in the hope of selling you crap. A prime example is the transition between “fat free” and “gluten free”- two common hype words.

fat free

Five years ago, fat free was the way to shop. Brownies, crackers, pastries all claimed to be “fat free” and thus healthy. This word has since been replaced by gluten. Gluten Free claims are popping up all over the place. But here’s a piece of advice:

The gluten free brownie… is still a brownie. Those words, do not make it “healthy”.

Anyways, back to the article. I actually found it a good read and thought I’d share some o the authors (Kristin Schell) insight & advice. Below are her top five “health foods” the be weary of.

 

“All Natural” foods

pepsiYou’ve seen these foods. They pop up on crackers, chicken even dessert mixes. But the kicker is that this term is not regulated. While the word natural implies no added vitamins, ingredients flavors etc it is misdirected. Technically, flavors that resemble food found in nature can fall under this label. Natural flavor especially can legally contain glutamate bi-products like MSG, high fructose corn syrup & GMO’s.

 

 

High Protein Granola Bars

Most of the bars are made with soy protein (cheap, highly processed and poor quality) and multiple sources of sugars so that you don’t quite realize how much is in there. Often the bars contain some form of hydrogenation amongst all the additives as well (Tip: less that 0.5g can be marked as zero trans fat- though the amount is still significant for our health).

 

Agave Nectar

agaveWhile this form of sugar does rank lower on the glycemix index it relies on a chemical dominant process for manufacturing. Agave contains mostly fructose which is actually not metabolized properly by the body, instead it by passes the bloodstream and heads right to the liver.

 

 

 

Carrageenan

Used as a thickener in ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese etc. While it has been shows as a health food, some mice studies were revealed to develop profound glucose intolerance and impaired insulin action with high consumption. It has also been shown to lead to bowel inflammation which would be difficult to process for anyone with digestive disorders

 

Vegetable Oils

Omega 6’s themselves are not bad. We need inflammation in our bodies. However, due to our large consumption of these oils, our omega 6:3 ratios have become seriously out of order. The original 3:1 have grown upwards of 15:1 in the average person. This leads to a constant state of inflammation. Aside from this ratio, these oils go through an intense chemical extraction, high temperature processing and deodorizing.

 

Personally, I find it ridiculous that we need to question so many aspects regarding nutrition and what is promoted as “healthy”. The best advice I can give is to consume real food and be aware of what you put into your body. While one instance may not do you harm, multiple additives every day, for multiple days may.

Happy Eating ๐Ÿ™‚