• Emily Achey, MS, RD

5 Foods That Need To Go

Updated: Nov 29, 2018

I am usually an advocate of adding beneficial foods to the diet, rather than taking foods away, but there are a few foods in the American supply that should always be on display with a red flag. These foods I am talking about are linked to chronic disease and just aren’t worth the damage.

1. GMO Corn and Soy

Genetic Modification is a procedure where scientists take a desirable gene, and insert it directly into the DNA of a crop. Higher yields, insect and virus resistance, and the perfect plump product. The direct impact on human health remains controversial, however I urge skepticism on this one. Improved agriculture productivity and food industry advancement have turned into a war for our health in many cases. In addition, corn and soy is in an alarming amount of packaged foods with other additives, artificial ingredients and so on. Corn and soy are cheap to mass produce. That’s the bottom line. Check out your ingredient labels and focus on those whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible!

2. Refined Oils

Many common oils used in the American diet are shown to be hazardous to our health. Yes. Hazardous. First off, many of the oils are made from GMO Corn and Soy...we already know to avoid those (see #1). During the refining and processing of the oil, high heat is commonly used, which causes oxidation of the oil and thus free radical damage within our body. In addition, chemical solvents are used in many cases to initially extract the oil from its origin source. The shelf life is extended and flavor is neutralized for cooking, but our health is compromised. These oils include vegetable oil, canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, margarine, and any oil that is labeled as refined, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. Select unrefined, organic, extra virgin olive, coconut and avocado oils whenever possible.

3. Processed Meats

Image by AimeeLow via MorgueFile

Take some conventionally raised meat, process it with additives and chemical preservative, then heat and serve. Oy vey. The damage that this can do within in the human body is no good. These meats have shown to be linked to many chronic diseases including cancer and heart disease. This goes for bacon, ham, sausage, deli meats, hot dogs, and any other meats that have been cured, salted, dried or canned. Always go for the whole, unprocessed animal, and opt for grass fed beef, free range chicken and wild caught fish whenever possible.

4. Sugar Sweetened Beverages

Source: Boston Public Health Commission

The ‘empty calorie’ award goes to this one. Liquid sugar, such as in soda, juice, or sweet teas, is rapidly absorbed in the body causing a spike in insulin and dysregulation of energy. Many epidemiologic studies have shown the correlation between these beverages with increased incidence of obesity and obesity related diseases. Not to mention the host of other additives, artificial flavors, colors and preservatives that are typically found in these drinks. Water, unsweetened teas and seltzer water are much better options.

5. Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose (aka Splenda) and saccharin (aka Sweet 'N Low) have a history of being recommended as a calorie free sugar replacement, that won’t spike insulin. The issue is that when these sweeteners are ingested, the brain is signaled that sugar is coming in, sensitizes the cells, but no sugar comes. In many cases, this can lead to counter- intuitive weight gain. In addition, migraines, digestive disruption and possible cancer development have been noted as adverse side effects. Simply put, they are chemicals that do not belong in our bodies. Organic, raw cane sugar, stevia or coconut sugar are safer alternatives.

The moral of the story: make the majority of the foods you eat quality, whole, and unprocessed and the above 5 offenders won’t be an issue. Make this a priority and you will be well on your way to optimizing your body with nutrition.

#Nutrition #FoodsToAvoid

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