Although most nutrition professionals can agree that whole foods are good for you, there is controversy and disagreement that arises when we discuss what foods may not be good for you. I personally take the stance that if it's a whole food that has not been tampered with then it's allowed. If it's a refined, synthetic, or chemically or genetically modified food, then I want it to be proven safe before I put it in my mouth (or even on my skin)! Unfortunately for us here in America there are many foods and ingredients that are approved and used in our food supply before enough testing has been done to prove their safety.
If you want to be as healthy as possible and eat as naturally as possible, then there are some foods I would recommend avoiding and removing from your food supply. Although I believe most of us would feel some noticeable benefits in avoiding these foods, at the least you would have peace of mind knowing you're not eating something that is potentially toxic to your body. You've heard the saying "one man's food is another man's poison." Well the foods I will mention here are more like "every man, woman and child's poison" if you will!
The first potentially harmful food is food that has been genetically modified (GMO). If you think you don't have these foods on your grocery list, think again. Most corn, wheat, canola and soy in the United States is genetically modified and in almost every prepackaged food you can find. Pick up any box in your pantry and look for any of those four ingredients, or any derivative of those foods (i.e., corn starch, wheat germ, etc.). If it's in there and the ingredient list does not say that it's organic, then there is a very high chance that it's a GMO.
So what's wrong with GMO's? Well, I don't want to get too into this on a blog post. If you want to research this info, you can start at the website for the Institute for Responsible Technology. But in a nutshell, most of these foods have not been sufficiently tested for safety. There have been a few studies, however, and the results were not good. These foods are potential allergens, toxins, carcinogens, the list goes on. Many countries will not accept our foods because they contain GMO's. I think it's most prudent to avoid them until they have been proven safe (if ever). Some scientists are suggesting that the dramatic increase in food allergies in recent years may be tied to this bombardment of GMO foods in our system. I don't want to be a guinea pig in this massive experiment. Neither should you.
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is most likely all produced from GMO corn. It is widely used. It is used to sweeten most soda and sweet beverages in this country. Other than being a GMO derived sweetener, there are several other dangers with consuming this toxic sludge. A previous blog post I wrote discusses some of these problems with HFCS. The good news is recently consumers have been asking manufacturers to take the HFCS out of their products. We may be close to tipping the scale and eliminating its use in our foods. I assure you that you can only benefit from avoiding HFCS. Look for it in your kitchen. I'm certain you'll find it in more foods than you imagined.
Trans fats are almost old news. Trans fats are fats that have been highly refined. The refinement process makes these fats into highly toxic oils that are potentially cancer causing and artery blocking poisons. You may find these listed as Partially Hydrogenated Oils. Some cities like NYC have banned their use by restaurants. However, they have not disappeared from our food supply all together. You would do well to toss these oils and foods containing them out of your cupboard. Most vegetable oils have gone through this refinement process, not to mention they are most likely GMO.
The last substance I'm going to recommend you remove from your sacred bodies are the Excitotoxins. Excitotoxins are chemicals that cause damage to your precious nerve cells. MSG and aspartame (Nutrasweet) are widely used excitotoxins. These man-made chemicals are believed to cause irreparable damage to the brain and nerves throughout the body. You may wonder why these are even legal to use in our food supply. There are several documentaries to watch and books you can read that discuss the politics and history behind their use. I can't tell you how important and essential to your health it is to eliminate these substances from your diet. Unfortunately they can be found in so many of your daily foods and products, often under obscure names. This is just another reason to stay away from prepackaged foods. Chances are one or both of these chemicals are ingredients in your favorite snack. Toss it out!
Well, I hope I haven't scared you so much that you don't come back and read next week's blog - Foods to Eat Abundantly!