Top 11 Health Foods That Can Kill You

Young Woman Drinking Orange JuiceNutrition is full of nonsense.

You will find bold health claims for all kinds of foods, most often based on zero evidence.

Here are the top 11 “health foods” that are actually very harmful.

1. Fruit Juices

The fruit juices you find at the supermarket aren’t always what they seem.

They may have small amounts of real fruit in them, but often they are little more than water, artificial flavor and sugar.

But even if you’re drinking real fruit juice, it is still a bad idea.

Fruit juice is like fruit with most of the good stuff removed.

All that is left is the sugar and a few vitamins. Orange juice, for example, contains the same amount of sugar as Coca Cola.

There’s no fiber in it, no chewing resistance and nothing to stop you from downing massive amounts of sugar in a short amount of time.

Eating too much sugar is associated with all sorts of diseases. These include obesity, type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many others (1, 2, 3).

It is much better to avoid fruit juices and eat real fruits instead.

Bottom Line: Most fruit juices contain the same amount of easily digestible sugar as sugar-sweetened soft drinks. It is best to eat whole fruits instead.

2. Whole Wheat

Bread

It is true that whole wheat is healthier than refined wheat.

But this does NOT mean that whole wheat is healthy.

It’s kind of like saying that because filtered cigarettes are healthier than unfiltered cigarettes, everyone should be smoking filtered cigarettes. It’s flawed logic.

There are plenty of good reasons to avoid wheat… both the refined and the whole variety.

For example, wheat is the main source of gluten in the diet and a large part of the population may be gluten sensitive (4, 5, 6).

The immune system of susceptible individuals attacks the gluten proteins in the digestive tract. This can cause damage to the lining of the digestive tract, pain, bloating, tiredness, stool inconsistency and other nasty symptoms (7, 8, 9).

One study shows that wheat fiber can make you Vitamin D deficient, making you burn through your stores of this important vitamin much faster (10).

Another study shows that whole wheat raises small, dense LDL (the truly “bad” cholesterol) by a whopping 60% (11).

Bottom Line: Whole wheat is rich in gluten and can cause digestive problems and various symptoms. It may also cause Vitamin D deficiency and elevated small, dense LDL cholesterol.

3. Agave Nectar

Honey

In the health food isle at the supermarket, you will definitely find some “sugar-free” products that are sweetened with Agave.

This sweetener is touted as a healthy alternative to sugar because it is natural has a low glycemic index.

But the harmful effects of sugar have little to do with its glycemic index, it is harmful primarily because it is loaded with unnatural amounts of fructose.

Too much fructose in the diet can cause all sorts of problems, especially in people who don’t exercise much.

All fructose is metabolized by the liver. If the liver is full of glycogen the fructose will be turned into fat (11, 12).

This can cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and all kinds of metabolic problems like resistance to the hormones insulin and leptin, which will ultimately lead to obesity and diabetes (13, 14, 15, 16).

While regular sugar is 50% fructose, the fructose content of Agave is as high as 90%. If anything, agave is even worse than sugar!

Bottom Line: Agave nectar is loaded with fructose and therefore causes all the same problems as regular sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup.

4. Sports Drinks

Man With Sports Drink

Sports drinks were designed for athletes who have just finished an intense training session with massive sweating and glycogen depletion.

For this reason, sports drinks contain:

  • Water – to replenish lost fluid.
  • Electrolytes – to replenish electrolytes like sodium that were lost via sweat.
  • Sugar – because athletes need energy after an intense workout.

You don’t need any additional electrolytes unless you’ve been doing a very intense workout and most people are already eating too much sugar.

One bottle of Gatorade contains over 30 grams of sugar.

You’re better off sticking to plain water, which you should certainly drink plenty of, especially around workouts.

Bottom Line: If you’re not doing super intense workouts, then you should avoid sports drinks. They are not needed and contain sugar.

5. “Heart-Healthy” Vegetable Oils

Vegetable Oils

As the fear of saturated fat took hold of the world, consumption of all kinds of nasty ingredients increased.

Prime examples are industrial seed- and vegetable oils like soybean, corn and cottonseed oil.

These oils are extracted from seeds using very harsh processing methods and include high heat, bleaching and the toxic solvent hexane.

These oils contain very large amounts of Omega-6 fatty acids, way more than humans ever consumed throughout evolution.

We need small amounts of these fatty acids in the diet, such as the amounts found in meat and nuts. However, if we eat way too much like is the case with Western populations, this causes problems (17).

Eating too much of these fats can lead to inflammation, which is a leading cause of many chronic diseases (18).

These oils get incorporated into our body fat stores and cellular membranes, where they are highly sensitive to oxidation and damage.

To top it all off, the industrial vegetable oils that you find in the supermarket contain 0.56-4.2% of their fatty acid as trans fats, which are highly toxic (19).

(This does not apply to olive oil, which is good for you!)

