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8 Health Foods That Aren’t Healthy

8 Health Foods That Aren’t Healthy

I speak with people regarding their diet on a daily basis. One of the lines I’ve grown very accustomed to hearing is “I eat a very healthy diet.” This is then followed by a string of unhealthy selections such as juice, rice cakes, and granola. I want to offer you this list so that you can avoid the “healthy” disease makers.

1. Rice cakes
How did these little cardboard sugar bombs ever get the labeled as health food? The fact that they are not enjoyable to eat probably led people to assume that they must be healthy or why else would they exist? They are nothing but high glycemic sugar loads that rapidly raise sugar and thus insulin.

Here’s a fun fact: the lower your fasting blood sugar remains over your lifetime, the longer you will live. These high sugar bombs will raise that fasting blood sugar and lead to insulin resistance, which is the first step toward diabetes. Ergo, high sugar bombs lead to a shortened life span. I’m not looking to put these manufacturers out of business (not in this economy) so please continue to buy these little gems and simply use them as door jams, hockey pucks, frisbee’s and coasters.

2. Juice
Good ol’ fashion juice right from Mother Nature. Wrong. Many orange juice labels will surprise you with the fact that they have added high fructose corn syrup. Those lovely healthy oranges on the tree are squeezed into large storage vats where they sit for long periods of time and are then shipped to manufacturing plants. To make this old stale concentrate palatable requires multiple chemicals and the addition of high fructose corn syrup. Even the freshest of juice is nothing but flavored sugar water. Fruit is healthy and good for us when it comes in its whole form with fiber and skin. Juice is just the sweet sugary nectar that holds the promise of diabetes.

3. Protein bars
I have a challenge for you. Go to your local grocery or health food store and look at all the protein bars. Find ONE that has less than 5 grams of sugar per serving. Good luck. Look at Clif bars, Luna Bars, MET-Rx, etc, and you will see anywhere from 10 to 26 grams of sugar per bar. There are often a lot of milk and other allergens in these bars as well. If you are exercising aggressively and need these calories then there may be a place for these in your diet but in general I see people eating these as convenience foods.

Check your label and make sure that your protein bar is offering you some actual protein. Some of these bars offer more sugar than protein. Shoot for 20 grams of protein and no more than 5 to 6 grams of sugar. Extra fiber will score any bar a few extra points as it offsets the glycemic nature of the sugar.

4. Granola
All the appeal and sugar of a protein bar but without the fuss of adding protein. Quaker oats is owned by Pepsi Company. Its granola contains hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup, its label says “good source of fiber” but the label lists just ONE little gram of fiber per 90 calories serving. This is a joke right? I’ve seen the commercials with the wooden statue of the smiling quaker in the cute little outfit, and the happy kids running around laughing. Of course they’re laughing, they’re hopped up on sugar and have convinced their parents that these sugar bombs are “health food.” Try again.

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[36 Comments]  [36 Comments] 


36 Responses to “8 Health Foods That Aren’t Healthy”
  1. Jim Purdy says:

    I like your list, except for the yogurt. It’s on my grocery list for my shopping trip today. But I will look closely at the Nutrition Facts label.

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  2. Robin says:

    Great article!! So often my clients say how healthy they eat, and after questioning them for a few minutes, I quickly realize they are far from healthy eaters.

    One food that I have a real “beef” with is corn. What most people don’t realize is that corn in NOT a vegatable. It is a grain.

    Corn that is produced in America is fed to cattle
    to fatten them up before slaughter. Truth is the beef from
    corn-fed steers has a higher level of artery-clogging
    saturated fats compared to grass-fed steers. Plus because
    the corn raises the blood sugar levels in the cattle the
    healthy fats like Omega-3 are significantly lower than in
    grass-fed beef.

    A recent study by Kansas State University found cattle fed with corn have a higher level of E coli bacteria in their digestive systems.

    Now that you know what eating too much corn does to an
    animal’s health . . . it doesn’t take a rocket scientist
    to figure out what it has been doing to people, directly
    and indirectly.

    There are so many healthy vegetable choices out there, so I say , when given the choice, skip the corn.

    • Dr. Huber says:

      Nice addition Robin. I would also add that 90% of corn in this country is genetically modified and had extra genes implanted. What do these genes do? They allow the plant to manufacture it’s own herbicides to ward off weed growth. Now you are eating genes that can mix with the gene pool of the good bacteria in your gut. Not a good idea. Eat organic corn IF you choose it. I love corn but eat it sparingly as Robin has pointed out.

    • Helen Wenley says:

      And the thing about corn is that it is a carbohydrate like potato – so isn’t it better to be eating green veggies instead?

