The Type of Foods You Shouldn't Touch With a Ten Foot Pole

Obesity is not the only health risk your child faces if he eats a diet consisting mainly of processed foods and snacks. As illustrated by a recent study, a junk food diet – with is a largely denatured diet, devoid of "live" nutrients such as healthy bacteria – can also set the stage for asthma, eczema, and a variety of allergies, inflammatory conditions and autoimmune diseases.

Sadly, as the Western-style diet spreads across the globe, much of the natural microbial diversity that is so crucial to good health is actually starting to disappear! Here, the authors stress the importance of "preserving this treasure of microbial diversity from ancient rural communities worldwide."

Indeed, the importance of eating a gut-healthy diet cannot be underestimated. Your gut plays a major role in your physical and even mental health, and having a healthy gut entails maintaining a balance of "good" and "bad" bacteria – something you simply will not accomplish by eating highly processed, "dead" foods.

Until recently, most doctors dismissed the notion that your digestive system did much of anything outside of breaking down food, but in recent years scientists have revealed just how inaccurate this thinking was.

For example, an estimated 80 percent of your immune system is actually located in your gut, so supporting your digestive health is essential to also supporting your immune system, which is your number one defense system against ALL disease.

Therefore, it should come as no major surprise to find out that lack of beneficial bacteria in your intestines will also allow allergies, inflammation and autoimmune diseases to flourish where they might not otherwise.

Common signs and symptoms that you may need to address your intestinal balance include:

  • Gas and bloating
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Sugar cravings, and cravings for refined carb foods

Chances are, if you or your entire family eats a lot of processed junk foods and fast foods, this list may be a description of a more or less an everyday "normal" state for you

So What Foods Should You Avoid Like the Plague?

Soda

In my mind this is where most people will get the biggest payoff for the amount of effort involved. The average person consumes more than one gallon of soda per week. Reducing or eliminating soda from your diet is one of the easiest shifts to make.

Most diet sodas are worse than regular sodas, as you can read in my recent review on aspartame. When people ask me what is safer to drink: diet or regular soda, I ask them what they would rather be hit in the head with -- a baseball bat or a sledgehammer? It's a tough call, but I think a case can be made for regular soda being the lesser of two evils...

That said, regular soda with its high sugar content promotes yeast overgrowth, which in turn promotes allergies. In fact, many people with yeast-related allergies and food sensitivities tend to have sugar cravings, which is doubly problematic since it actually feeds the yeast that is already overgrown in their systems.

While many of you are not likely consuming many sodas, it is vital to understand the importance of this simple change for your friends and family who are not as health savvy as you. Gentle persistent encouragement of this principle will have massively profound implications on their health.

Fortunately there are simple alternatives that are relatively easy to implement. The best is pure clean water. I just completed a four-hour video interview with a leading water industry water expert and hope to share that with you in the next few weeks for more details.

For those who are really struggling, you can purchase carbonated water and use flavored liquid stevias for a taste that is very similar to most sodas

Doughnuts and Pastries

Overall these foods are worse than soda as they not only contain sugar, typically in the form of high fructose corn syrup, but they also contain dangerous trans fats. The reason I did not list this one first is that they are not consumed by as many people on a regular basis.

For more information about how trans fats promotes allergies, while saturated fats relieve them, please see this previous article.

French Fries

Oh, they taste so good, but are ever so bad for you as they are loaded with the worst types of fat on the planet -- typically highly refined and genetically modified omega 6 oils, such as corn, canola, and soybean oils.

If you're still unaware of the link between allergies and genetically engineered food ingredients (particularly soy), please review this recent article by GMO expert, Jeffrey Smith.

These highly processed omega-6 oils are bad enough if you eat them in the form of unheated salad dressing, but when these oils are heated to a high temperature, they transform into a potent mixture that is sure to destroy your health.

Avoid these like the plague. Be particularly careful when ordering hamburgers and other similar foods in a restaurant as most will include fries by default, and once they are at your table they're hard to resist. So please be sure to order a healthier alternative.

Nearly All Breakfast Cereals

Breakfast is, without question, the single most challenging meal to eat outside of your home. Most of the typical breakfast offerings will drag your health down. The most commonly consumed breakfast are breakfast cereals, which are merely disguised forms of high fructose corn syrup loaded with genetically modified (GM) grains. But pancakes, French toast, waffles, scrambled eggs and rolls don't do much to improve your health either.

Many may wonder about the scrambled egg concern but the high heat oxidized cholesterol in the eggs and severely damages it. Far better to have the eggs MINIMALLY cooked or better yet raw eggs.