Bottom Line: Vegetable oils are unhealthy and lead to inflammation. They are potential key players in the epidemic of Western diseases.

6. Low-Fat or Fat-Free Foods

Yogurt

It ain’t the fat, people!

Despite the last decades of propaganda against saturated fats, they have now been proven to be harmless (20, 21).

When the anti-fat message first came out, food manufacturers started producing “healthy” products that were low-fat or fat-free.

The only problem is that foods that have had the fat removed taste like crap.

The food manufacturers then loaded their products with chemicals, artificial sweeteners and massive amounts of sugar.

What they basically did was remove the good stuff (fat) and replace it with bad stuff (sugar).

This is how they managed to turn perfectly healthy foods like yogurt into very harmful products filled with unhealthy ingredients.

Bottom Line: Avoid everything labelled “low-fat” or “fat-free.” These are highly processed products loaded with sugar and other harmful substances.

7. Gluten-Free Junk Foods

Muffin

Many people have started to avoid gluten… a protein found in wheat, spelt, rye and barley (and a few other grains).

Almost a third of the U.S. population currently wants to cut back on gluten or go gluten-free.

Food manufacturers have caught up on the trend and have started offering all sorts of gluten-free “health foods.”

The problem with these foods is that they’re usually not healthy at all.

Instead of a gluten grain, they’re made with other starches like potato starch, tapioca starch or some others. These starches are usually highly refined, void of nutrients and spike blood sugar fast, just like wheat.

But these products are often also loaded with sugar and other harmful or artificial chemicals.

This does NOT apply to foods that are naturally gluten free, like meats or vegetables. If a product says “gluten-free” on the package, then it’s probably bad for you.

Bottom Line: Gluten-free foods are highly processed foods that are not much healthier than their gluten-containing counterparts. It’s best to avoid them.

8. Margarine And Fake Butters

Butter

“I wish butter tasted more like margarine, said nobody ever.”Danny J. Albers

Another side effect of the anti-fat histeria is a plethora of so-called “healthy” butter alternatives.

The most notable example of these is margarine. It used to be loaded with trans fats, now it tends to contain processed vegetable oils instead.

Butter consumption went down, margarine consumption went up.

The problem with this is that butter is healthy. Margarine is NOT.

Grass-fed butter, in particular, is an excellent source of the fatty acid butyrate and Vitamin K2, both of which can have powerful positive effects on health (22, 23).

Margarine is a processed food with harmful ingredients that can make you sick.

In one large study, replacing butter with margarine lead to a drastically increased risk of death from heart attacks (24).

This is one great example of where blindly following the mainstream advice can put you in an early grave.

Bottom Line: Margarine is a processed food that contains unhealthy, artificial ingredients. Avoid it, use real grass-fed butter instead.

9. Energy Bars

Energy Bar

Energy bars are in the same boat as sports drinks – most people don’t need them.

If you’re an elite athlete who desperately needs to keep protein intake high and eat every 2-3 hours, then these bars can definitely be convenient.

However, most people don’t need to eat that often and these bars don’t contain anything that you can’t get from real foods.

Energy bars and protein bars are often highly processed products. Even though they may be higher in protein than chocolate bars, they often still contain the same unhealthy ingredients.

Sugar, white flour, artificial flavor… you name it, they’ve got it.

Of course, there are some healthier brands available, but if you want to avoid the crap then you must read labels!

If you’re starving and far away from home, then healthier types of energy bars can certainly be better than a burger and a coke, but your money is still better spent on real foods.

Bottom Line: Energy and protein bars are often highly processed products. Most people don’t need them and they tend to contain sugar and other nasty ingredients.

10. Low Carb Junk Foods

Atkins Bar

As people have changed their mind on fat being the root of all evil, some people have started cutting back on carbs instead.

Again, food manufacturers have caught notice and brought all sorts of low-carb junk foods to the market.

Even though something is low in carbs and can help you lose weight, it may still be very unhealthy.

Great examples are the low-carb Atkins bars. These are nasty, highly processed products that nobody should be eating.

Just check out the ingredients list for this Atkins Advantage bar. This isn’t food.

If you’re going to do a low-carb diet, stick to real, unprocessed foods.

Bottom Line: There are some low-carb processed foods on the market that are extremely unhealthy and loaded with artificial ingredients.

11. “Healthy” Breakfast Cereals

Breakfast Cereal

Most highly processed breakfast cereals are not healthy.

In fact, they are among the worst foods you can eat.

They’re often loaded with sugar and refined carbohydrates.

Then the manufacturers fortify them with some synthetic vitamins and put tiny amounts of whole grains in the mix, then market their products as healthy.

Don’t be fooled by the labels… low-fat, fat-free, whole grain, etc. Just check the ingredients list on these products, they’re usually loaded with sugar.

Starting the day with a high-sugar cereal will set you up for a blood sugar crash later in the day, followed by hunger, cravings and another high-carb meal.

