Nutritional advice must be taken carefully. Today, the nutrition-based industry is so large and lucrative, that many false promises and inferior products are dumped on us, and many of these so called 'health foods' have no scientific evidence to back their supposed benefits up.
Take these 7 supposed 'health foods' as examples and as a warning - check the actual evidence before you buy and consume these products!
1. Fruit Juice
We're not talking about the juice you squeeze at home, we're talking about the type of juice you buy at your local supermarket. These are not what they seem. Some of these may have traces of real fruit in them, but mostly they are just water that had sugar and artificial flavor added to it. So you're basically drinking sugared water.
Unfortunately, even 'real' fruit juice isn't really good for you, it pretty much loses most of the 'good stuff' that you get from eating an actual fruit. What is left? Sugar mostly, and a few vitamins.
For example, did you know that a glass of orange juice contains the same amount of sugar as a glass of Coca Cola?
You get no fiber, no chewing resistance (which helps your metabolism), and you're actually just consuming large amounts of sugar, and fast.
Discussing the harmful effects of overdosing on sugar is an article by itself, but in short, it leads to obesity, Diabetes, Heart conditions and many, many other problems.
So avoid fruit juice, and stick to the real thing - eat the fruit.
2. Whole Wheat
'Wait a minute,' you may be saying, 'we KNOW that whole wheat is healthier than refined wheat!'
True, it is. Doesn't make it good for you, though.
It's a little like smoking filtered cigarettes instead of unfiltered ones. You're still doing damage, it's just slower.
Wheat fiber can cause a Vitamin D deficiency, and lead to you burning through your stored amounts of this vitamins that much faster. If you don't get a lot of sun, you may experience some alarming health problems.
An important study revealed that whole wheat can raise your LDL levels (the really bad cholesterol) by a staggering 60%!.
Whole wheat has a lot of gluten in it, can cause digestion problems and all kinds of health problems and symptoms. Add that to the LDL and vitamin D issues and you have really unhealthy food product.
3. Agave Nectar
If you shop for health food, you're probably familiar with this sweetener that gives a sweet taste to food without adding sugar. It is promoted as a healthy alternative to sugar because it's natural.
But sugar is harmful mainly because it has too much fructose in it. Too much fructose in your diet will generate health problems, especially if you exercise much (which let's face it, most of us don't).
Fructose is metabolized by the liver, which often turns it into fat. This can cause a fatty disease in the liver, metabolic problems and reduce the body's resistance to insulin and leptin - leading to diabetes and obesity.
Regular sugar is 50% fructose. Agave? 90%. So if anything, Agave is actually WORSE than sugar!
So if you are looking for an alternative to sugar, agave nectar is NOT the answer.
4. Sports Drinks
You probably already know you shouldn't drink these if you want to stay healthy. Sports drinks were specially designed for athletes who have just finished a major workout, and need to replenish their liquid intake and glycogen.
For this goal, sports drinks contain:
Water, to replenish liquids.
Electrolytes, to replenish those lost through sweat, like sodium.
Sugar, to reboot the athlete's energy after a rigorous workout.
Unless you have just been through a serious workout, you don't need electrolytes, and you're probably already getting your sugar intake, while most people actually have too much sugar in their diet.
One bottle of Gatorade contains over 30 grams of pure sugar. That's a lot unless you really need it.
So drink water, it refreshes you without adding massive amounts of sugar to your diet.
5. Vegetable oil that is 'good for your heart'
While we want to avoid foods that harm our heart, we should also be sure to carefully check the products that promise us they are good for it. Industrial seed and vegetable oils like corn and soybean oils go through a lot of processing, including bleaching and the use of toxic solvent.
These oils have huge amounts of Omega-6 fatty acids, of which a small amount is good, a large amount - not so much. Too much of these fatty acids can lead to inflammation and chronic disease.
To make things worse, these industrial vegetable oils found at your local convenience store have about 0.56-4.2% of their fatty acids as trans-fats, which are very toxic. By the way, this doesn't include olive oil, which is actually very good for you.
6. Low-fat foods
The problem with low-fat or no-fat foods is that food manufacturers had to replace the fat with something else that tasted good. Fat usually gives food that great flavor we get addicted to. Low-fat foods are usually a lot less tasty. So to make these products more tasty, food manufacturers load them up with sugar, artificial sweeteners and chemicals.
This is basically removing something a little bad for you (fat) and replacing it with something that's much worse for you (sugar and artificial sweeteners).
Try to avoid low-fat foods unless they are naturally low fat. These are highly processed food products filled with sugar and chemicals.
7. Breakfast Cereals that claim to be 'healthy'
Most breakfast cereals, we're sorry to say, are NOT healthy for you. Actually, they are among the worst products you can consume, and are often loaded with too much sugar and refined carbohydrates. Add some synthetic vitamins, a tiny amount of whole grain, and suddenly you have a 'healthy' product.
Labels like fat-free, low-fat, whole-grain - are just words. Always check the ingredients labeled on these products, find the sugar content.
Besides, starting your day with a high-sugary food will set you up for a blood-sugar downfall around , when you will feel sleepy, hungry and craving another high carb, high sugary meal.
Bottom line: It's very easy to stick catchphrases on foods. Phrases like healthy, low-fat, glucose-free, natural and others can be used to sell you on a product that in actuality isn't healthy at all. We're not saying don't look for healthy foods, but be wary, be suspicious, and above all - know how to read the ingredient list!