THE BLOG

Do You Believe Everything Is Healthful in a Health Food Market?

03/20/2015 11:15 am ET | Updated May 20, 2015

I was shopping in a major health food store this week, and it occurred to me just how much of the food provided in that store was really NOT healthful. It's sad to think of how many people who shop in these stores truly believe anything they buy there is healthful. If you were to take out all the items that contain refined flours and refined or artificial sugar, there would not be much left on the shelves.

Granted, I have to agree that they do carry more of the foods containing organic ingredients, no GMOs, no dyes or food coloring, less hydrogenated oils, etc. These stores are part of a movement headed in the right direction and do attribute to more healthful eating. Yet, the bulk of our everyday foods contain the refined flours and sugars that continue to contribute to disease and obesity alone, and these healthier stores are full of them.

There are deli cases filled with the cakes and pastries laced with the same refined ingredients found in the sweets filling the standard bakeries or supermarkets. In fact, within these stores are the bakery sections that look exactly like any other bakery section in markets and sweet shops. Like I mentioned above, they may use less of the detrimental additives, yet are they still using refined flours and sugars? Most likely, yes.

Sugar-packed yogurts are still crowding their refrigerated cases. I find organic lemonade, yet it is loaded with refined sugar. Vegetarian burritos are wrapped with refined flour tortillas.

To be an informed health-food shopper, it's mandatory to read the ingredients on the labels, and it's important to learn the many different names of sugars and hidden negative ingredients. There are so, so many different names for detrimental sugars, it's mind-boggling. Here's a list of most sugars that manufacturers like to add to make products irresistible, and maybe to even cover up the negative word, sugar. These need to be avoided as much as possible, if not completely:

Acesulfame K Potassium
Agave
Aspartame (Equal, Nutrasweet)
Brown Sugar
Caramel
Corn sweetener
Cornstarch
Corn syrup
Dextrin/Dextrose
Fructose
Fruit juice
Galactose
Glucose
High fructose corn syrup
Lactose
Maltodextrin
Maltose
Rice syrup
Saccharin (Sweet' n Low)
Sucralose (Splenda)
Sucrose
Treacle


I found that many of the so-called healthier brands like to dress-up or disguise their ingredients with catchy words such as "natural" or "organic" to help make them sound healthier yet really are not.

A package of cookies showcased on a display table near the checkout lines had this list of ingredients: natural butter, organic sugar, enriched unbleached flour, brown eggs.

NATURAL butter: generally speaking, butter is a natural product; butter is butter, but if it's from grass-fed, pastured cows, it would be far more nutritious, containing more of the beneficial conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).

ORGANIC sugar: A white sugar product, whether it's organic or not, is still refined sugar, and is one of the most unhealthful foods in our diet because of the processing involved and basic nutrients expelled. Why bother growing organic sugarcane when all they intend to do with it is refine the heck out of it, making it toxic.

ENRICHED UNBLEACHED WHEAT flour: They are using a flour that has been refined, and all the bran and wheat germ has been removed; enriched means to add back in some of the nutrients that have been lost, such as niacin, iron and folic acid to name just a few, yet these added nutrients are generally of lesser quality. Not bleaching the flour is a "benevolent" act on their part and hope to have this recognized. If it were bleached, the flour would have been treated with chlorine gas (oxide) and alloxin, which in turn can affect the pancreas.

BROWN eggs: there is no difference between white or brown eggs. It's the pastured eggs that we should be eating for the most optimum benefit obtainable from commercial eggs; these chickens have a less stressful life, and a healthier diet. And if these eggs listed on the label were pastured, that word for sure would be highlighted instead of the word "brown."

GLUTEN-FREE is a big buzzword these days, and not only the health food stores, but all supermarkets are filling shelves with such products. However, if you read the ingredients on the label, it may be found that they are not so healthful. To get on the bandwagon of high-selling gluten-free products, many manufacturers are filling them with the cheaper ingredients, such as (white) rice flour, corn flour, soy flour, cornstarch, potato starch, plus the white refined or artificial sugars and sweeteners.

Look for the better flours such as:
Brown rice
Organic corn flour
Arrowroot
Chick pea
Potato flour
Buckwheat
Certified oats
Amaranth
And more.

Everyone needs to be cautious in buying the gluten-free-labeled items, but we need to be cautious in buying anything that goes into our mouths.

How many of the patrons of these stores truly believe that anything sold there is healthful? You can bet that many are certainly swayed to believe most of it is.