12. Anything Else?

If the packaging of a food tells you that it is healthy, then it probably isn’t.

Feel free to add to the list in the comments!

145 Comments

  1. Jaime Tagle says:

    Great article!

    This blog keeps getting better and better!

    Congrats Kris

    Keep up the good work :)

    • Thanks for this helpful list. Please do add farmed salmon to this list. To get a clear idea what is involved in eating farmed fish, please take the time to watch the following documentary. I live in British Columbia and it’s a leading issue for us here. http://salmonconfidential.ca/

    • Don’t forget anything with Aspartame – diet soda, those zero calorie flavored waters, sugarless gum, light yogurt, the list is endless.

      Aspartame is some of the most evil stuff on earth. If you have a lot of it, your liver is busy breaking it down all the time and has no time to do its other jobs. And don’t even get me started on what it breaks down into!

      • I would like for you to tell me what aspartame breaks down in to…

      • You are speaking about something you probably know nothing about. They’ve never been able to prove a strong connection between aspartame and any disease. But way to post unscientific research you probably saw on some conspiracy YouTube video.

        What an alarmist. Please go get a science degree, then act like an authority on the subject.

    • What is left to eat? I cannot figure out what to eat anymore. Are organic cereals sweetened with fruit juices healthy?

    • Thank you so much, I’ll stay away from these foods.

  2. I’d like to add farm-raised salmon.

    Wild salmon is a great source of omega-3s but farm raised isn’t. Since it takes up to 15 pounds of “fish feed” (made from “undesirable” fish and “chicken pellets”) to grow one pound of farmed fish, contaminants get concentrated.

    Chicken pellets contain chicken parts of all kinds (like feathers and beaks) but even chicken poop!

    Farm-raised fish are fed antibiotics to help them survive their crowded and contaminated environment.

    Farm-raised salmon is dyed to match a desired shade. Pharmaceutical giant Hoffman-La Roche provides the dyes.

    • I just wanted to agree!

    • Starbelly says:

      Doesn’t the farm-raised salmon also have a much higher mercury content?

    • Just an FYI. The salmon are not “dyed”, they are fed a pigment called astaxanthin (sp?) which occurs naturally in many marine microorganisms. It’s also what makes shrimp red when cooked. Since the farm raised salmon aren’t getting it from their natural foods, it must be added.

      Hoffman-La Roche makes a synthetic version that used to cost $18,000 per Kilogram (in the mid 90′s). I worked for a company that was working on producing it naturally via cultured organisms.

      We had the cost down to about $850 but the guy that owned the company was a chemistry genius/business moron and folded the company because he didn’t reach his goal of $500.

    • Adriana Smith says:

      To get a clear idea what is involved in eating farmed fish, please take the time to watch the following documentary. I live in British Columbia and it’s a leading issue for us here. http://salmonconfidential.ca/

    • Stipetic says:

      Deane, do you know if this is also the case for farm-raised salmon in Europe? I seem to have read something about the confinement areas being larger in Europe and located in places with good local currents (I know this is the case in Greece, and believe this is also the case in Norway, the biggest producer of farmed salmon). Thanks.

    • Good article! Deann’s comments on salmon was good, but disappointing. It’s so hard to add more seafood to my diet when most of the stuff offered in the supermarkets are farm-raised, which I avoid like the plague. Are any farm-raised seafoods safe?

      • Catfish are actually a “good” farm raised fish. As far as I know they are not typically fed any sort of medicine, and instead of bottom feeding off of all the junk and trash that floats on by, the feed they are given is generally cleaner (from my limited research).

    • It depends on what the farm fed salmon eat. They can be just as high in omega 3 as wild, but do tend to have higher omega 6 (nutritiondata.com) http://mro.massey.ac.nz/handle/10179/1230

  3. Hubby likes his “organic” cereals that are probably not that good for you. But otherwise, we don’t do anything else on the list, and I don’t eat the cereals he eats for breakfast.

    Oh, he still eats gluten although I am about 98% gluten free.

  4. “Mayonnaise is almost all fat; so how do you make a low fat, or “light” version? They use a “slurry” containing “gums”, which replaces the fat.”

    From a channel 4 show here in Britain called “Food unwrapped”.

    “To find out what this slurry is, James meets a scientist at Warwick University, who reveals that one of the key ingredients is Xantham Gum. This originates from bacteria which causes black rot on cabbages and is common in many foodstuffs as it’s a great replacement for fat”.

    Don’t eat anything that says “low fat”

    Great stuff Kris, thanks so much. xxxx

    • Margret Veigars says:

      Yuck did not know that… thanks for sharing, will not buy the low fat mayo ever again, don’t know why I didn’t realize it about mayo when I try as good as I can to buy real foods in everything else.

  5. Margaretrc says:

    Great article. Have shared it on my timeline.

