Think you’re eating healthily? Guess again! Bread, vitamins and green tea; all are surprisingly unhealthy, so check out this list and change your diet for the better.
1. Rapeseed Oil
Canola Oil is the clever rebranding of genetically modified Rapeseed Oil – an industrial oil used for lubrication, NOT human consumption.
The process that makes Canola Oil requires high-temperature mechanical pressing and solvent extraction, before being bleached and showered in chemicals. Unrefined, Canola oil contains roughly 10% omega-3’s, which are found in fish oils and promote all sorts of bodily goodness. However, these healthy unsaturated fats quickly become smelly and disgusting when heated, so they have to be deodorised. This process then turns a lot of the omega-3’s from nice, healthy fats into disgustingly unhealthy trans fats, which are generally labelled as hydrogenated vegetable oils and have shown a direct link to cancer!
During the eighties, rapeseed was fed to dairy cows, pigs and sheep as a cheap and available food source – until the animals started going blind and attacking people! These attacks were eventually stopped once the CanolaOil was eliminated from their food source.
Finally, Canola Oil blocks normal enzyme function and inhibits the proper metabolism of foods, making you fat. Still not convinced? It’s called rapeseed oil!
2. Canned Tomatoes
Tinned tomatoes have been linked to reproductive problems, heart disease, diabetes and obesity – thanks to the bisphenol-A (BPA) that lines the tins. Endocrinologist Fredrick vomSaal blames the resin lining of tin cans as they contain BPA which is a synthetic oestrogen linked to all the above diseases. It is the acidity of the tomatoes that causes the BPA to leach into your food from the tins.
As if this weren’t enough, the tomatoes are picked prematurely and hormones are used to ripen them, depriving them of their optimum nutrition. So much for them being a “superfood”!
3. Fruit Smoothies
Many fruit smoothies contain added sugars and high-fructose corn syrup, which means they’re more milkshake than smoothie. The key here really is in the name, choose a 100% fruit smoothie made with plain yogurt instead of ice cream or sherbet will contain nearly half the calories and significantly less sugar, plus it will provide all of the fibre, vitamin and antioxidant capacity that a smoothie is supposed to have as well as providing some of your five-a-day.
4. Green Tea
Green Tea is famous for its health benefits, and is very popular in Southern and Eastern Asia, as it contains antioxidants and caffeine. Research has shown this drink to be the oriental “secret” against cancer, heart disease, skin diseases and senility. However, it sacrifices taste for health benefits, meaning that companies add a load of sugars and additives to counter-act its bitter taste.
Scientists have warned people who drink green tea in high amounts that they are posing a risk to their kidneys and liver, as it contains large quantities of polyphenols, and the EGCG (epigallocatechingallate) in the tea can interfere with a child’s growth whilst in the womb, which can create complications.
5. Dried Fruit
Dried fruit. It lasts. It tastes good. It’s fruit! So what’s the problem? Okay, there are worse things to snack on, packets of crisps or chocolate bars, but that doesn’t mean dried fruit is a harmless snack. First of all, as it’s dried fruit, they lack moisture, and moisture is normally what gives fruit it’s volume and you that nice, sought after, “full” feeling. 600 calories of volumeless dried fruit later – you’re still hungry.
However, what’s worse is the fact that companies such as Sun-Maid and Ocean Spray add a tonne of sugar to the fruit, making it taste nice but making Craisins more like sweets than natural healthy goodness. So, what alternatives are there? Maybe, I don’t know, trying real fruit?
Although easier to spread, in their desperate bid to remove saturated fats from buttermargarine makers created an accidental monster. Instead of being laden with saturated fats, margarine contains plenty of the much more dangerous trans-fats that have more links to heart disease. Instead, try using real butter, just choose a make that has had air whipped into it, this decreases the calorie count of a tablespoon of butter, and makes it much easier to spread.
7. Wheat Products
Wheat products such as most breads, cereals, pasta, bagels and so forth, are all believed to be healthy by the vast majority of the public. However, Mike Greary, a certified nutrition specialist, suggests that a lot of people have some level of intolerance to the gluten that is found in wheat and some grains. Gluten intolerance, called coeliac disease, is not a food allergy, but a physical reaction that causes the body to try and “defend” itself by attacking the gluten protein. This usually causes an extreme physical reaction, which in the short term causes stomach pains and bad moods. In the long term prolonged exposure to gluten flattens down the villi, which line the small intestine and help to digest food.
8. Granola Bar
Ever wonder what keeps a granola bar together? The makers of one of America’s favourite, most misunderstood snacks use mostly high-fructose corn syrup (sugar) as their “glue”, which in turns quickly raises blood sugar and cancels out any of the potential benefits you might otherwise get from the oats. By switching over to good old-fashioned cheese and crackers, you swap out sugar and fat for protein and fibre. Talk about a great deal!
9. Yogurt with Fruit – Tubs
Yogurt and fruit – a combination too healthy and perfect to be true? Well, unfortunately, you’d be right. That little tub in the corner contains as much sickly sweet sugar as a soft drink, due to the “fruit” being made almost entirely of high-fructose corn syrup. Instead, start your day off with real fruit pieces and non fat plain yogurt to get the same effect – minus the calorie count.
10. Chewable Vitamin Tablets
Chewable tablets are a fun and easy way to get your kids to eat their vitamins. Unfortunately they are also a good way to get your kids eaten by vitamins! The scientific name for Vitamin C is ascorbic acid, which is a good clue to the route of the problem. Studies have shown that in some cases, chewable Vitamin C tablets can cause people’s teeth to erode.Dentists, as usual, suggest you brush your teeth afterwards and try to buy a brand that has Vitamin C in its non-acidic form. Or man up and swallow the pill.
11. “Light” Sandwiches
What makes these sandwiches “lite”, “light” or “fitness”, is the fact they have very little in them. Instead of protein or vegetables, what these sandwiches do have in high numbers, is sugar-laden salad dressings and white bread. The freshness is questionable too, and you need a high amount to fill your stomach.
12. Acai Berry
Because demand for the acai berry has soared to roughly $104 million in the US alone, thanks to Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement, the normal process used in the Brazilian jungles of finding naturally growing berries cannot meet demands. This has, naturally, led to farming of the berry, and the wide-spread use of pesticides and other harmful chemicals, as well as de-forestation.
As well as damaging the environment, the acai berry can also harm the human body. Because it only grows in one region, to prevent it from going rotten it must be processed and sealed on the same day before being flown all over the world. The “berry” is rarely sold as such, but is more commonly found in pill form, with a host of ingredients added to try and cut costs. Empty ingredients, such as sugar and caffeine may or may not be listed, leaving the consumer in the dark as to what they are actually eating.
13. Baked Beans
Beans themselves are a great source of protein and fibre. Unfortunately, as with most things in this list, they contain an awfully large amount of sugar – up to the same amount as an 8oz. can of soft drink!
14. Reduced Fat Peanut Butter
Real peanuts are high in protein, and high in all the healthy fats your body needs. By extension, peanut butter made from only peanuts are also high in these properties. The problem occurs when companies make reduced fat varieties, they take a small amount of real and healthy peanut butter, and mix it up with fillers like sugar. Basically, they substitute good fats for bad fats. Stick to the good stuff.