1. Fruit Juice
Most people are generally shocked to learn that fruit juice (in abundance) is actually quite harmful for them. First off, most varieties you see at the store are pasteurized, which basically renders these products useless because they are stripped of much of their nutrition.
Heating juice denatures (or kills) the chemical makeup of vitamins and minerals and unless it is truly “raw,” it is little more than flavored fructose.
If you make it fresh at home, a glass of fruit juice here and there won’t hurt you; but when consumed every day it does a considerable amount of damage because it causes a major spike in blood glucose
Think of it in this way: When you sit down to drink an 8-ounce glass of orange juice, you’re consuming the juice of 4 medium-sized oranges in literally seconds or a few minutes at the most. Compare this to how long it would take to eat 4 oranges, and you can quickly see how eating fruit in its whole form is best.
How many people can even eat 4 oranges at once? It would take quite a while to comfortably consume this amount of fruit in one sitting. Just think about all the calories burned as you peel, chew and digest these 4 oranges. It might not seem like much, but it’s a lot more than simply slurping down a glass of OJ in 10 seconds!
So, remember these key points about fruit juice before you make fruit juice part of your everyday breakfast experience:
- When you eat 4 oranges in one sitting, your blood sugar naturally (and gradually) climbs up and descends down like a bell curve – Nice and easy.
- When drinking the juice of 4 oranges in a short time, your glucose levels rise up immediately and then suddenly drop down making you“crash,” which contributes to chronic fatigue and the desire for another boost.
- This sudden crash is called hypoglycemia and, because our bodies aren’t designed to consume this amount of fructose in one sitting, normal insulin levels cannot handle the amount of sugar in our blood and it puts extreme stress on the body. (1)
- This is why drinking juice on a regular basis can lead to obesity. If the body cannot metabolize the excess fructose in the blood, where else is all that extra sugar going to get stored?
- And last of all, even if someone theoretically drinks their juice slowly and stretches it out for 30+ minutes, they’re still lacking the fiber.
- By design, fruit contains a considerable amount of soluble and insoluble fiber to help aid the digestion process, help us feel “full,” and to feed the probiotics in our gut. Regularly drinking juice robs the body of this vital nutrient and is oftentimes associated with diarrhea and other GI concerns.
2. Soy Protein
Contrary to popular belief, soy products are not healthy for you; at least, that is, unfermented soy. Miso, Natto, tempeh, and tamari are one thing. But eating edamame, soy milk and soy protein is quite another.
First off, nearly 100% of all soy grown in the U.S. is genetically modified and is “Roundup ready,” which means that it has a chemical pesticide to “naturally” repel bugs.
Secondly, most people lack the enzymes necessary to digest unfermented soy, similarly to how many people are lactose intolerant. This causes indigestion, gas, bloating, and a whole slew of GI issues.
Third, it is generally accepted that long-term use of soy dietary supplements like soy protein is unsafe because it has been linked to the following: (2)
- Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
- Breast cancer
- Cystic fibrosis
- Endometrial cancer
- Hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid)
- Kidney disease
- Urinary bladder cancer
- And many more…
All of these reasons are great reasons why soy is definitely one of the “health” foods you should never eat.
3. Farmed Fish
Other health foods you should never eat are farmed fish. I’ve written extensively on farmed fish and (in my opinion)eating tilapia is worse than eating bacon! Even salmon, touted for being the health fish of choice is virtually poison to consume if farmed.
Because most are fed genetically modified feed and, according to the non-profit watch dog organization Environmental Working Group (EWG),
“Seven of ten farmed salmon purchased at grocery stores in Washington DC, San Francisco, and Portland, Oregon were contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at levels that raise health concerns, according to independent laboratory tests commissioned by Environmental Working Group.” (3)
In other words, the farmed-fish in our grocery stores:
- Most likely contain the highest PCB-contaminated protein source in the U.S. food supply.
- Contain up to 40 times more PCBs than other foods.
- Is 16 times more likely to contain the dioxin-like PCBs than wild-caught varieties, 4 times more than in beef, and 3.4 times more than in other seafood.
In addition, to PCB’s and GMO’s, farm-raised fish have been shown to contain these known neurotoxins and carcinogens:
- Dioxins – Industrial byproducts from waste treatment plants.
- Toxaphene – Banned pesticide since 1982.
- Dieldrin – Another prohibited pesticide.
4. Microwaved Popcorn
Another one of my top “health” foods you should never eat is non-organic, genetically modified corn microwave popcorn. Filled with carcinogens, it is just not worth the convenience. Even if you were to find some organic varieties out there, it still wouldn’t be safe to eat because microwavable bags are coated with PFOAs, a chemical that is liked to cancer. (4)
Also, fake butter flavoring contains a compound called diacetyl, which causes a serious lung disease when inhaled in large quantities. (5)
Next time you get that hankering for some popcorn, simply pop your own. Purchase plain, organic popcorn kernels at a natural foods store. Use coconut oil or organic butter and pour 3 tablespoons into a heavy stainless steel pan.
Put two kernels in the pan and wait until one pops, then pour 1/3 cup of popcorn in the pan and cover it. As it pops, make sure you shake the pan to allow the steam to escape and prevent the popcorn from burning. Remove from the pan when the popping stops and season as desired. Some great toppings include nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.
