15 Foods Dr. Huntington Won't Touch
At the forefront of the health and wellness industry, I come across a lot of misleading information – a lot! The advertising and marketing of certain foods and products as “healthy” when they’re really not, is especially confusing. So, while your intent is to eat healthier, these foods can actually cause damage - or at the very least they stall progress toward better health.
To help clear this up, I put together a list of the top 15 foods I believe are misleadingly “healthy” and why. I won’t argue that there are way worse things that you could be eating, but the focus here is on foods that carry a false health boosting façade.
Here are 15 proclaimed “health foods” I stay many fork lengths from…
Soy’s healthy reputation is dwindling and here’s why…
➤ Soy is the GMO poster child, but organic or not, tofu is still bad news. Soy contains phytoestrogen plant compounds that tend to mimic estrogen in the body and are linked to adverse health effects, especially breast cancer. Soy can really mess with your hormones (endocrine disruptor) creating all sorts of health problems.
Note that soy-based foods also include tempeh, miso, and edamame. Most processed foods contain some form of soy as an additive. Be especially weary of sauces, protein bars and plant-based “meats.”
Tip: A product called “Coconut Aminos” is a great soy sauce substitute.
➤ Soy is high in phytic acid, an “anti-nutrient” that interferes with the absorption of vitamins and minerals, especially iron and zinc. When you consume soy, you essentially lower the nutritional value of your meal.
➤ Damaging proteins called lectins are abundant in soy, especially one called agglutinin, which is known for tearing holes in the gut and impairing blood flow.
The best form of soy is called natto, a fermented soybean dish that you’re unlikely to ever eat regularly, if at all. As the most concentrated food source of vitamin K2, natto has properties that benefit gut health and lacks harmful lectins and phytic acid thanks to the fermentation process.
If you consume natto, be sure it is non-GMO.
2. FRUIT JUICE
This is a huge source of unnecessary sugar that lacks any fiber to help you balance the consequence of skyrocketed blood sugar. If you must drink juice, go for one that includes vegetables and has no added sugar, then dilute it with water.
3. BOTTLED SMOOTHIES
So much junk is added to this kind of product making for an overwhelming ingredient list. They’re notorious for being chock full of dairy and sweeteners that fuel indigestion and weight gain. It is well worth the time to make your own smoothie at home with ingredients you won’t question. This advice also applies to coffee and energy drinks.
4. VEGGIE CHIPS/STRAWS
I know it’s disappointing to hear, but these are really just potato chips rebranded to make you feel better about eating chips. Take a look at the label and you’ll see that they’re potato and/or corn based, and still deep fried and heavily salted. Although they may contain some vegetables, the nutrient density is barely worth noting. If they’re “baked” that means they contain less fat and usually more sodium to make up for it – which will tempt you to overindulge even more.
5. AGAVE NECTAR
How agave was ever deemed a good sugar substitute is mind boggling. Perhaps because the agave plant is believed to have healing properties? All you need to know here is that agave nectar is 90% fructose, a type of sugar that is sweeter than glucose and exactly why processed foods are saturated with it. Not only does fructose have absolutely no health benefits, it’s the leading culprit behind insulin resistance, heart disease, poor cholesterol, cancer, obesity, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. I have two words regarding agave nectar – steer clear!
Although this protein and fiber rich dietary staple has been put on the health food pedestal, you should know that legumes can wreak havoc on the body. Any nutritive gains legumes could offer are negated by their high lectin and phytic acid content. Lectins may be reduced with certain cooking methods but they won’t be fully destroyed, and that high carbohydrate profile certainly won’t change. “Just say NO” to legumes – including all beans, chickpeas, lentils and peanuts!
Check out my video, “How Lectins Attack Your Body”
7. EGG WHITES/EGG SUBSTITUTE
Sometimes a recipe may call for just egg whites and that’s OK…otherwise, always eat the yolk! It contains all of the egg’s nutrition - healthy fat, minerals and vitamins A, D, E and K. Egg yolks are one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D.
