Somewhere around the early-to-mid-20th Century, Americans started to become very trusting in manufacturer’s food labels. Actually, they’ve become too trusting.

The situation has become so serious that most people today are absolutely clueless about what to eat, what not to eat and how to tell the difference between the two.

Our grocery store shelves are now filled with “health foods” and “natural food” that are anything but beneficial for us to consume.

How we got duped

A study in the British Journal of Nutrition suggests that the main reason why we have been misled into believing that unhealthy foods are good for us is a result of how these products are advertised on television. (1)

And this is particularly relevant for children.

The secret to this marketing deception is neglecting to portray foods in their proper context and portion size. In the words of Newcastle University researchers:

One method of ‘reflecting moderation in consumption and portion size’ and reinforcing the importance of a balanced diet in food advertisements is to position advertised foods in a wider food context. However, to date, no evidence describing the food context in which foods are advertised has been published. Manufacturers’ claims that their marketing positions their products in a ‘healthy’ context cannot, therefore, be confirmed or refuted. (1)

The end result of this mass deception is the creation of an entire culture, where each generation since the Baby Boomers have been basically eating out of a box and flock to anything labeled “all natural” without a second thought.

5 health foods that are not good for you

With false, misleading advertising at the helm, Americans have been convinced that countless food items are actually good for them, and these 5 offenders are the worst:

  1. Soy

If we were to take a survey and ask the average American citizen what the No. 1 health food item on the market is, tofu and soy products would most definitely be in the top 10.

You’ll find So Delicious soymilk and ice cream everywhere as “dairy alternatives,” because pasteurized dairy has been linked to a slew of health concerns. This, folks, has been THE deception of the health food industry.

Why is soy bad for you?

Well, first of all, not all soy products are bad; just unfermented soy. For thousands of years, the Far East has fermented soy and has enjoyed the health benefits of Natto, miso and tempeh. However, eating edamame and drinking soy milk by the gallon is quite another story altogether.

Veritably 100 percent of all soy grown in the U.S. is “Roundup ready,” which means that it has been genetically modified to repel bugs. This Franken-solution to a natural bug problem is arguably the reason why celiac disease, gluten intolerance, GI problems and learning disabilities have been the rise the past two decades. (2)

In turn, most health experts agree that long-term use of soy products are unsafe because they have been linked to the following: (3)

  • Asthma
  • Breast cancer
  • Cancer
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hay fever
  • Kidney disease
  • Thyroid disease
  • And many, many more…
  1. Conventional fish and meat

Like soy, not all fish and meat is bad for you. Just the farm-raised varieties. Even salmon, widely regarded as the healthy protein and Omega-3 choice is harmful if farmed.

Why?

Because of the genetically modified feed, these animals are given in the farms. According to the non-profit organization Environmental Working Group (EWG):

Seven of ten farmed salmon purchased at grocery stores in Washington DC, San Francisco, and Portland, Oregon were contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at levels that raise health concerns, according to independent laboratory tests commissioned by Environmental Working Group.” (4)

Essentially, farmed-fish:

  • Contains the highest PCB concentrations of all protein source in the U.S., literally containing up to 40 times more PCBs than other foods.
  • Is 16 times more likely to contain PCBs than wild-caught fish.

In addition to PCBs, farm-raised fish have been shown to contain these known neurotoxins and carcinogens:

  • Dioxins – Waste treatment plants byproducts.
  • Toxaphene – A pesticide banned since 1982.
  • Dieldrin – Another banned pesticide.

And we see a similar picture with farmed beef, pork, and poultry.

  1. Vegetable oils

Vegetable oils like canola have been heavily marketed as the “heart healthy” solution to the rise in cardiovascular disease, however, because most are usually genetically modified and partially hydrogenated they have been known to cause: (5, 6)

  • Birth defects
  • Bone, skin, immune, digestive and vision problems
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Learning disabilities
  • Liver disease
  • Low birth weight
  • Obesity
  • Sexual dysfunction & sterility
  • Stunted growth

It’s interesting because they have actually been linked to atherosclerosis and increased cholesterol levels, which are two of the main contributors to heart disease; the very thing they are supposed to prevent.

  1. Artificial sweeteners

Recommended by many doctors and dieticians, artificial sweeteners are praised for being low on the glycemic index and supposedly diabetic-safe. (7)

This is very curious because according to recent data, artificial sweeteners have been linked to actually causing diabetes. (8)

In addition to creating a disturbance in gut flora that contributes to increased risk of developing diabetes, these sweeteners can also cause: (9)

  • Allergies
  • Cancer (bladder, brain, breast, leukemia)
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Hypertension and heart disease
  • Seizures
  • Weight gain/obesity
  1. Fruit juice

Saving the best (or most shocking) for last, most people are floored to learn that fruit juice is bad for them. There are many reasons why:

  • Most store-bought versions are pasteurized, which renders them useless because they are void of nutrition. Heating juice kills the chemical makeup of the fruit and unless it is truly “raw,” juice is nothing more than flavored fructose.
  • When you drink fruit juice frequently, it contributes to diabetes and other inflammatory conditions because it causes a major spike in blood glucose.
  • Known as “hyperglycemia,” our bodies aren’t designed to consume this amount of fructose in one sitting and it puts undue stress on the entire body. (10)
  • Also contributing to unwanted weight gain and obesity, excessive sugar consumption causes the body to store extra fat.

Think of it this way: Fresh, raw, whole fruit contains a considerable amount of soluble and insoluble fiber, which aids in digestion.

Helping us feel “full,” this fiber feeds the healthy bacteria in our gut. If you skip eating the fruit and drink the juice only, you are robbing your body of the fiber, which is why excessive juice drinkers oftentimes experience diarrhea and other GI issues.

Parting advice

You can’t believe everything you read on labels and especially on the Internet. The blessing of free speech has been adulterated with false, greedy advertisements and many “health” blogs are nothing more than a way to promote a product for sales.

It’s critical to be a life-long student and stay tuned to trusted sources that you resonate with.