The top 5 fake health foods to avoid ever buying even if they are certified organic and prominently displayed at a health food store with the label emblazoned with marketing buzzwords.
Consider yourself warned! Not all products at the health food store are healthy!
In fact, much of it can be classified as organic junk food.
You can always tell health food store newbies as their shopping carts are typically loaded up with these types of foods.
This pattern of behavior likely indicates that they have only recently made the transition from grocery store junk food and are simply replacing one type of highly processed boxed food with another.
Having shopped at health food stores for over 30 years and seen many a food fad come and go, here is my top five list of supposedly “healthy” foods that are anything but nourishing to you and your family.
Protein Powder (all of them are bad!)
Most people do not realize that protein is a very fragile macronutrient.
When you forcibly separate protein from its whole food source in a factory, it becomes denatured.
This is the case even when done at low temperatures. For example, the simple act of drying and powdering whey protein is denaturing!
Denatured foods are toxic and allergenic to the body. This is because digestive enzymes do not work as effectively on them. This results in an incomplete digestive process for protein powder.
Undigested food rots in the gut and is the perfect food for pathogenic yeasts and bacteria to thrive upon. Over a period of time, this leads the body down the path to autoimmune disorders (most of the immune system is in the gut!).
To reiterate this important point…whey protein is especially fragile and cannot be powdered or dried even at low temperatures.
For more information, this article includes additional details on the dangers of protein powders and other high protein foods.
Incidentally, I don’t recommend bone broth protein powder either. They do not offer the same healing benefits as homemade bone broth.
If you need a protein boost, go for Real Food! Skip the processed protein powder and eat a grass-fed steak, some pastured poultry, or an egg instead!
If you must have a powder to add to your smoothie, choose a third-party certified glyphosate-free collagen powder (such as this brand).
Soy milk and other types of alternative “plant-based” milk are not ancestral foods. Nor were they ever considered of value in traditional societies, contrary to modern claims.
Not only are there zero health benefits from soy milk, but commercial alternative milk brands are almost without exception completely toxic due to the processing and packaging.
These products are a quintessential modern fake food invention…a cheap, mass-produced product with an undigestible form of calcium and synthetic Vitamin D2.
Unnatural fortification of processed foods is linked with hyperactivity, coronary heart disease, and allergic reactions. (1)
Packaging is another very serious problem with alternative milk. Drinking them risks ingesting microplastics from the thin plastic lining hiding inside the tetrapaks.
The leaching occurs from the boiling hot liquid sealed in to sterilize the cartons for ultra-long shelf stability.
The horrible taste is covered up with sugar, “natural flavors” with solvent residues, and/or innocuous-sounding alternative sweeteners allowed under USDA Organic. (2)
Perhaps the most concerning aspect is the devasting impact of these beverages on the thyroid gland. Soy is one of the most goitrogenic (thyroid-suppressing) foods on the planet. Ingestion of endocrine disruptors from the microplastics and solvent residues is also a risk to this delicate gland. (3)
Interestingly, Dr. Harry Miller, the man credited with popularizing gag-worthy soy milk in China in the late 1930s which then spread to the rest of the world, specialized in goiter surgery in his medical practice!
Canned (and Tetrapak) Broth and Soup
Canned soups and broths even if organic are never a healthy food choice. Most brands are nothing but water, sodium, and MSG.
Organic bouillon cubes are no improvement and the tetra packs of organic broth should be avoided as well due to the same packaging issues described above for plant-based milk.
Anything that is in the store that is soup-related will usually have MSG in it.
Organic MSG is still MSG. The same damaging effects occur on the neurons in your hypothalamus.
Remember that the hypothalamus is the Master Controller of the endocrine system.
Thus, if you don’t want your metabolism messed up, then avoid canned soup of all kinds as this is a very big source of this toxic ingredient.
To get a sense of how big this problem is, just read the label of your favorite organic soup and then read the list of the dozens of MSG pseudo-names manufacturers use to fool consumers. (4)
There are a few brands of organic soup that appear to be free of MSG with no offending names on the ingredient list. However, I am skeptical that this is truly the case given that regulations allow unlabeled MSG in certain situations (same situation as unlabeled transfats).
Even for soup and broth brands that seem to not contain MSG, the packaging continues to be an issue. BPA or BPS cans are not safe nor are microplastic-laden tetrapaks.
If you want a decent bowl of soup, embrace the fact that you probably need to make it yourself unless you have a local business that makes it from scratch. Consider one of these healthy soup and broth recipes to get you started.
Fish Oil Supplements
Fish oil is a very delicate oil highly subject to rancidity due to the high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega 3 fats can never be heated. Even exposure to light and air hastens their rapid breakdown to a rancid state.
With this in mind, how could plain fish oil supplements be anything but unhealthy given that they are all processed at extremely high temperatures?
They are then packaged in capsules or bottles that sit for goodness knows how long on store shelves until the unwitting customer buys them.
The best type of marine oil is virgin cod liver oil from sustainable and clean waters. The delicate omega-3 fats are completely unheated and raw. In addition, natural vitamins A and D are present for a legitimate health boost.
Krill oil is marginally acceptable if low-temperature processed.
For those allergic to fish and seafood, these alternatives to cod liver oil are worth considering.
Gluten-free went mainstream in 2010 when Chelsea Clinton requested a gluten-free cake at her wedding reception.
Since then, the gluten-free boondoggle has continued to expand with some health food stores dedicating entire aisles to products certified free of this loathed plant protein.
Don’t be fooled by the hype.
In most cases, gluten-free processed foods are a crutch for those who are very allergic to processed foods but aren’t yet ready to switch to Real Food.
The mark-up on a product that is gluten-free is also quite ludicrous, especially given how high in carbs and lacking in nutrition they are!
If you are allergic to gluten, it is much better to work on your gut health by focusing on a legit traditional diet (from sourcing to preparation) rather than the band-aid approach of buying gluten-free processed foods.
Once you rebalance and rebuild your gut (aka, “heal and seal”) so that beneficial bacteria dominate rather than the pathogens, you will likely be delighted to find that food sensitivities that you had before are greatly minimized or even completely resolved!
I hope this list helps you become a savvier health food store customer.
Beware of falling for the siren song of highly processed organic junk food marketing with faddish buzzwords.
Stick with organic or (even better) local produce grown in rich soil and minimal ingredient foods such as sprouted nut butter and traditional sourdough bread.
This simple change will put you far ahead of the pack and well on your way to loading your pantry and refrigerator with foods that will really enhance your health and not just give you a false sense of security.
(1) Not Milk and Uncheese: The Udder Alternatives
(2) Neotame: USDA Organic’s Dirty Little Secret
(3) How Common Chemicals Are Harming Your Thyroid
(4) MSG Aliases