    But one thing: “It’s kind of like saying that because unfiltered cigarettes are healthier than filtered cigarettes, everyone should be smoking unfiltered cigarettes.”

    Shouldn’t it be the opposite? I think most people think filtered cigarettes are healthier than unfiltered, no?

    Just saying. (I don’t smoke.)

    • Whoops, my bad. I have fixed it now.

      • Andrew Walsh says:

        Kris,

        Overall this is a great article. Thank you for pointing out what some of us have been telling our friends and acquaintances for years. Processed “low-fat, non-fat, sugar-free” foods are all propaganda! Replacing all of the good stuff with sugar substitutes and things like xanthan gum is terrible for you!

        My only criticism is that you should be a little more specific with the affects that these processed foods have on your body and why, also maintaining a vocabulary that has more variety would help the presentation of your article flow more nicely.

        Anyway, great job though.

      • Phil Sues says:

        Don’t be in such a hurry. I remember that around 1970 some researchers found that tobacco is actually a better filter than filters. All filters do is keep tobacco crums out of your mouth. So you would be better off smoking unfiltered and only smoking 2/3 of the cigarette. Best is not smoking at all. The air in New York city is like smoking three packs a day, put cigarettes on top of that. I smoked for 49 years and feel better but still miss it after four years on the wagon.

  6. Sugar and chemical processed meal replacement drinks that tout to fill in your kids’ nutrition gaps. OMG!

  7. Soy! Ugh ugh ugh! Everything from soybean oil to soy protein isolate! Bad bad bad stuff!

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/09/18/soy-can-damage-your-health.aspx

  8. Meat. Poultry. Nuts. Berries. Green Veggies. Water, coffee, and tea. Very little by way of dairy or salt. No bread, grains, or starches. If something is marketed as “healthy”, just remember that a marketing person decided it was healthy so they could charge more for it.

    How hard is that to understand?

  9. Another great article Kris! While not a specific food, we also get tricked thinking that when we see “100% Organic” on a package, I think the general public just assumes it’s good for you.

    Take any one of your examples above and add “USDA Organic” to the label and that’s even better right? Wrong.

    Organic sugar, organic cane sugar, organic soy, organic canola oil, organic wheat, etc. the list goes on and on. Sugar is sugar regardless if it’s organic.

  10. Peter Soliman says:

    I would add Soy.

  11. You forgot to add meat, dairy, and eggs to the list! If you want to avoid heart disease!

    • I think I’ll pass on the vegan propaganda today, but thanks for the suggestion.

      • Peggy Holloway says:

        LOL.

      • Way to read into it.

        Nowhere did it suggest vegan.

        Saturated fat is in ham, beef, chicken.

        It said to avoid the veggies oils… etc.

      • Fat from meat and eggs is not bad for you – in fact your body needs it. This article by renowned heart surgeon, Dr. Dwight Lundell explains it well. http://www.sott.net/article/242516-Heart-Surgeon-Speaks-Out-On-What-Really-Causes-Heart-Disease

        • Jessica says:

          Yes, but the read sites from Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. Dean Ornish. Also read the ‘China Study’. I’m not so sure animal protein is so great for you! They have a very good track record for the recovery of their patients.

          Most doctors don’t study more than about a couple hours of nutrition and companies fund them so they try to promote their products/medications. These two doctors went off the beaten track and have proven to be successful while avoiding common medications and surgeries.

          • The vegan docs are wrong. There is NO evidence at all that animal protein causes harm, it’s all a bunch of pseudoscience.

            Please read this objective critique of the china study:
            http://rawfoodsos.com/2010/07/07/the-china-study-fact-or-fallac/

            It exposes the vegan docs for what they are, pseudo-scientists.

            Low-fat vegetarian diets have been proven inferior to low-carb, high-fat, high-meat diets in a large randomized controlled trial. See here:

            http://authoritynutrition.com/low-carb-vs-vegan-vegetarian/

          • Threenorns says:

            Were animal protein so unhealthy, then the Inuit should traditionally have sky-high rates of heart disease and cholesterol because their traditional diet is 97% animal fat and meat, 3% carbs mostly from stuff like seaweed and lichen (the arctic being famous for the extensive tracts of arable croplands that don’t exist).

            They didn’t.

            A sure sign that the “healthy, balanced” diet the whites introduced them to was skyrocketing rates of heart disease, stroke, tooth decay, and diabetes.

    • Eggs are healthy for you actually and I believe that meat is healthy as long it’s grass fed and hormone free.

  12. Kris… you speak the truth, and we love it!

    • Yes we do! So tired of being told how to “eat healthy” by quacks, pseudoscientists, and Food Network hosts. I’m nearing my sixth decade and have never felt better avoiding the highs and lows of sugar metabolism. Thank you, Kris!

  13. Whole wheat has extra wheat germ agglutinin, which is quite toxic. Most is supposedly destroyed in baking or other heating (extrusion of cereals, say), but there are claims that enough survives to damage the intestines.

