- Food and Cooking
Bad Foods That Are Believed To Be Good
These days, people are finally realizing what we eat has as much to do with illnesses as being inactive or germs from not being sanitary do. Many fast food places are trying to find healthier options to add to their menus, and companies known for making soda and sugary snacks are trying to stay in business by making their products "better for the customer".
Sad to say, as nice as it is to see so much change in the food industry, and in schools trying to educate children about healthy eating, there is still much to learn. Things are not as they always appear after all.
I have compiled a list of foods commonly thought of as good for us, or at least better for the body than its unhealthy counterpart. It is all over the media these days, though with little to back it up.
Corn & Corn Products
Corn has been a staple in kitchens across the world for centuries. Commonly seen as one of the best vegetables you can eat, especially if you're working out.
The truth is, corn is only good in it's organic version, which is less than 1% of the corn produced today. Health experts claim corn has many essential vitamins and is high in fiber, but when genetically modified, these benefits are diminished. Corn products are especially bad for you, like high fructose corn syrup or corn starch. They are typically not made with non-GMO corn, and therefore detrimental to your health.
Corn is also fed to animals who don't naturally eat corn. it also typically isn't organic corn they are feeding cows, pigs, and chickens. So even if you're avoiding corn at all costs, your beef, pork, and chicken can be contaminated by the GMO crop. Buying grass-fed beef is one way to avoid this. Organic chicken and pork helps as well.
While corn is naturally gluten-free, and therefore seemingly a safe option for people who can't eat wheat, since it is typically genetically modified, it can affect your immune system all the same, causing illness at the best or triggering attacks at the worst.
Other sites to check out the cons of corn:
Soy beans have risen from the ground in becoming a staple in all processed and packaged foods these days. Even organic foods can contain soy bean oil in the ingredients. Food companies tout soybeans as the new health food of the century, able to replace meat in your diet even in terms of protein content.
Sadly, this is hardly the case.
Soybeans are worse than corn when it comes to today's food markets. While corn at least has some health benefits in its organic form, soy beans carry more negatives than positives. From high estrogen levels, which can throw off the body's natural processes, to being hard to even get these supposed nutrients from digestion, these little means should be low on your list of health foods, if they are present at all.
One thing to note is that in some Asian cultures, soy beans are fermented in order to access any nutrients packed into them. Perhaps true Asian soy sauce is rather good for us then?
Milk And Other Dairy Products
Dairy is probably one of the more controversial foods in the health world. Some experts claim that dairy is extremely good for you, packed with minerals and fats your body needs to function, while others claim that it can be fattening and cause constipation if consumed too much.
So what is the truth?
The truth is, as with most foods, there are pros and cons to dairy. While it does contain some nutrients, there are other health issues that come with drinking milk past babyhood, where lactates can be digested more completely and growth hormones actually help in development.
As for the calcium and vitamin D argument, there are plenty of other options that are better for you in the long run, such as spinach. Getting plenty of sun also has incredible benefits, including plenty of vitamin D.
If you must use milk, choose organic, and always do your homework. If you want to see a side-by-side list of pros and cons, this website does a great job of laying out different opinions by dairy groups and doctors alike.
As my mom always says, milk is for babies.
Diet Sodas And Fat-Free Foods
Companies love to try and sell their products by labeling them as "fat-free", "diet", "low-fat", "sugar-free", and the list goes on. These promises are false, and in many cases, dangerous.
Diet sodas, while low in sugar and calories, make up for the lack in taste by adding chemicals you probably don't want in your body. Seriously, look that up. Besides that, the differences between Diet Pepsi and Pepsi aren't very many, mostly noticeable in the calorie and sugar content. But what this soda lacks in "sugar" is made up in those cute little pink packages that are just made in labs.
As for fat-free foods, it's the same story. Sugars and fats make food taste good, so when you take these things out, the food will taste bland and no one will want to eat them. So they add chemicals and laboratory-made substitutes that are about as far from real food as you can get (margarine is a great example of such a substitute) to assure the food still tastes good.
So, yes, these foods don't have fats or sugars or high sodium, but what they offer instead is so much worse, you might as well just eat or drink the original.
After parents began deciding they weren't going to feed their children sugary flakes and fake fruity loops, healthy cereal companies popped up, promising parents they are feeding their children, and themselves, something nutritious and filling.
For the most part, this is true. Granola cereals are some of my personal favorites because they offer high protein and healthy carbs, as well as tasting absolutely delicious, and I eat them regularly. There is one big negative to these "healthy cereals" though:
They are oftentimes high in sugar.
True health cereals are bland in taste, and most people add sugar or honey anyway, so companies just started making cereals already sweetened for consumers.
I am not saying do not eat these, just know that they are something to eat in moderation and as a treat/snack rather than the meal to start your day.
Packaging = Processed
As someone who works out, I know that fueling your body properly before, during, and after your exercise session will not only offer better results in the end, it will give you the energy to power through tougher workouts. Something I've seen many athletic professionals brandish on their Instagram posts and blogs is some protein bar or powder that is supposed to offer that extra boost of protein and carbs to fuel your body after you workout if you can't cook some protein and carbs from scratch.
