There are many foods that masquerade as health food. Here is my take on foods that I consider to be imposters with respect to the status of “health food.”
Bacon & Butter
Several weeks ago, I wrote an article about how these 2 wonderful foods should not be demonized, and how they actually do have some health benefits. I stand by that article, but we need to be realistic. There are some who claim that bacon and butter are health foods, and can be consumed en masse. This is where I disagree, and I think I was clear in my previous article. These are foods that can be enjoyed in moderation.
For instance, I eat butter every day – approximately ½ TBSP, which I am certain has increased / improved my HDL cholesterol, because this is what saturated fat does…..to a point. And it has not increased my LDL cholesterol. Butter (and also bacon) is fine in moderation. So, don’t go eating 2 sticks of butter or a pound of bacon on a daily basis because that’s not likely healthy. Common sense!!!
Organic Processed Foods
Soda, bars, chips, and cookies made from organic ingredients are health foods, right? Way better than conventional soda, bars, chips and cookies, right? WRONG. Processed foods are still crap, for the most part, regardless of whether they are organic or conventional. Sorry to burst your bubble.
Can some organic foods be a better choice than conventional? Yes, because of fewer pesticides and other potential toxins. You’re fooling yourself, not to mention wasting time and lots of money, if you think you’re going to drop more body fat by snacking on the highly processed, carb and fat-loaded organic potato chips instead of the highly processed, carb and fat-loaded non-organic potato chips.
As Chris Colucci says, “Go organic where you can or where it makes the most healthful impact – things like fatty protein sources, fruits, vegetables, and coffee. And instead of opting for organic versions of junk food, maybe try a wacky idea like skipping the junk entirely.” Good advise!
Many protein bars include low-biological value, incomplete proteins, like collagen and gelatin, which are high in the ingredients’ list. They often contain laxative-levels of sugar alcohols, and they regularly include various junk food-esqe components to make them seem appealing.
They are sold as a health food, yet they are really nothing more than another example of a highly processed food, with powerful marketing behind them! Here’s a better idea to make sure that you get your 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight daily – eat real food! Remember what that is: eggs, chicken, beef, dairy, quality protein powders and intelligent combinations of plant proteins.
If you really want to learn about soy, I recommend that book titled “The Vegetarian Myth.” Be forewarned, it may scare the heck out of you! Soy burgers, chicken-like soy patties and nuggets, soy milk, soy cheese, soy protein bars, and low-carb soy-filled cereal – there are so many products, you could practically live off it. Soy is terrible for you and will make you sick, however, the soy industry invests BILLIONS of dollars to make us believe these foods are a healthier alternative. The literature says otherwise.
Soy-filled stuff can look pretty good on paper. According to the Nutrition Facts on their boxes, they contain tons of protein, lots of fiber, very few net carbs, not a lot of fat, and a huge bonus – you can prepare them in less than a minute. Seems like the perfect solution for someone who doesn’t have time to cook. However, look into the literature and you’ll see that soy creates a very negative series of hormonal issues and is downright dangerous to child development, which is why the country of Italy is toying with the idea of jailing parents who feed young children soy, because they consider it to be child abuse. Interesting, huh?
I wrote an article on breakfast cereal several months ago, detailing how it’s the worst way to start your day, if you are interested in losing fat and living healthy. Breakfast cereals, even the so-called healthy ones (granola), are filled with loads of sugar and all kinds of other non-food ingredients. Once again, we are talking about a highly processed food. If you must eat cereal, stick to oats or buckwheat groats, and add fruit or honey if you need to sweeten it.
Typical processing methods for vegetable oils include chemicals and very high heat, which oxidizes the polyunsaturated fats and makes them rancid. Rancid oil leads to free radicals in the human body which in turn leads to inflammation. Inflammation is the source of all sorts of health issues including diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Vegetable oils are highly pro-inflammatory and not good for health. Avoid them like you would trans fats. Cook with saturated fats – coconut oil, butter, ghee, lard, tallow. And use olive oil as a dressing. Toss the canola, sunflower, peanut, safflower, soybean, etc…oils in the garbage.
By now, you probably realize the common theme here is that processed foods should never be considered a “health food.” Health foods are foods that your great grandmother told you to eat: fruits, veggies, lean meats, and good fats. It’s really as simple as that. If you stick to a diet of real, whole, unprocessed foods, you will lose weight, lose fat, build muscle and be much healthier.