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With all these ‘health’ foods and diets around now, why are two thirds of adults and a quarter of children between two and 10 years old overweight or obese ? I know, shocking right! In the English dictionary, health food is defined as: Natural food that is thought to have health-giving qualities. ‘Thought’ being the operative word here. Now lets look at the top 3 health crazes that I find to be causing more harm than good. Just because its healthy and the marketing says its great, it does not mean its good for you.
Health crazes that are doing more harm than good
Ahhhhhhhh smoothies, the first of our health crazes that are doing more harm for you than good. Touted as being healthy and full of nutritious fruit and veg. We are told that one drink provides at least 2 or 3 of your recommended 5-7 portions a day. You should be aware however that researchers now recommend that fruit juices, fruit drinks and smoothies with high sugar content should not count as part of your recommended daily intake . It is better to consume whole fruit due to the fact that 1) it has relatively low levels of sugar (fructose) and 2) whole fruit offers fibre, which provides a feeling of fullness.
Did you know that the majority of smoothies and fruit juices you buy in shops, café etc have more sugar than coca cola? Thinking that you have made a healthy option by grabbing that colourful smoothie when in reality you should have gone with a fizzy drink. It’s no surprise that coca cola actually owns Innocent Smoothies.
Review the image of sugar content in smoothies:
So what, I hear you say! Now don’t get me wrong, sugar from fruit is not bad for you in moderation and is a great source of nutrients. However we are consuming too much sugar and this is causing an increase in body fat. According to nutritionist Dr. Jonny Bowden, fructose (sugar found in fruit) is converted to fat more quickly than other sugars . Did you know that Sugar is a type of carbohydrate? If sugar calories are not used as energy shortly after consumption, then they convert to stored body fat by a process known as lipogenesis . Ditch the smoothies and opt for water and a piece of fruit. This leads me nicely on to the next health craze – low fat products.
2 . Low Fat
Ever heard the term, eat fat to lose fat? Its true and I am going to briefly tell you why. Now I am on a high fat, high protein, low carb lifestyle for my digestion and I even fast daily. I wanted to tell you this to prove that I am not just preaching but I am talking from a personal point of view. If you are suffering with digestive problems, diarrhoea, flatulence and holding on to body fat that just wont seem to shift, then it could be your ‘low fat’ lifestyle. Let me put it into perspective for you.
See the below list of types of products:
Pret’s orange juice
- 229 calories
- 0.6g fat
- 51g sugar
- 84 calories
- 0g fat
- 18g sugar
- 215 calories
- 0g fat
- 52.6g sugar
Innocent Smoothie (250ml)
- 171 calories
- 0.5g fat
- 34.3g sugar
Greek full fat yoghurt
- 190 calories
- 10g fat
- 8g sugar
Tesco everyday low fat yoghurts (125g pot)
- 100 calories
- 1.3g fat
- 15.4g sugar
Who looked at the calories first, then the fat and didn’t even consider the sugar content because the fat content was low? Who looked at the greek full fat yoghurt and was drawn away from it due to the fat content?
Having a lifestyle rich in good fats rather than high in sugar is so much more beneficial for all the below reasons:
- Endurance athletes and other competitors have a high fat lifestyle as it improves their energy and stamina.
- Supports a healthy metabolism 
- Allows your body to burn stored fat rather than the sugar it keeps receiving .
- Reduces inflammation in the body
- Makes you feel fuller for longer, thus not consuming as much food.
- Helps with brain function and mood 
When I say fats, I mean good fats such as avocado, eggs, salmon, nuts, butter, coconut oil, full fat milk and yoghurt and reducing the amount of processed foods such as low fat products.
Who wants to start life again as a truly efficient fat-burning organism??? I do!
3. Soy Products
The soya bean has been grown in the Far East for years and the Japanese consume this bean in moderation and as fermented soy products such as miso and soy sauce. Consuming soy in this way can actually offer some great benefits to our health; reduction of cholesterol which reduces heart disease 
Here in the UK however we have a different way of consuming it and on a much larger scale. It is in just about every packaged and processed food in the form of soy protein isolate, soy flour, soy lecithin and soybean oil.
Did you know that around 90% of soy today is genetically modified ? Very different from how the Japanese consume it.
How does soy affect our health?
- Products made of soy contains trypsin inhibitors causing digestive problems.
- Soy reduces absorption of minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc
- Soy increases our requirement for vitamin D, which Brits are already deficient in.
- Products with Soy phytoestrogens disrupt hormonal functions and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer and PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) in adult women.
- Soy can stimulate the growth of oestrogen causing thyroid problems, especially in women, which then effects metabolism.
- Soy can lower sperm count in men by 50%.
If you are a vegan or intolerant to dairy then why not try alternatives such as coconut or almond milk, always organic and unsweetened. I have also collated a list of cafes that offer alternatives to soy milk so you can still enjoy your daily cappuccino.
Offering alternatives to soya and dairy:
- Starbucks now has coconut milk – even though the coffee is rubbish
- Apostrophe café
- Coffee Culture offer almond milk, its not displayed on the menu but you can request it.
Only dairy or soya milk:
- Pret – great organic coffee though
Other health crazes that are doing more harm than good
Thanks for taking the time to read about these 3 health crazes and I hope you have learnt a little about how marketing does wonders in promoting products that may not always be beneficial to your health. If you want to know more about me or to book a consultation regarding your digestive health issues then please follow my website and get in touch – www.larajezeph.com. Also my facebook page –https://www.facebook.com/larajezephdoeshealth/ where I talk about diet and exercise with a twist on digestive health. If you know of any other health crazes that are doing more harm than good, please list them in the comments below. Alternately, I am happy to answer any questions you may have. Ask in the comments below and I will get back to you ASAP!