Processed Foods and Snacks

In addition to these specific examples, processed foods in general can contribute to allergies for a number of different reasons. Most processed foods contain a variety of food colorings, flavors, preservatives, and other additives can have a major impact. Junk foods also has a detrimental effect on your gut flora, which has major consequences for your overall health, weight control, and the development of allergies.

The Many Health Benefits of Maintaining Healthy Gut Flora

The ideal ratio between the bacteria in your body is 85 percent "good" and 15 percent "bad." That's right – you need FAR more beneficial bacteria (probiotics) than you might think in order to maintain the right balance.

The key here is to avoid as many processed foods as you can. This is a challenge because over 90% of the foods that Americans eat are processed and the number source of calories is high fructose corn syrup. So the general principle is to avoid processed foods, but some foods are more particularly pernicious than others so let me give you some examples.

This ratio is essential for:

  • The proper development and function of your immune system
  • Protection against over-growth of other microorganisms that could cause disease
  • Digestion of food and absorption of nutrients
  • Producing vitamins, absorbing minerals and eliminating toxins

As you can see, probiotics perform a wide variety of functions, which renders them useful and beneficial for a number of health concerns, including the prevention or control of:

  • Food and skin allergies in children
  • Vaginitis
  • Premature labor in pregnant women
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Recurrent ear and bladder infections
  • Chronic diarrhea

One of the ways friendly bacteria help prevent allergies, infections and inflammatory conditions is by training your immune system to distinguish between pathogens and non-harmful antigens, and to respond appropriately.

When you're deficient in these healthy bacteria, your immune system is ill equipped to address the many pathogens and antigens entering your system on a daily basis, and health problems can easily ensue.

Your Gut's Microflora Also Impacts Your Weight

The microflora in your digestive system is also emerging as a major player in weight management, and needless to say, junk food and weight gain typically go hand in hand.

Your gut flora is by no means the only underlying reason for this, but it does play an important part.

Multiple studies have shown that obese people have different intestinal bacteria than slim people, and it appears that the microbes in an overweight body are much more efficient at extracting calories from food.

Researchers have also suggested that certain bacteria may cause low-grade inflammation in your body, further contributing to obesity and difficulty to lose weight.

One such study found that the bifidobacteria counts taken from infants at the age of 6 months and 12 months were twice as high in healthy weight children as in those who became overweight, while S. Aureus levels were lower.

Interestingly, this finding may explain why breast-fed babies are also at a lower risk of obesity, as bifidobacteria flourish in the guts of breast-fed babies.

The breast-fed Italian babies in the study above were also the only ones harboring bacteria resembling the African children's, which indicates your "diet may dominate other factors such as ethnicity, sanitation, geography or climate," the researchers said.

Two previous studies found that obese people had about 20 percent more of a family of bacteria known as firmicutes, and almost 90 percent less of a bacteria called bacteroidetes than lean people. (Firmicutes help your body to extract calories from complex sugars and deposit those calories in fat.)

This latest study confirms those results, as here too, the African children had significantly higher levels of Bacteroidetes and far lower levels of the firmicutes linked to obesity.

How to Optimize the Bacteria in Your Gut

Fortunately, influencing the ratio of bacteria growing in your body is relatively easy. One of the most important steps you can take is to stop consuming processed and sugary foods. This includes cutting down on grains, as most grains are quickly converted into sugar in your body.

Keep in mind, of course, that if you or your children need to lose some excess weight, balancing your gut bacteria is only one part of the equation. Regular exercise and addressing any emotional blocks are also very important.

When you eat a healthy diet low in sugars and processed foods, one of the major benefits is that it naturally causes the good bacteria in your gut to flourish.

Yet, even with an extremely low-sugar diet, there are other factors that influence your gut bacteria. Antibiotics, chlorinated water, antibacterial soap, agricultural chemicals, pollution -- all of these things help to kill off your good bacteria. This is why it's a wise choice to "reseed" your body with good bacteria from time to time by taking a high-quality probiotic supplement or eating fermented foods.

In the past, people used fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut to support their digestive health, as these foods are rich in naturally beneficial bacteria. This is still the best route to optimal digestive health.

Healthy choices include:

  • Lassi (an Indian yoghurt drink, traditionally enjoyed before dinner)
  • Fermented milk, such as kefir
  • Various pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash and carrots
  • Natto (fermented soy)

If you were to eat a diet rich in fermented foods that have NOT been pasteurized (as pasteurization kills the naturally occurring probiotics), then you would likely enjoy great digestive health without any additional supplementation.