5. Conventional Meat
Non-organic, genetically modified meat products are absolute death foods and, absolutely foods that you should never eat. Even if it is “lean” with all the excess fat trimmed off, should never be part of anyone’s natural health regimen.
Essentially, YOU are what THEY eat and if the livestock that you’re grilling up for supper is force-fed pesticide-ridden, hormone-stuffed feed, then that’s what enters in your GI tract and literally gets stored in your fat cells.
Like everything, read and reread your labels and be sure that the meat you’re purchasing is safe. Even if it says “grass-fed,” still do your homework. The grass-fed vs. grain-fed debate still rages on and isn’t as clear-cut as once suspected. (6)
My recommendation is that you always purchase meat from a trusted local source. Get to know your food growers and ranchers. It’s worthwhile to become familiar with how your food is sourced and prepared.
You’d think that the “margarine myth” would have been put to bed years ago, but margarine is still being praised as a health food. (7) In the words of the Mayo clinic, the margarine vs. butter race is all about fats and cholesterol:
“Margarine is made from vegetable oils, so it contains no cholesterol. Margarine is also higher in “good” fats — polyunsaturated and monounsaturated — than butter is. These types of fats help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol when substituted for saturated fat.
Butter, on the other hand, is made from animal fat, so it contains cholesterol and high levels of saturated fat. (7)”
Unfortunately, it’s not that straight forward. Ever since it was created, margarine has been made out of trans fat, which are known to clog arteries and cause cardiovascular disease. Trans fat also increases someone’s risk of developing type II diabetes and several other severe health problems. (8)
A study in 1997 showed that margarine, with its high transfat content appeared to increase the incidence of coronary heart disease. (9) Saturated fats however have been found to increase good cholesterol and lower the bad. It just doesn’t add up!
And then there’s butter. From Time Magazine to the New York Times, the word is out, that butter is back! The fat-soluble vitamins in butter far outrank margarine. Butter is loaded with Vitamins A, E, and K2 (which is higher in grass-fed dairy).
Vitamin K2 helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer and osteoporosis). (10, 11, 12) Butter also changes the structure of short chain LDL fatty acids (which are linked to heart disease) into more benign longer chain fatty acids.
So, to sum up, if saturated fats are good, and margarine is low in saturated fats, then there is really no reason for us to consider it good for us!
7. Vegetable Oils
Some more “health” foods you should never eat are vegetable oils. Hand-in-hand with margarine, vegetable oils like canola are not healthy by any stretch of the imagination. They are usually genetically modified, are partially hydrogenated and have been linked to: (13, 14)
- Birth defects
- Bone and tendon problems
- Digestive disorders
- Heart disease
- Immune system impairment
- Increased cholesterol levels
- Learning disabilities
- Liver problems
- Low birth weights
- Reduced growth
- Sexual dysfunction
- Skin reactions
- Vision reduction
I recommend pure, cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil. When buying coconut oil you should make sure it smells like coconut when you buy it, otherwise it has been most likely pasteurized and is not as healthy for you.
8. Table Salt
Standard table salt definitely makes my list of top health foods you should never eat. Pretty much everyone has heard that white table salt causes hypertension, yet that hasn’t stopped more than 95% of restaurants in the nation from stocking it on every table and food bar! (15)
Originally produced from sea salt, refined table salt technically starts as a “real” food then quickly becomes fake. Manufacturers use harvesting methods that strip it of all its naturally-occurring minerals, and then use a number of additives (including aluminum) to dry it and heat it to temperatures of about 1,200 degrees.
Because it was destroyed, the naturally occurring iodine is then replaced with potassium iodide in potentially toxic amounts. The salt is then stabilized with dextrose, which turns it purple. Finally it is bleached white.
A much more suitable replacement is not even a replacement at all, but the original product! There are more than 10 significant health benefits of Celtic sea salt and Himalayan salt and I recommend that you start using either in your cooking.
9. Artificial Sweeteners
Being “artificial,” you’d think fake sweeteners would be used cautiously by people. Unfortunately, many doctors recommend them because they are supposedly safe for diabetics because they are low on the glycemic index (16).
Ironically, new research has shown that artificial sweeteners causes a disturbance in gut flora and can actually cause diabetes! (17)
Adding insult to injury, sugar substitutes have been clinically linked to: (18)
- Bladder cancer
- Brain tumors
- Breast cancer
- Weight gain/obesity
10. Conventional Milk
The last of the “health” foods you should never eat is milk. Following suit with most items on this Top 10 List, the dangers of conventional milk lays hidden in the genetic modification of the cow feed and hormones administered to boost milk production.
These toxins get transferred to people when they drink milk or eat conventional dairy products, which have been linked to many of the issues discussed in this article.
Similar to fruit juice, when raw milk is pasteurized, it also loses its nutritional content and is pretty much useless. Because the enzyme lactase is destroyed in the heating process, people cannot properly digest the milk sugar, lactose.
This issue has become so common that the National Institute of Health reports that, “Approximately 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy.” (19)
By far, raw milk is healthier and can usually be found in cheese or yogurt forms in local health food stores.