    Also, bran fiber may actually do more harm than good, though research is at best mixed.

  14. Peggy Holloway says:

    Agree with this almost 100% except that I would not say that sports drinks and energy bars are acceptable for athletes. Athletes can fuel on much healthier fare.

    If they go ketogenic, then they don’t need to replenish glycogen and can ditch all the carbs and will need no sugar in their diets.

    I’m not saying I’m exactly an athlete, but I do bike for thousands of miles every season without any sports, gels, or bars.

    Just have some steak and eggs mid-ride and a steak and salad for dinner and I’m good for the next day’s 80-miler.

  15. Good short list.

    You could also add GMO fish (unknown effects) and GMO corn (some South African GMO corn (the stuff with spider proteins) has actually claimed a few human lives, farm corn workers.) The cotton plants kill livestock greasing on stubble, but we do not eat cotton.

    Soy protein in general is bad also, both GMO and heritage cultivars.

    • We eat cottonseed oil. At least most people who eat processed foods end up eating some. If a snack food lists cottonseed oil as a possible ingredient (listing several other oils as possibilities) it’s likely that cottonseed is most or all of that.

  16. Hi Kris. Great article although I think most nutritionists and dietitians would 90% agree with you – didn’t realise there are people out there that still believe fruit juice is good for you! ;o).

    I might be missing something on the website but can you please point me to where your reference/footnotes are? I can’t see them.

    I agree with alot of your comments but would like to research the studies you reference before making up my mind on others. Thanks!

    • Check out the brackets behind the paragraphs in the article. They look like this: (1, 2, 3) – in them are links to scientific papers.

      • Thanks, they weren’t showing as hyperlinks on my phone! :)

      • Rebecca says:

        Unfortunately, it costs thirty bucks to read the one article you footnoted for your saturated fat comment. The other article I noticed had some criticisms. Not to mention you are making definitive statements about these things whilst only citing “one study” or “another study.”

        Studies… eh. One study says one thing, the next says another!

  17. Hi Kris, one question about freshly squeezed fruit juice. There are juicers out now that juices the entire fruit and the juice that comes out of them are filled with all the pulp.

    So if one were to drink that juice with all the pulp from the whole fruit, would that be the same as eating the fruit?

    • Alan,

      the problem is that it’s easy to drink a glass full of juice – or two. Or more. I’ve seen my grandkids do it.

      But to obtain a glass full of juice (even with the pulp), you have to squeeze at least 3 oranges, or apples, or whatever. You can easily drink say two glasses of juice – but could you sit there and eat 6 oranges?

      • Hi Alex T.

        Thanks for the reply. My understanding is that if you eat the whole fruit, you are consuming the insoluble fibre along with the soluble fibre. Together, the two of them act as a barrier so the fructose will not be absorbed by the body (to what degree, I do not know).

        Hence, the negative effects of the dosage of 4-6 oranges in a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice will be minimized. Can you comment on that?

        Thanks.

        • While you are correct there is a vast difference between juice with lots of pulp and eating an orange. We aren’t able to mash the pulp down as small and evenly as a juicer therefore there are much larger pieces of fiberous fruit going into our bodies for our digestive system to break down on it’s own.

          Juice with pulp has really already had most of the break down down before entering the body so it really isn’t going to slow down or eliminate the negative effects. And again, as was previously mentioned it is easier to down several glasses of OJ than it is to eat several oranges in one sitting.

    • Fruit is great stuff but it is concentrated in sugar. Healthy juicing can be used to boost low levels of nutrients, especially if you’re trying to re-establish a balance or correct metabolism problems, but it should be mainly green stuff- even carrots are high sugar when concentrated in juice. A good solution is to add one carrot, or one apple, etc. to a green drink.

      If you start out gently you can develop a taste for greener and greener- I even like broccoli juice now when mixed with beets, butternut squash or carrots! And if you have a little time you can make easy, really delish flax crackers with the pulp- and (occasional) muffins or quick breads- tons of recipes on the net. I’ve been told I should sell my flax crackers!

  18. Here is one nutritionist who agrees 100% with everything this article says. The only thing I would have added is soy, as other posters have mentioned. Plus, I love the way you handled the vegan comment… Viva la steak, baabbeeee!!!!

  19. Awesome article. If you could add what the healthy options from the store would be, that would be really cool. Like what cereals or granola is the best option, or yogurt brands, or whatnot.

  20. That is such a good article and so true, I’m having my blueberries with old fashioned oatmeal this am.

  21. Great article. loved it! Hope you dont mind if I link this on my tumblr page?

  22. Another great article. Thanks Kris I find your articles very motivating!

  23. DaddyBil says:

    OK, sugar. It’s in everything, and for me, almost a food group. I love the stuff.