Your health is no joke, so don’t skip the yolk!
P.S. – Eating eggs will NOT raise your cholesterol, here’s why.
8. RICE CAKES
Rice is a grain that is pro-inflammatory, spikes blood sugar, and holds little nutrient value. I think rice cakes became a health fad because they were marketed as a great bread replacement, but really, they are hardly different. I advocate an anti-inflammatory diet and rice just doesn’t make the cut.
9. GRANOLA and BARS
As a blend of grains, sweeteners, and dried fruit (often with more added sugar), granola shouldn’t win any health awards. If you like granola, I really suggest trying a grain free option or at the very least, one that is gluten-free and low in sugar.
Alongside bottled smoothies, packaged bars have always been on my list of suspicious snacks. However convenient their pocket size may be, their ingredient list can be scary. Now, there are a few decent bars on the market that cater to a paleo or ketogenic diet, but as a general rule, granola and bars stay out of my pantry.
Touted as a gut healthy treat for its probiotic profile, yogurt is still dairy – a problematic food for so many people. If you eat yogurt because you want to boost your microbiome, you’re better off taking a high-quality probiotic supplement instead. Doing so is easy with my quick guide – “How to Choose a Probiotic Supplement.”
Yogurt is almost always loaded with sugar, artificial ingredients and additives which cancel out any health benefits. If you eat it because you like the consistency, consider trying plain dairy free almond or coconut yogurt (but still check the label for hidden sugar and chemicals). I find this version makes a great alternative to traditional sour cream on tacos.
11. VEGGIE BURGERS
These are made with some combo of legumes, soy, grains (wheat, rice, corn) and fillers to make that burger-like consistency. There’s hardly any room here for them to include even half vegetable serving.
12. COUSCOUS & TABBOULEH
These are known as “salads” and commonly found in vegetarian dishes and health food store delis. They are both sourced from wheat so they contain gluten and other allergens that can cause widespread symptoms and long-term body damage.
Click here to understand why you should avoid gluten.
13. PEANUT BUTTER
Another staple of my childhood memories, peanuts are actually legumes and so we circle back to the problem of lectins and the gastrointestinal damage they cause. You’ll also have to go out of your way to find a peanut butter that is organic without any other ingredients. The best alternative is sugar free almond butter.
Who didn’t grow up on oatmeal? I know I did! The only way it was edible was to drown it in maple syrup.
Packaged oatmeal today is really a tiny packet of refined grains, sugar and salt. The popular Quaker brand oatmeal packets include up to 12 grams of added sugar, 33 grams of carbohydrate, little protein and no healthy fat – that’s per packet! If you feed these to your children, consider how this affects their small, growing bodies!
Remember, most grains are GMO and pro-inflammatory. If you must have oatmeal, try making your own with paleo ingredients…
✔️ Almond milk
✔️ Almond flour
✔️ Shredded coconut
✔️ Flaxseed meal
✔️ Coconut oil
✔️ Vanilla extract
✔️ Sea salt
✔️ Low carb fruit like berries
15. COCONUT WATER
While this is a better choice than most soda options, you need to be careful when choosing one.
Naturally they contain sugar (roughly 15 grams in just 10 oz.), but many brands add fruit juice, flavorings and preservatives making it an extreme sugar cocktail.
The best alternative is fresh filtered water and add citrus or mint to make it special!
Tackle the Tricky Trio
These 15 items have a theme here – sugar, dairy, and grains. When people tell me they eat healthy but can’t lose weight, or have aches and pains, or skin problems - it doesn’t take too much probing into their diet to find the culprit. As widespread and problematic as these 3 foods are, most people don’t connect their symptoms with diet, or they don’t realize how much bodily chaos they cause until they cut them out.
If you want to transition into better health, start with the principles of a paleo or ketogenic diet.
Here’s to a healthier YOU in the new year ahead!
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