Six “Healthy” Foods You Should Never Have in Your Fridge
Are so-called “health foods” making you sick? In today’s post I single out six foods that bill themselves as nutritious but actually belong in the trash—not in your refrigerator.
Open a typical fridge, and you’ll find stuff like leftover pizza, white bread, and two-liter bottles of soda. Now open the fridge of someone who’s health-conscious, and you’ll see lots of things that look a lot more nutritious.
But here’s something that might surprise you: The “healthy” food in the second refrigerator may be almost as bad as the junk in the first one. For instance, here are six foods billed as nutritious that belong in the trash, not ever in your fridge.
At my local health food store, there’s a whole refrigerator case filled with soy hotdogs, soy fish sticks, soy bacon, soy-you-name-it. People buy these products like crazy, because they’re convinced that if the label says soy, it’s good for you.
Well, guess what: That’s one of the biggest myths in history. In reality, soy is bad for you because it’s an endocrine disruptor. In particular, it can mess with your thyroid, putting you at higher risk for hypothyroidism. Soy also contains substances that can block your absorption of important nutrients like calcium, zinc, and magnesium. In addition, the processing of soy Frankenfoods can contaminate them with aluminum, a toxic metal you definitely don’t want on your dinner plate.
By the way, many people think that soy is healthy because people in Asia—who tend to be healthier than Americans—eat lots of it. But in reality, soy isn’t a big menu item in Asia. Typically, it’s served as a condiment or accent, not as a main course. Also, most soy products in Asia, unlike those in the U.S., are fermented to remove toxins.
Sure, yogurt contains some healthy probiotics. But that’s hardly a fair trade-off for the fillers, artificial flavors, and sugar or artificial sweeteners that manufacturers shovel into it. Add in the fact that dairy disagrees to some degree with most people—causing everything from bloating and gas to acne and eczema—and flavored yogurt doesn’t look like such a great nutritional deal anymore.
Imitation crab meat
Those fake crab sticks are easy to snack on—and you probably feel virtuous when you’re eating them, because they’re fish, right? Well, sort of. In reality, they’re mashed-up fish mixed with things like wheat, tapioca, corn, sugars, and low-quality vegetable oils. They may also contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is toxic to your brain cells.
Sports drinks and vitamin drinks
Look at the “healthy” drinks on your grocery store shelf, and you’ll see lots of claims: Contains probiotics! Gives you your daily dose of vitamin C! Packed with nutrients!
But here’s what I want you to do: Pick up those bottles and read the ingredient labels. Most of the time, you’ll discover that these drinks are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners. They’re also likely to contain artificial colors and flavors. So you’re getting a tiny dose of good stuff along with a flood of cell-clogging sludge.
I’m always amazed at how many of my clients think Nutella is a health food because it has hazelnuts and chocolate in it. Yes, it has two healthy ingredients—but it’s also loaded with sugar. Basically, it’s a candy bar in a jar.
Whole wheat bread
People think that whole wheat equals healthy. But grains—including whole wheat—elevate your blood sugar levels as much as table sugar does. That can lead to insulin resistance, obesity, and even diabetes.
In addition, wheat contains gluten. Many, many people—not just those with celiac disease—experience symptoms like GI problems, “brain fog,” fatigue, and depression when they eat foods containing gluten.
Restocking—the Healthy Way!
If your fridge is looking a little empty after you toss out these unhealthy “health foods,” it’s easy to find better alternatives. For instance:
- Replace your soy Frankenfoods with real meat—preferably pasture-raised. You can even find healthy, additive-free hot dogs and lunch meats these days.
- If you like dairy products and tolerate them well, replace sweetened yogurt with full-fat plain yogurt and stir in fresh fruit. Otherwise, try yogurt made from coconut milk. (If you can’t find it in stores, it’s easy to make it yourself.