That is a great concept, as long as you do your research and read the labels of said bars and powders, as these are often full of sugars and preservatives that aren't so good for the body. I have found a few organic brands I personally loved, both taste and ingredient wise, such as Orgain Organic Protein shakes and bars.
But those ones that are basically like a candy bar with "Protein" on the packaging? Maybe pass those up and keep looking.
(First option should always be real cooked food though)
Fruit Juice & Smoothies
Something common on this thread is hidden sugars in usually revered health foods and drinks. Such is the case for juice and smoothies.
Depending on the brands and juices you personally consume, many of them offer as much sugar as a can of Pepsi! Orange Juice, in particular, is bad for this as oranges are naturally sour, so they compensate with loads of sugar.
(I won't even get into the fluoride content in OJ...)
Smoothies are usually a sweet little snack that can offer plenty of nutrients - so long as you make it yourself and know exactly what goes into it. Green smoothies are especially good for you, and honey is one of the best natural sweeteners around.
Just exercise great caution when snatching any old juice off the shelf, or buying that smoothie from the shop; you might be getting a bit more than you bargained for!
Purified Drinking Water
Okay, now I'm surely crossing a line here. How can water, of all things, be bad for you?
If you drink water not filled with chemicals, then yes, it is good for you. In fact, it's so good, you need to drink about half your weight in fluid ounces of water.
For example: I weigh around 140 pounds, so half of that is 70. Therefore, I need to drink around 70 fl.oz. of water.
There are so many brands of water, proclaiming they are purified, distilled, treated with reverse osmosis, or are the tears of Jesus himself. So which should we believe? I found this website that goes in depth about different types of water and why some are good verses bad for your body.
Do some Googling and see what you can conclude. Always stay informed when ingesting anything not made by you.
if you're like this author and just can't stand not eating pasta ever again, there are plenty of recipes on the internet for noodles made from all kinds of indredients, including avocados, spinach, and zucchini.
Try them out and comment some of your favorites!
I never understand these trends of making "fake food" that is supposed to taste just like the food we are trying to avoid, like eating "fake meat" that tastes like real meat.
Just don't eat real meat.
Gluten-free products can be very good for someone allergic to gluten, a protein found in most forms of grains that sometimes reacts bad with the body, or someone who wants to avoid eating wheat as part of their diet.
Just exercise caution when choosing a gluten-free product.
A natural "gluten-free" food most eat is rice, which is very good for you and pairs nicely with most meals. Potatoes, cauliflower, and beans are other nutrient packed foods you can eat with your meal instead of pasta or bread.
But what about those gluten-free pizzas or packaged snacks? Okay look, I don't want to be a jerk about it because I don't suffer from this disease, and therefore can eat whatever gluten-filled snack I want, if I wanted, but this is a bit ridiculous. A gluten-free pizza?
I have an aunt who is severely allergic to gluten. She can't even walk into a room that may have had flour in it sometime that day. She tried all these "gluten-free" foods because she still wanted to enjoy cookies and pizzas, and ended up sick or in the hospital many, many, many times.
Here's a tip: if your body can't take eating pizzas, cookies, and other packaged foods, try eating more real food. Your body is trying to tell you these packaged foods are dangerous for you!
Listen to your body and do your research. Also, don't eat corn-anything.
Sometimes you might want to add something a little sweet to your yogurt parfait, and certainly dried cranberries are healthier than crumbled Oreos...right?
Well, technically, yes. Where Oreos offer nothing more than enriched bleached flour and high fructose corn syrup, dried fruit contains most of the health benefits of its un-dried counterpart- including it's sugar content. It's no secret that fruit is often high in sugar, though of course it's the good kind that helps your body function (yes, we do need some sugar.)
So what exactly is wrong with dried fruit?
The issue is that many times, more sugar is added to the already packed bits. Any health nut knows the dangers of too much sugar in the body: weight gain, mood swings/grumpiness, energy crashes, etc, so adding more to a snack filled to the wrinkled brim with healthy sugars is a bit much.
I recommend the organic variations of dried fruits, of course, and eating them in moderation definitely helps. Just don't pop these in your mouth like Skittles and you'll be good!
Organic Versions of Junk Food (lol)
This one is about the most ridiculous thing ever. Yes, organic is better than non-organic, but junk food is still junk. What really is the difference, health wise, between Chips Ahoy and it's organic counterpart? Not much.
Now of course, if you are dying for some chips or cookies, always go organic. Just don't pretend these are so much healthier for you than the regular stuff.
Packaged food is still packaged.
When Uncertain, Eat Real Food
If you're looking at a box, scratching your head over whether or not to eat it, put it back on the shelf and pick up some organic food from the produce section. natural packaging is always your best bet, if you know what I mean!
Make your own pasta, your own cakes, your own soups...the list goes on. Flex those cooking skills and try out a few recipes online, or if you are a whiz in the kitchen, throw together something of your own imagination. The possibilities are endless, as are the health benefits of cooking your own food.
Your family, your body, and your health will thank you.
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© 2017 Caitlyn Booth