However, if you simply do not like any of these types of fermented foods, your next best option is to use a high quality probiotic supplement.

I have used many different brands over the past 15 years and there are many good ones out there. I also spent a long time researching and developing my own, called Complete Probiotics, in which I incorporated everything I have learned about this important tool over the years.

Keep in mind, however, that processed foods in general will destroy healthy microflora and feed bad bacteria and yeast, so you can't use the drug approach to probiotics -- meaning, you can't maintain a diet high in processed foods while taking a probiotic supplement to counteract the ill effects.

You may be able to temporarily suppress some of the troublesome symptoms caused by that kind of diet, but it won't work in the long run.

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About the author

author-pictureDr. Mercola is the founder of the world’s most visited natural health web site, www.mercola.com. You can learn the hazardous side effects of OTC Remedies by getting a FREE copy of his latest special report The Dangers of Over the Counter Remedies by going to his Report Page.

Comments

Anonymous's picture
1

RATMAN

If you can't eat breakfast cereals, eggs, pancakes..............what the heck can you eat????????

Anonymous's picture
2

Mercedes Lackey

Quack quack quack quack

Anonymous's picture
3

Vin

Dirt (hope it's not contaminated)! :|

Anonymous's picture
4

Smithy

Uh yeah MLackey.

Way to go and make a great point. So glad you constructively contributed to the conversation.

So many salient points you have made there. Why I count four of them!

I'm sure you feel quite proud of your solid argument. Real grown up and useful. Showing off that advanced degree. Bravo!

Anonymous's picture
5

ZedeZ

Mercolla totally disregards ORGANIC CEREALS.
The best of them is NaturePath. It's a Canadian Co., with distribution facilities in US.
These cereals are The very best out of all other garbage you see in a supermarket. Kashi is not 100% organic and is part of Kraft(if I'm not mistaken) Mafia.
NaturePath every single ingredient is organic.
I eat that every morning after eating some melon first thing in the morning, after 1 tsp of ACV with spring water.
Don't eat this cereal with all the almond and rice milks. They are all PASTEURIZED. I checked with the companies.
Best if you find a good coconut milk or water. In glass is better, because the cans have this lining with BPA. But if no glass, then the cans should be ok, for a little amount on cereal. Add some cinnamon.

Anonymous's picture
6

Steve

It is really about BALANCE!
My Grandmother, Leona, died at 80. My Auntie Barbara, her daughter, died at 82. Aunt B was A HEALTH NUT!!!!!!!!!!!
My Aunt and Uncle lived up in the mountains with tons of fresh air and pure water in the Sierra Mountains. Uncle Frank, who quit smoking in the early 60's, died at 90! Big, barrel chested, Irishman, who worked hard at his garage and other concerns. Never saw him drink, get mad, or anything.
Actor, Bob Cummings, died at 80 of kidney failure. He was A HEALTH NUT!!!!! Everywhere he went, he took a suitcase of Vitamins, and probably other supplements.
Entertainer George Burns, died at 100. Smoked Cigars, drank Martini's, was escorted by young women. (he IS God!)
My father, 87, eats a ham and eggs and toast breakfast, or oatmeal. Eats hot dogs, turkey burgers, soda pop, ice cream, and such. He does take supplements.
Studies show that 85-95% of illness and disease STARTS WITH STRESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Funny, you would think it would be your DIET. Not that diet is not important.
One guy in town here, was a racquetball player. 42, best shape of his life. Played hard. Ate right, I assume, for being into sports. Had a MASSIVE heart attack in the lobby of the gym after a tournament match!!!!!! Died. For all his health, he was under a lot of stress. He probably enjoyed it. But you can enjoy something and NOT notice the stressors. You can also be in DENIAL OF YOUR STRESS!!!!!!!!!!!
So, it is about BALANCE. Eat right, exercise for your abilities, meditate or whatever to reduce the stresses, ALL IN BALANCE.
You need meat. Chicken Hearts are high in Ubiquinol. You need Veggies. You need Fruits. You need LIVE FOOD!!!!! You need total nutrition to feed your cells. You need to relax, and enjoy life. All in Balance.
What to eat when you have food sensitivities has been hard for me, I have Grave's Disease. I can have gluten free oatmeal. wow..... But I can have Yogurt and strawberry smoothies for breakfast too!!! YUM! I eat turkey. Mackerel. Even boiled chicken hearts with quinoa pasta and peas! Delish!! Flaxseed Gluten free MUFFINS are to die for. I do have ice cream. I could not have ice cream because of the sugar and my candida problem, I got the candida under control with probiotics, and I can eat ice cream. Had not had any for SIX YEARS!
Foods to avoid...processed, refined flour, refined sugars, and artificial EVERYTHING! Anything that makes your system ACIDIC! Get alkaline drops. And anything, in my opinion, GMO'ed. And The so called "RICH" foods. These things end up CHOKING the cells!!
Cookies, pies, cakes, donuts, candy, pop, ice cream, junk food, pastries, and pasta, even gluten free, anything not in the PRODUCE DEPARTMENT in its raw natural state, is going to clog your system, and be deficient in life giving vitamins and minerals. However, supplements can be just as wasteful. Some do not absorb readily. Some need other supplements to help the absorption process.
SO THINK ABOUT BALANCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We all want snacks!!! Just maybe not EVERYDAY, FOUR OR FIVE TIMES A DAY!!!!!!!!! I KNOW GUYS WHO DRINK DIET SODA'S ALL DAY LONG!!!!!!!
Think Weekend, or Once a Month.
For every BAD THING YOU DO TO YOUR BODY, DO SEVERAL GOOD THINGS!!!!!!!!! Eat a salad with your MEALS!
BALANCE!!!
Be Well and Happy.
Steve

