Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Supermarket : Unhealthy Foods

The Top 10 Most Unhealthy Foods in Your Supermarket.

You might want to consider taking the following unhealthy foods off the menu if you want to live a long and healthy life . The food you put into your mouth every day plays a much bigger role in how healthy you are than your genes.

1. Margarine

The process used to make a liquid oil opaque yellow and spreadable produces an incredibly unhealthy product that hardly qualifies to be called a food. It doesn’t matter if you start with the best quality extra virgin olive, the final product is still an unhealthy food.

Promoted as a cholesterol free and healthier choice than good old butter, margarine is the ultimate source of trans fats, which rather ironically elevate cholesterol and damage blood vessel walls. Even more ironic is the fact that margarine is still recommended by health authorities including the Australian Heart Foundation who also promote reducing dietary trans fats. Clever loopholes in labelling allow margarines to claim that they are ‘virtually’ trans fat free. Margarine is a good example of a politically correct unhealthy food.

What about the new cholesterol lowering margarines?

Save your money, you’ll be getting a dose of the very same phyto sterols by using extra virgin olive oil liberally in your diet. Most fruits and vegetables also contain phyto sterols. Flaxseed or linseed meal, nuts, seeds and legumes are all rich sources of phytosterols.

For a more detailed overview of the processes involved in making margarine, visit the Stop Trans Fats website

For more info on the dangers of trans fats:
Today Tonight Report: The Truth about Trans Fats

2. Breakfast Cereals

These cleverly marketed, attractively boxed ‘foods’ are in my opinion one of the most unhealthy foods in your supermarket.

And it’s not just me who thinks this.

According to Dr. Peter Dingle, a Western Australian Toxicologist and author of “My Dog Eats Better than Your Kids” and “The DEAL for Happier, Healthier, and Smarter Kids”, McDonalds makes a more nutritious breakfast than Cornflakes!

Even Choice Magazine agrees with me. They looked at the top 10 selling children’s breakfast cereals and concluded that you may as well have a candy bar for breakfast they were so high in sugar and lacking in nutrients. Iron man food they most definitely are not.

Besides the addition of sugar and refined salt, breakfast cereals are made from highly processed grains. You might start off with a nice healthy whole grain but by the time you’ve puffed it or turned it into a nice crunchy flake, you’re left with something your body no longer recognises as food. The process used to make the little ‘O’s, pellets, shreds, flakes and other shapes in your cereal bowl is called ‘extrusion’. The extrusion process damages the nutrients and proteins in the grain leaving them devoid of nutrients, highly toxic and not much more than empty calories – watch this space, they will be the trans fats of the future. For more info on the dangers of the extrusion process read Dirty Secrets of the Food Processing Industry by Sally Fallon

3. Refined Vegetable Oils

A diet high in omega 6 polyunsaturated vegetable oils has been linked to an increased risk of:

  • Cancer
    (Escrich E, et al. 2006. Are the olive oil and other dietary lipids related to cancer? Experimental evidence. Clinical and Translational Oncology).
    (Peskin BS, Carter MJ. 2008. Chronic cellular hypoxia as the prime cause of cancer: what is the de-oxygenating role of adulterated and improper ratios of polyunsaturated fatty acids when incorporated into
    cell membranes? Medical Hypothises.)
  • Melanoma
    (Vinceti M et al. 2005. A population-based case-control study of diet and melanoma risk in northern Italy. Public Health and Nutrition)
  • Learning disorders
  • Allergies
  • Immune suppression
  • Heart disease
  • Atherosclerosis (hardened plaques in your arteries)
  • Reproductive problems

A pretty impressive list for a food we’ve been urged to consume more of for the last 20 years.

Polyunsaturated vegetable oils are highly fragile and easily damaged and subject to rancidity producing huge amounts of free radicals. The refining process also strips them of their natural antioxidants including vitamin E which in turn depletes your body of valuble antioxidants when you eat them.

The only oils in my kitchen include sesame oil, ghee and coconut oil for cooking, olive oil for salad dressings and butter to turn steamed vegetables from boring to mouth watering.


According to Carla Wolper, Nutritionist at the New York Obesity Research Centre, “When it comes to health, the only thing good about them is the hole”.

Break down a doughnut and you’re left with nothing but refined sugar and flour, artificial flavors and partially hydrogenated oil. They’re also loaded with trans fats – hello heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Despite the fact that they’re about as healthy as a packet of cigarettes, doughnuts are increasingly used in school fundraisers these days. And we wonder why as a society that diabetes and obesity are set to cripple our health care system in the next decade.

Even if you live by the mantra of ‘everything in moderation’, treat doughnuts like rat poison rather than a food.

5. Soft Drinks

Your average can of soft drink contains the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar (about 150 calories) as well as artificial food colours and sulphites. Sulphites are well known triggers of asthma and other allergies. Diet soft drinks are just as unhealthy, artificial sweeteners like aspartame are potent ‘excitotoxins’ to the brain and nervous system and have also been linked to an increased risk of obesity.

Soft drinks are definitely not a ‘soft’ option in the junk food stakes, they increase your risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Soft drink are a particularly unhealthy food for children as they are a significant risk factor for impaired calcification of growing bones – you wouldn’t dream of letting your child smoke a cigarette or drink a glass of wine as a ‘special treat’ so it makes no sense that it’s OK to give a child a can of cola as a weekend treat.

According to a report in the medical journal of Australia, “There is much to be gained by reducing children’s intake of soft drinks and little — except excess weight — to be lost”. Not to mention healthier bones and teeth.

The easiest way to stop yourself and your family drinking soft drink is to simply stop buying it. If it’s not in the fridge you can’t drink it.

Sarah Luck
Natural Health Consultant

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