    But I have a question: the “sugar in the raw” (turbinado)–is it any better than plain ole white granulated sugar that you find on the shelves of every store? It claims “raw”, but of course, if it were truly raw, it would be stalks of sugar cane, correct? Is it any more less processed than granulated sugar, or just processed in a different manner?

    • All these more natural sugars are just like regular sugar with tiny amounts of nutrients thrown in.

      I guess you could say that they’re slightly better than refined sugar, but still a lot worse than no sugar at all.

      • Kathryn W says:

        I learned (in a health food/cooking class) that sugar “in the raw” is simply less refined sugar. The refining process is what cleans the sugar so all you’re eating is essentially a dirtier version of regular sugar. Is that true?

        • I don’t know that I would call it a “dirtier” version. Less refined yes. The more refined the sugar is the less natural it is and the more the natural ingredients have been tampered with. Removing natural nutrients and adding chemicals.

          Sugar is sugar whether it is fructose, sugar, and will have the same digestive effects for the most part. Moderation is key in everything. Though from my studies I would say refined white sugar is the “dirtier” version.

  24. I’d just like to add to the sports drink area, food dyes are in most of them and have been found to cause a multitude of health and behavioral problems.

  25. Margret Veigars says:

    Love your blog, great post. I’m working on switching all foods to real foods, I do it mostly.

    Would love to see a post about yoghurt vs greek yoghurt unless you’ve done it and I haven’t seen it.

  26. Great article Kris. Just wanted to say that a lot of my friends are afraid of saturated fat and butter not so much because they fear heart disease but because they believe that eating fat will make them fat – all those calories – 9 calories per gram – compared to 4 calories per gram for carbs and protien.

    I know the calories in/calories out ideology is flawed but it’s hard to convince them even though I tell them I am on a diet that is about 70% fat, 20 % protein and 10% carbs and my BMI is a healthy 21!

    Perhaps you could cover this topic on your blog sometime as fat phobia and calorie counting is a big issue for a lot of people.

    • Maybe tell them that the volume or weight of the food is just one of many aspects of food that contribute to satiety.

      You might try explaining to them about carbs raising insulin, it’s a fairly simple way to explain how the foods we eat affect our hormones.

  27. Agreed with most of what you said about Gluten free products, but… you know I had a but. I follow PHD (perfect health diet) and last week the topic turned to a blog about potato starch, I now supplement with it in my smoothies, treat it just like Gelatin or Chia. The evidence indicates it doesn’t have any effect on blood sugar.

    http://freetheanimal.com/2013/04/resistant-assimilation-resistance.html

  28. I think I will give up eating altogether.

  29. There’s a lot of controversy about eating eggs, but from the articles I’ve read which summarized independent studies, it seems that they are, in fact, healthy to eat and do not lead to heart problems, as most mass-media health info would suggest.

  30. Another great article Kris. Glad I stumbled onto your page the other day. Keep up the good work.

  31. Fruit juice? Sports drinks? Margarine? Low carb junk food? Who in their right mind would consider this to be healthy foods and categorize them as such?!

  32. Dr. Jason Fung says:

    Hi Kris – just read your article then got this from Harvard School of Public Health.

    Tip #1 – use liquid plant oils (canola and other vegetable)
    Tip #3 – switch from butter to margarine
    AAGH! Look what you are up against.

    Full link here:
    http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/fats-and-cholesterol/

    Great work.

  33. Hugh Robertson says:

    Agree with all you say. But what I’m finding is that when I tell people to just eat real food they have no idea what I’m talking about!? Seems some are so far away from the concept of buying and cooking their own meals they are having to start from scratch, their mothers taught them nothing.

    I am very lucky to have been partly raised before all the nonsense. But I remember when Crisco came out along with TV dinners and it was all down hill from there.

    • Hugh I have experienced the same all my adult life. I grew up on crisco and wasn’t taught how to cook either. Oddly enough I wanted to learn how to do things the “old-fashioned way” I taught myself and love to cook “Real food” though it seems most people I know prefer fastfood anymore. Addiction? Taste bud changes? I don’t get it myself I can’t stand the taste of fast food, processed crud.

  34. How about being a bit more consistent? #2 and #7 seem to contradict each other quite a bit. Or are we just supposed to avoid all grains?

    • PosterGirl says:

      Exactly. As a diabetic, I can cut down on the amount of grains in my diet, but I can’t cut them *out*. I need something to balance fruit, beans, etc. especially since my body absorbs the carbs from whole grains more slowly than from fruit, and I can’t always do beans.

  35. Mostly common sense stuff but still a great article – especially the “gluten free” junk foods! I’ve had to warn my girlfriend about them ;)

  36. Excellent article Kris but I am confused with Michelle from UK.

    She states that Xantham Gum is bad but every gluten free recipe I have uses it. All the bread I buy from my local gluten free shops all have it in and when I ask they say you can’t make gluten free without it. It doesn’t contain sugar though.