Anonymous's picture
7

enliteneer

I mix (and heat) the following three cereals every morning:

1. Uncle Sam Cereal ( Whole Wheat Kernels is the first Ingredient, 10g Fiber, 2g of Sugar)

http://www.usmillsinc.com/usmill...

2. Simply Fiber Cereal ( Wheat Bran first ingredient, 14g of Fiber, 0g Sugar)
http://www.benefitnutrition.com/...

3. Kashi Truly Vanilla Hot Oatmeal (Whole Grain Rolled Oats first ingredient, 7g Fiber, 6g Sugar)
http://www.kashi.com/products/go...

Not gluten sensitive, so can't imagine that high fiber / low sugar is unhealthy.

Anonymous's picture
8

vikingstork

Ratman, you know, I really hate this, when someone chews up an article ans spits it out all BACKWARDS. It doesn't say anywhere you shouldn't eat eggs, it says you shouldn't FRY or otherwise OVERCOOK them. It converts the cholesterol in them and makes them very unhealthy and hard to digest.
As for cereals, it warns against PROCESSED cereals, as they are surely GM an loaded with HFCS, and trans fats. There is nothing wrong with a bowl of oatmeal or buckwheat pancakes. But cereal grains, esp. wheat should be avoided altogether. They are loaded with anti-nutrients and gluten is getting linked with all kind of problems, celiac disease particularly.

Anonymous's picture
9

vikingstork

enliteneer -- "nothing wrong with high fiber, but grains are also high in anti-nutrients, and have to be cooked for a long time to destroy these. Cereals are typically not cooked long enough, esp. when infra-red toasted on factory line.
Immigants from middle East living in N America have children with high rate of rickets, because they still eat pita bread as a staple. Pitas take only a few minutes to bake, so the anti-nutrients are not destroyed, as in leavened baked bread. And the exploding popularity of wraps does nothing for people's health, even tho they are convinced they are eating "healthy"

Anonymous's picture
10

vikingstork

Story about processed cereals.
My friend started having diarrhea, and doctor checked everything, and no help. Finally one day the Dr says (pretty good for a DR, as average physician will not want to know what you eat "we were trained to push drugs, not to feed patients" is their argument).
So my friend says Wheaties for breakfast, so Dr says stop eating them, and the diarrhea stopped almost immediately. That's another aspect of food processing, toasting the shreds of wheat makes them crack on the surface and get to look like barbes on a fishing hook under magnification (ironically, modern fishing hooks don't have barbs any more), and can be terribly irritating for your bowels.

Anonymous's picture
11

Anonymous

vikingstork -

So is it fiber that's an anti-nutrient, or is it in the wheats and oats?

For example, what about fiber supplements, Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) (insoluble), or psyllium (soluble)?

Anonymous's picture
12

Anonymous

Funny how foods like eggs and whole grains (esp. wheat) have been in the human diet for thousands of years but are now being blamed for a multitude of health problems that have only been around for the last century or so. We live in a toxic world that is killing us in a thousand different ways, but not by consuming (organic) whole grains, eggs, and drinking raw milk. Junk food is junk but so is junk science.
Pass the eggs, please.

csilover95's picture
13

csilover95

I get headaches every day and it hurts what's happening to me!

csilover95's picture
14

csilover95

Can I eat Oatmeal?

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