9 Foods a Nutritionist Will Never Eat
The art of the elimination diet is an acquired skill calling for equal parts discipline and discernment. When we caught up with nutritionist Renee Fitton of My Fit Foods to weigh in on which foods to keep in rotation, the answers were surprising (full-fat ice cream? Don’t mind if we do.) From organic produce to ethically sourced meats, keep scrolling to find out which foods you should avoid on the daily.
Tin cans contain a resin lining composed of bisphenol-A (BPA), a synthetic estrogen linked to health risks from heart disease to diabetes. The natural acidity in tomatoes enables the BPA to leach into canned foods. While the FDA's National Center for Toxicological Research maintains that BPA levels low enough to be safe for human consumption, avoiding the plastic additive entirely is easily solved by opting instead for products in glass bottles or tetra packs.
It’s well documented; soda comes with a range of health problems. Sweeteners spike insulin levels while carbonation can leach calcium from bones. Cola drinks are associated with everything from low bone mineral density to diabetes. Staying hydrated is a crucial part of any healthy lifestyle. Forgo the soda and reach for green tea, which is packed with metabolism boosters and antioxidants. If you crave sweetened beverages, try an alternative sweetener such as coconut sugar or Swerve.
Farmers often feed livestock soy and corn to fatten the animals quickly for slaughter. As herbivores, cattle lack the proper digestive makeup to effectively process grains. Grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, calcium, vitamin E, omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), magnesium, and potassium. It is also naturally lower in inflammatory omega-6 and saturated fats. Ethically sourced meat from your local farmer’s market is not only environmentally friendly, it’s wildly healthier.
Around 91% of the world’s soy is genetically modified. Dr. Joseph Mercola writes, “Goitrogens, found in all unfermented soy whether it's organic or not, are substances that block the synthesis of thyroid hormones and interfere with iodine metabolism, thereby interfering with your thyroid function.” Opt for fermented, organic soy products like miso, tempeh, and natto. The fermentation process breaks down the antinutrients, isoflavones (plant hormones), and goitrogens, thereby easing nutrient absorption during digestion. One caveat: Any diet with soy should be consumed with iodine rich foods to effectively protect thyroid function. Grass-fed butter will do the trick.
Root vegetables absorb pesticides in the soil. The conventional potato is treated with a range of chemicals from fungicides during the growing season to herbicides before harvesting. To avoid the pesticide-centric crop, buy only organic. The good news is there’s not a huge price difference.
Table salt is typically mined from salt deposits and heavily processed, eliminating minerals and adding agents to avoid clumping. Best-selling author and renowned leader in natural cancer cures, Dr. Leonard Coldwell, reveals table salt is often contaminated with sand and glass. These abrasive additives can cause small tears in the body once ingested, including the veins. “Your body reacts by trying to patch and heal with fats (cholesterol). This often causes your body to make more cholesterol than needed and cause blockages and in more extreme cases can lead to stroke or heart attack,” says Coldwell. Sea salt, on the other hand, is produced using very little processing by evaporating ocean water or saltwater lakes. Coldwell suggests opting for Himalayan Pink Salt. The crystalline, unrefined salt is still often hand mined, maintaining 94 different minerals and trace minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, and iron.
While popcorn remains a healthy snack, the lining of microwave bags can contain harmful chemicals including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA.) Microwaving such chemicals causes them to vaporise, seeping into the food. While many manufacturers agreed to phase out PFOA from production by 2015, the flavoring agents in microwave popcorn can also contain dactyl, a chemical linked to a severe respiratory condition. Shortcut: Invest in an air popper! Top with melted ghee and Himalayan pink salt in lieu of artificial flavorings.
Farmed salmon are made to live in cramped quarters, fed a diet of soy, and routinely given antibiotics and pesticides to stave off disease and combat sea lice. Farm-raised fish can contain cancer-causing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dibutyltin, and dioxins. These harmful chemicals are linked to immune and reproductive disorders, as well as increased cancer risk. Wild caught fish is naturally high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Go wild!
Margarine contains additives, chemicals, and harmful trans fats. “Trans fats can cause serious health damage, other fats, like those found in butter, can be vital to proper nutrition,” says Fitton. As a healthy alternative, she recommends grass-fed ghee, clarified butter, which is high in butyric acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that reduced inflammation. Made by boiling butter then pouring off the fat, ghee is full of vitamins, easy to digest, and amazingly flavourful.
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Have any foods you avoid completely? Tell us in the comments below.