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10 "Healthy" Foods That Are Actually Destroying Your Body

by Kyle Tuttle

Piles of fresh vegetables
Image source: lymang

"Low fat".

"Sugar Free".

"No Salt Added".

Walk down any grocery store isle and you'll be bombarded with messages promoting the health benefits of everything from skim milk to diet soda. Marketers have taken the public's obsession with health and weight and used it to launch "healthy" versions of just about everything. Many grocery stores don't even offer whole milk any more.

But how good for you is all this "health food" really? You'd be surprised. Here's the top 10 culprits that are far more likely to harm than help:

  1. Yogurt — Natural, unsweetened yogurt (like the Greek variety) is good for you (good protein and calcium, boosts digestive health). It's that "fruit on the bottom" stuff that's terrible. Packed with corn syrup, you can easily consume well over 30 grams of sugar per six-ounce serving (not to mention the artery-clogging saturated fat in many of the richer varieties).

  2. Granola — Here's a breakfast cereal that's a great idea in theory - lots of nuts, grains and a little dried fruit. In practice, however, most granolas are loaded with processed sugar and corn syrup, not to mention trans-fats. Just read the ingredients and see how high sugar comes up on the list. It's usually pretty high. And forget about granola bars.

  3. Fruit juice — "100% Fruit Juice". "Natural Flavors". "No Sugar Added". The fact is: There's no need to add sugar when the original product packs more than enough to rot your teeth and give you type II diabetes if you drink it on a regular basis. Believe it or not, you're actually better off drinking diet soda than most fruit juices. Which leads us to...

  4. Diet Soda — Sure, you've lost the sugar and some of the calories, but you've traded that for potentially carcinogenic artificial sweeteners. Sort of like trading a punch in the face for a kick in the groin. Try sparkling water instead. Or have some milk.

  5. Tofu — Tofu is actually not that bad (and I personally love the stuff). But all soy products should be eaten in moderation, as excessive soy consumption has been shown to increase estrogen in males and has been linked to an increased breast cancer risk in females.

    It appears that infants and fetuses are particularly susceptible to the phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) in soy, raising concerns that soy has the potential to alter reproductive and hormonal development. Finally, some claim that unfermented soy contains a variety of toxic chemicals.

  6. Bran Muffins — Filling and delicious (and great to get you poopin') bran muffins are a quick and easy morning treat. But they're also often full of refined flour and processed sugar. These should be treated as the desert they are and eaten sparingly, not scarfed regularly for breakfast.

  7. Baked Beans — Beans are packed with fiber and protein and are usually a great health food. But when you start soaking them in a can of syrup that has as much sugar as many sodas, you've effectively wiped out most of the health benefits of nature's musical fruit. Stick with simple kidney beans; avoid the baked variety.

  8. Low-Fat Salad Dressings — Fat is what gives most food its "tasty" element. When that fat is taken out, the "tastiness" is usually replaced with lots of sugar (or those potentially cancerous artificial sweeteners we mentioned earlier). What's more, higher-fat salad dressing might actually be better for you, as many of the fat-soluble nutrients in the salad dressing are removed when the fat is taken out.

  9. Protein Bars — Loaded with protein and vitamins...and fat and sugar, protein bars are really a mixed bag. Okay for the occasional snack, they're really only one step up from a candy bar. You want high-quality protein? Eat eggs and lean meats.

  10. Fish — Health celebrities like Dr. Andrew Weil have long touted the health benefits of fish, and with good reason. Fish really does offer great protein, and the omega-3 fatty acids really do appear to offer a plethora of health benefits.

    But some fish also put you at an increased risk for methylmercury poisoning. In fact nearly all fish and shellfish contain some mercury contamination, with Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel, and Tilefish sporting particularly high levels. Canned light tuna, for all the bad press it's received, is actually one of the lower-mercury foods. Still, all fish should be eaten in moderation, and pregnant women (or women who may become pregnant), nursing mothers, and young children should be especially careful.

Ever notice how every few years the media changes its story about eggs? First they're good for you, then they're cholesterol-laden killers, then they're good for you again, at least until they're bad for you once more.

Most of the foods on the list are kind of like that. They have good and bad parts, and eaten in moderation none are going to kill you. But beware the marketing hype. Remember, whenever advertising tells you something is healthy, they're trying to sell you something. Don't take it at face value.

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