    • Tiffany says:

      The point is to reduce or eliminate items that contain gluten from your diet, not find a substitution.

      I think one of the lessons of the article is that if you are trying to cut back on something (calories, fat, gluten, etc.) the synthetic version is actually very unhealthy.

    • Jessica says:

      I wouldn’t use gluten free bread, or if you do use it sparingly as it is processed. You can even use Romaine lettuce or Swiss Chard as a wrap. It is better than it sounds!

  37. This was a very interesting read. I found a breakfast cereal that is gluten free and made of many different types of ancient grains. The ingredients list is very short and the only thing sweet in it is a tiny bit of honey, vanilla or maple depending on the kind you get.

    I actually really like it. It’s the only gluten-free item I am currently eating although I’ve got digestive issues and it may be better for me to avoid gluten (I’ll be getting checked out soon to see if I’m gluten intolerant or have something like IBS).

    I was wondering what you thought of Stevia. It’s a natural sweetner and apparently they take a lot of care with their crop. I’ve noticed that many life-style change ‘diets’ use it instead of sugar. Your thoughts?

    I also wanted to know if Almond Milk is ok. I happen to not like milk, though I love dairy. Almond Milk tastes much better for me and I get the unsweetened kind.

    Another thing I wanted to ask about was grains like quinoa and brown rice and the like. I’ve noticed some pastas and crackers being made out of these and things like soba or spelt. Would those be better than their whole wheat alternatives?

    Thanks for answering in advance…:) I shares this on FB as I have a lot of friends in the same boat as me!

    Shannon

    • Jessica says:

      A lot of the almond, soy, etc. milks contain carageenan which is thought to cause inflammation which contributes to many diseases. It also causes gastrointestinal problems in some people. It is currently banned in Europe in infant formula, but not in the US.

  38. Jeannie says:

    Oh the cavities I see from sports drinks! Just as bad as the cavities from soft drinks! Thank you for informing!

  39. I like your post and I know people can always quibble with minor stuff. Nonetheless, I have to point out that yogurt (except for possibly organic yogurt) is not really all that good for you… there’s a lot of evidence linking it to cancer, for instance this: http://www.naturalnews.com/035081_pasteurized_milk_cancer_dairy.html . People should be cautious about milk products.

  40. Looking forward to your answer on Stevia, quinoa & brown rice, and Almond milk…

  41. Guilherme Balbinot says:

    Hey Kris, this is a very nice blog. I live in Brazil and we are facing a huge amount of propaganda for new products, as our economy is growing the “big foods” are invading our country with propaganda and highly processed food… similar from what happened in the US in their good economic period…

    I have been sharing your blog posts with my friends (the ones that understand english). I wish that they could read it in portuguese, as I’m also motivated to change things and I’m very fascinated with health. Keep up the good work!

  42. I’m so tired of these articles. You see over and over again this is now bad to eat and so is this. Basically drink water with a lemon in it. Other than that you are eating something “bad”. Have we become so over obsessed with analyzing every particle of our food that we can’t even enjoy a simple meal or snack? And then shove it everyone else’s face when we see them eating it?

    I’m not saying that we shouldn’t eat better as a society or even consider some of the chemicals used in foods. But at what point do we actually push it so far and become so fanatical about it that it’s the opposite extreme of those that eat so unhealthy?

    I’m just so tired of these stupid articles that try to scare people into thinking the sky is falling around them unless they eat everything right from the soil (the organic soil) around them. So I’ll get off my soap box now and just sit back with my dinner. You know, my glass of water with a lemon. And yes I made sure it was an organic lemon.

    • Joe,

      Articles like these are not about condemning everything we eat and ruining other people’s happiness. It’s about education. It’s about having the knowledge to make informed decisions. It’s important to analyze and study the ‘particles’ in our food to know what we are consuming and the harmful chemicals that are in them, otherwise we are just blindly eating anything and everything without knowing the consequences to our health and well-being.

      There are people who do want to eat healthy and want to live a better life but don’t know any better. These articles are for them. If you are so sick of them, then why did you stumble on to this article and read it and now complain about it? If you prefer to be kept in the dark, then simply don’t read the article.

      • This is not adult education. This was written on a 4th grade level with information that is on a second grade level. If you want education pick up an actual book or check out the reference section of your local library. The author should take a class on human physiology, and for the people that actually believe that everything in this article is “fact”…physiology is the study of function in living systems, ie how the body works!

        Not how some dude that titled an online article “Foods that kill you” thinks about all food that is part of modern society is the devil… Gimme a break… I went to medical school for 4 years and we never learned any of that crap… It’s sad to thing the general public uses an article like this to base their decisions about food intake.

        John Doe, MD
        Board Certified Internist

        • You know just as well as I do that doctors generally don’t know much about nutrition except what they’ve taken the time to find out for themselves.

          And I passed med school physiology and biochemistry just fine, thank you very much.

