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Fit For Life: Are You Reading That Label Right?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

 

The word "healthy" may ease your conscience, but don't believe everything you read.

It says it’s healthy, right on the label! Right?

I have dealt with many people that claim they can't get the results they want no matter how hard they try. The first thing I ask them is how are their eating habits. Nine out of ten times people tell me that they eat "pretty well". They are not telling me this because they are trying to lie to me, but due to false marketing and media claims, they are disillusioned into thinking they are eating healthy. That is, until I have them do a detailed log of 4-5 days worth of eating in a diary, give them my analysis, and tell them the truth about what the food they are consuming is doing or not doing to reach their goal. The answer is always the same: “I don't eat as well as I thought.” So here is a list of what are the most common things people think are healthy foods, but really aren’t.

First, low fat dairy.

There are numerous reasons why dairy isn't healthy, but to simplify: it is a highly processed food that is both inflammatory and high glycemic. This is due to the process of pasteurization and homogenization, wherein milk is heated to sterilize it. Then it is filtered to remove the fat globules. Because heat kills nutrients and damages the proteins and probiotics, it then needs to be fortified with synthetic man made vitamins and minerals to replace the damage done during processing. Your body now recognizes this as an invader, not as a real nutrient dense food, thus causing inflammation and disruption in the digestive tract. By removing all the fat, there is nothing for the villi in the lining in the intestines to bind to that would slow the absorption into the blood stream and allow the body to break down the nutrients and utilize them. This makes it as high glycemic as sugar and water…not an ideal food to stabilize blood sugar. Opt for raw or organic full fat dairy if you need to have it. It is a better and more satisfying choice.

Soy.

Another highly marketed food that has people brainwashed into thinking it’s a health food is soy. Not only is soy a neurotoxin, and most soy consumed is genetically modified, it is also a component that mimics estrogen. This causes hormonal disruption, but research indicates that it causes early puberty in infants given soy-based formulas. Women can experience menstrual irregularities, while men can experience lower testosterone due to elevated estrogen production. Unless soy is organic and fermented, it contains heavy levels of phytates. Phytates support nature by not allowing a seed, nut, or grain to germinate until the environment has just the right amount of water and warmth to support life. The phytates do this by blocking enzyme (life) activity. Once the environment reaches the conditions for optimal survival, the phytates actively break down and the enzymatic processes trigger life to begin. Phytates are also mineral blockers and have been found to block absorption of zinc, calcium, selenium, iron, and other minerals when consumed by humans. Even minor iron deficiencies can lead to fatigue, lethargy, poor athletic performance, a weakened immune system, and learning disabilities. These facts should be enough to avoid this stuff, but if you Google this info, you will find much more.

Gluten-free.

Another line of products tainted by the food industry is gluten-free products. Yes, I am a big advocate of avoiding gluten whenever possible (even if you do not have celiac, because most products containing gluten have little or no nutritional value, and is considered just empty calories in my book. Gluten (like phytates) also blocks the absorption of beneficial nutrients. Reason enough to avoid, with the price of good food what it is. So just like the fat-free craze of the 90s, big manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon and flooding the market with gluten-free products. Even without the gluten, these products are highly processed, and now contain extra sugars, fillers, binding agents, and a whole host of ingredients you can't pronounce. Mainly because of this, and also because gluten free products doesn't taste that great, my advice is to avoid all processed foods as much as possible, and on occasion, or if in a jam, just eat the real thing, but don't make a habit of it.

Drinks

The last item I want to shed light on is flavored and or sports drinks. If you want to add quick pounds around your waist, start drinking your calories, or should I call it what it is: liquid chemicals. Think about what they give underweight patients and babies. Concentrated liquid calories. Look at heavy beer drinkers, very few are thin, because it is easy to drink mass amounts of calories in a short amount of time. Look at the label on sports drinks and juices and calculate the per serving calories you are consuming. Now realize that intense activity burns about 10 calories per minute. Now, do the math. Most are disguised as nutritional by inserting words such as “electrolyte, minerals, vitamins, 100% fruit, and protein”; when in all actuality you are drinking pasteurized, sugar added junk food. Unless you are juicing at home and you know all the ingredients, stay away from this stuff. If it says low or zero calories, it’s even worse for you because it is all carbonated chemicals. And if its electrolytes you are looking for, just add a pinch of sea salt to your water. Electrolytes require minerals such as sodium, not sugar.

Keep a diary.

You’ll be surprised what foods you are eating, as well as what foods you are missing. Don’t trust labels…read the back of the packages, and avoid the front health claims. Learn more about what you put in your body and be skeptical about health claims. As with more things in life, there are few easy solutions.

 

Matt Espeut has worked as a personal trainer for almost 20 years with clients ranging in age from 14 to 86. His focus is on overall health, strength, and functional conditioning. Holistic health and nutrition is the cornerstone of all his programs. Matt works in private and small group training available at your home or office location or at gym facilities. Matt offers his services to everyone wanting to be more fit and healthy, overweight young people, youth/collegiate athletes, and seniors. Matt has worked and continues to train at several facilities in the Providence area including Gold's Gym and CORE Studio, and he believes continued education is a must in his field. Email Matt: matt@fitnessprofiles.net, check out his website at www.fitnessprofiles.net or on Facebook at Matt Espeut or on Twitter @MattEspeut.

 

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