What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word “food”? Is it farmers? The FDA? Fast food? Healthy foods like fruits and veggies? When it comes to eating, there are many people who do not know what type of nutrition they should be getting, how much to eat each day, or even what to eat each day.
Since the beginning of the pandemic many people began to take their health into their own hands and that starts with what you are putting on your plate. However, food can be very deceiving. We might think that what we are eating is healthy when in reality it is pretty bad for you. (It is also important to note that everyone’s body is different and what may work for a friend might not work for you.)
In total, there are six major foods that you should try to avoid in your everyday life. The first is artificial sweeteners such as saccharin, neotame, aspartame, and sucralose. Ever heard of them? You can find them in Sweet N’ Low, Splenda, and Sweet One. These are what is marketed to us as an alternative if we are looking to lose weight, when in reality they cause diabetes and obesity. Some side effects include headaches, increased insulin levels, and destroys a healthy gut. In one study it was found that saccharin, which is in Sweet N’ Low, caused tumors in rats.
The second is processed carbs which includes foods like white bread, white rice, french fries, and cookies. Which is of course a huge food group that many of us may crave from time to time (we’ll get into that in a bit). Most of these are simple carbs which turn to sugar, explaining why once we eat them we feel a “sugar rush” then crash after. Wheat and corn are two of the highly processed foods within the food industry and the way they have been produced has changed over the years. Foods being handpicked by farmers is no such thing anymore and instead is harvested with big machines and pesticides.
The third group to avoid are preservatives which include nitrates, sulfites, MSG, BHA & BHT. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is used to make food last longer and taste better. It is also an excitotoxin meaning that it overstimulates nerves and causes them to die. It has also been found out that babies are four times more sensitive to exitotoxins, meaning that it should most likely be avoided by pregnant women. (Mrecola, et a., 2006)
The next food group to avoid is bad fats such as hydrogenated oils, shortening/margarine, and creamers. These are used to extend shelf life however, the good parts of the oil are taken out and replaced with more preservatives which in turn cause heart disease and digestive issues, just to name a few. Hydrogenated oils are trans-fats which are found in higher levels in unhealthy persons than healthy persons. These unhealthy fats also contain triglycerides which is the fat found in your blood and can cause many health problems as well.
Sugar is found in so many foods such as fructose, corn syrup, frozen foods, and sweets. Many doctors say that sugar is the number one killer and for a good reason. For one, it has such an addicting property. For example, if you get Starbucks coffee every day you are most likely going to continue to crave that coffee every morning. Why? It is loaded with sugar. Even things you would not think sugar is in like ketchup, think again. Once you begin to read labels and see how much sugar is in one portion of food it can be pretty scary. The American Heart Association recommends that women eat an average of 24 grams of sugar per day and for men it is 35 grams a day. To put that into perspective one Hershey’s chocolate bar contains 24 grams of sugar which is already the recommended daily dose for women!
Finally, soy has been marketed to us that it is healthy but it is actually the opposite (shocker right?) Soy oil, soy sauce, tamari, natto, and tofu are all examples of unhealthy versions of soy that we should try to stay away from. Not only for the reason that it is highly processed but for men and women it is bad for our hormones. In an article in Men’s Health, a study was conducted on a man who drank three quarts of soy milk every day and was experiencing symptoms such as erectile dysfunction, hair loss, and changes in his mood. It was also found that babies who were fed soy based formula got a comparable dose of five birth control pills per day. (Brownstein, 2011)
Added Sugar in the Diet. The Nutrition Source. (2019, January 2). https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/added-sugar-in-the-diet/#:~:text=The%20AHA%20suggests%20an%20added,of%20sugar)%20for%20most%20men.
Brownstein, Dr. David. “Soy Good For You? Not So Fast.” Natural Way to Heealth (Nov. 2011).
Mercola, Joseph, Degen. Pearsall-Nelson. Sweet Deception: Why Splenda, Nutrasweet, and the FDA May Be Hazardous to You Health. Nashville: Nelson, 2006.
Shell, J. (2013). Food to the Rescue. Mill City Press, Inc.
Soffritti M, Belpoggi F, Degli Esposti D, Lambertini L, Tibaldi E, Rigano A. First experimental demonstration of the multipotential carcinogenic effects of aspartame administered in the feed to Sprague-Dawley rats. Environ Health Perspect. 2006 Mar;114(3):379-85. doi: 10.1289/ehp.8711. PMID: 16507461; PMCID: PMC1392232.
The Times of India. (2021, January 27). Avoid These Fast Foods: The REAL reason why you must STOP eating fast food. The Times of India. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/food-news/the-real-reason-why-you-must-stop-eating-fast-food/photostory/80465883.cms?picid=80465898.