          • Ruth Harms says:

            I wish I would have known these things much younger. As someone who has had numerous health problems related to my adrenal gland, I dieted most of my life and wandered why I couldn’t lose weight even though I walked at least 1/2 hour 5 days a week – and in my 60′s and now 70′s I struggled with energy.

            Dr.’s did not even try to help me diet wise – instead a nutritionist started me on a diet dropping all the things you have discussed. My weight dropped off fast and my waist decreased in size – after couple years on this diet, I’ve discovered I am much stronger and I can double the good fats such as olive oil, fatty wild caught salmon, avocado, flaxmeal, and all the nuts without gaining lbs.

            I have wonderful meals with both raw and slightly cooked vegetables using mainly herbs for flavor! I love my diet.

        • Actually “John Doe”, what is sad is to see someone who has nothing better to do than to criticize a useful and accurate article and try to back up his criticisms with what he allegedly learned in medical school.

          Medical schools, whose largest source of funding is the world pharma industry and whose curricula are set by the doctors union known as the AMA, teach little or nothing about diet or nutrition. Instead, they teach that the way to address illness is to take out a prescription pad and prescribe patented, highly profitable unnatural compounds made by . . . guess who.

          Great article, Kris!

        • Ace Warrior says:

          To be fair it’s not like medical school really emphasizes nutrition…also, you can’t look at some random article on the internet and make the assumption that this is the type of information “the general public” uses in making decisions. The title is what it is because the point of a title is to get the readers attention, not necessarily to convey factual information.

          Also, just because you didn’t learn about something in med school doesn’t mean that it’s “crap”. It just means that you’re uneducated about that particular domain of human health. Given the important role food plays in creating health and conversely illness it would behoove any provider to educate themselves on the subject matter.

        • Jessica says:

          That is the problem, you went to medical school for four years and learned nothing about nutrition. Don’t you think something is wrong with that? Companies like it that way. Just make money fixing the problem, don’t learn anything about prevention!

    • Jessica says:

      We are animals though and the things most of us eat are processed beyond belief and would never be found in nature. This is a problem and needs to be addressed by the government. Flame retardants are added to our drinks, and then advertised to help us after a hard workout. Genetically modified foods are given to us without our knowledge with barely any studies done and the studies that have been done were done by the company (Monsanto) that profits from their sales.

      Many of these things have been banned in Europe, but not the US because of the revolving door the FDA has with companies like Monsanto (Michael Taylor). Don’t you think this is worth talking about? We are being sold garbage that is advertised to be healthy so that companies can make money and as a result pharmaceutical companies make money treating all of these diseases caused by the processed food and chemicals we consume. Don’t you think it is time for us to open our eyes even if it means we can’t run to Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner?

  43. Joe Friday says:

    Well after reading your latest (11 foods that can kill you) article I decided to clear house. Would you please do a follow up with an article that list the foods that will not kill me… empty cupboards!

  44. When I found out that margarine was something like one molecule off from being plastic I ditched it for butter! I figure something made from nature made milk is far better health wise than something so close to the moleucular make up of plastic!

  45. Thorin says:

    Kris,
    I have been curious about the margarine/butter debate for some time now, so I was interested to look into your reference on the subject. You made the statement: “Margarine is a processed food that contains unhealthy, artificial ingredients. Avoid it, use real grass-fed butter instead.”, but only included a single study that suggests negative consequences for margarine intake.

    Interestingly, the study was published in 1997. This means that during the reporting period of the study, margarine would still contain high levels of trans fats, unlike, as you mention in your article, most margarines available today. In fact, the study is in specific reference to trans fats. While I am not yet decided on the subject, your reference does NOT support your claims. Be sure to read your references!

  46. Wenchypoo says:

    SOY!! All the “health lobbies” (American Heart Association, Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute, American Diabetes Association, etc.) are STILL recommending this crap (as tofu, TVP, edamame, and other products) as helpful cures for laundry lists of ailments–including hot flashes (and believe, me, soy DOESN’T work).

    Another one that is as badly ingrained into CW health recommendations is canola oil. Sure, it may be high in Omega-3, but WHAT ELSE is it high in… radical oxidators, anyone?

    The so-called benefits of both these “foods” are hyped, but the drawbacks are not, except in places like MDA, WAPF, and maybe here.

  47. Ace Warrior says:

    An observation—In the opening paragraph there is a statement about making claims based on zero evidence. I find it ironic that an article claiming this does not have any references to empirical studies supporting the claims, and so is itself is technically based on “zero evidence”.

  48. Soy. As one of the most deceptive “health foods” of all (because misinformation abounds), it easily could have topped this list.

    Still, a great article. Thanks for addressing the under-reported facts.

  49. One tip I was told… read the ingredients, if you don’t recognize even one or you cannot pronounce a word… stay away. We are fatter and sicker than people 100 years ago. The didn’t have junk food.

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