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“Good For You” Food Myths

Here are some foods that people think are good for them that are really anything but healthy. They’re not the only ones, of course, but perhaps they will surprise you.

1. Yogurt. I’m always surprised that people think of yogurt as a healthy food that’s helpful to eat if you want to lose weight. Our American yogurt is loaded with sugar in the flavorings or fruit added. Truly, it’s much more of a dessert than a main course. Sure, there are probiotics that are good for gut health, but the sugars can spike insulin levels, and there are better ways to get bio-absorbable calcium. Besides, no matter what the dairy lobby would like you to believe, even “fat-free” dairy products are not the dieter’s friend! Personally, I find that eating dairy products is the fastest way to pack on some extra pounds in the blink of an eye.

2. Diet sodas and diet drinks like Crystal Lite. A recent study of over 8,000 women conducted by the University of Austin, TX, concluded that those who drank diet sodas gained more weight over the course of almost a decade than those who don’t. They theorized that the problem lies in the artificial, highly concentrated, and synthetic sweeteners (aspertame, Splenda, etc.) that fool the body into producing insulin and other hormones to digest the sweet flavor, and treat the material as potent sugars that need to be stored in fat cells. Because the body can’t identify these foreign substances, the proper digestive processes are thwarted, and even though these drinks are billed as “low-calorie” or “calorie-free” they should really be called “toxic” and should be considered the antithesis to any health or weight-loss goal!

3. Salmon. Let me specify: any salmon that is not labeled as “wild”, which means that it was farm-raised. Farm-raised salmon — basically any salmon that you pay less than $40/lb for — is not really salmon at all. These genetically-modified fish are grown in over-crowded pens and often fed antibiotics and antiparasitic drugs to combat plagues like sea lice, a scourge of too many fish living too closely together under unnatural  conditions. To make their flesh appear pinker and more like the salmon filets we expect, they are often fed dyes which may or may not be hazardous to our health (the jury is still out on that one, regardless of the how heavily the FDA has been lobbied by the salmon aquaculture industry). Some of these mutant fish inevitably escape from their pens and breed with wild salmon populations, weakening and contaminating the remaining schools of wild salmon, which are already disappearing from their native rivers at rates never before seen in this country. But back to how healthy it is to order the $12 salmon filet entree at your local Bennigan’s: expect to get prescription drugs, potentially carcinogenic dyes, and/or genetically-modified cells with your bargain plate.

Many of these toxins are bio-accumulative, and can collect in your cells. Depending upon an individual’s level of tolerance and/or amounts of exposure, constant doses of these foods may result in cancers, food allergies, or even auto-immune diseases, as I believe happened in my case with my own diagnosis of multiple sclerosis and 3 years of hives.

This is a topic I speak about frequently as I tour around the country helping people learn how to eat healthier. My latest cookbook arrives in stores nationwide this week. See more about my healthy eating philosophy.

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