    • For sure Helen, for sure! You’re ahead of the curve, ladies.

  3. Stanley Browder says:

    Dr. Huber
    Lots of good to knows, very interesting food groups
    that we commonly purchase and think we are being “healthy”
    Thanks for the insight!


  4. Anna says:

    So is juice still bad for you when it’s 100% juice, no high fructose involved? When it’s all apple and raspberry juice it seems like a good way to get fruit into your diet.

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Anna,

      The value of fruit is in the skin and the flesh. Most of the antioxidant content of fruit lives in the skin of fruit such as berries and apples. The fiber content of the flesh of the fruit is what aids bowel health. The only down side to fruit is the sugar content and thats al you’re getting with juice. No pulp, no skin, just sugar. Fruit juice is not a healthy food to consume regularly. Now if you are about to run a marathon or do intense physical training and you need a sugar boost then it has an application. But just for general consumption you should eat fruit, not fruit juice.

  5. Mike says:

    Dr. Huber:

    I eat Kroger brand, low sodium rice cakes that are 30 calories and have 8.6g of whole grains per serving (serving being 1 “cake”). I also see no sugars on the nutrition facts. Am I missing something or do these sound like healthy rice cakes?


    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Mike,
      There are no sugars in the nutritional facts but about 20 seconds after you bite into one of them the high glycemic carbs start getting digested by your salivary enzymes and before they reach you stomach they are turning into sugar. How many carbs are listed per cake? Those carbs turn to sugar in the blink of an eye. How much fiber is on the label? Likely not much. I use these rice cakes in my patients when I want to to do a high sugar challenge test to evaluate insulin function. If you are using them as preworkout or postworkout energy source then great, they have a purpose. If you are insulin resistant or diabetic or over weight then these are not good foods for you. Eating these foods daily will greatly increase your risk for diabetes and weight gain, especially if they are eaten without protein and fat in the same meal. Again, this is NOT a health food and not one that I recommend as a regular part of your diet. Hope that helps.
      Dr. Huber

  6. Katie says:

    I love VitaminWater Zero – please tell me this is an exception to the No Vitamin Water rule. Labels says it sweetened with less than 1% of: rebiana (stevia extract) and crystalline fructose and erythritol (natural sweetners). I tend to dilute with water just to make it last longer and increase my water intake. But I love VMZero!

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Katie,
      As with any processed food like item, Vitamin Water Zero is not a food, it’s a processed chemical solution that you find enjoyable. We all have some of this in our diets and it’s more a matter of degrees than a simple binary “good vs bad” equation.

      A little probably won’t hurt you and a lot will make you sick. It’s not a health food that is advancing the status of your health. Your priorities are yours alone and I am not to decide where you should live in that spectrum. There are far worse habits that you could have.
      Dr. Gary Huber

  7. Angie says:

    Do you know of any dry roasted peanuts that do NOT contain MSG? I’ve searched several brands but all that I’ve seen have it. I like to make trail mix as a snack, but want to leave out MSG. Thanks. Great website!


    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Angie,
      Nuts in general leave me mildly frustrated. I was in the grocery one day looking for some simple nuts and EVERY single nut option I saw was roasted in cottonseed oil or canola oil and both of these are GMO’s that I refuse to eat. The MSG question you pose is another example of trying to find a simple food that hasn’t been ruined by industry. If I were going to make a trail mix I would go to a Whole Foods or Trader Joes and buy bulk RAW, unroasted, unsalted nuts as my starter. You can roast the nuts yourself at home in your oven with all the salt and/or seasonings (love curry) you like using grape seed oil. Then mix in whatever else you like to make trail mix. Or just develop a love for the taste of raw nuts. Roasting nuts is easy and you can season them anyway you like.
      Dr. Huber

  8. Gary Newberry says:

    Only the “dry roasted” and flavored (like spicy Cajun etc.) versions contain MSG. The roasted, salted lightly salted and unsalted varieties do not contain MSG as far as my label reading has determined. They tend to be sold in the foil lined, cardboard canister and not in a jar.

  9. TOM says:


    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Tom,
      Yes and yes. I love chia seeds as they offer a good source of protein, fiber and potentially omega 3 fats. They are a low glycemic food with a long slow delivery of calories which makes them great for long athletic events such as cycling or running. I tell my patients with constipation to eat them as a good source of fiber and they don’t need to be ground up like flax seeds do.

      Sprouts are one of the true miracle foods as they contain enormous amounts of antioxidants and phytochemicals. Think of sprouts as “stem cells”. They are the babies of the plant kingdom that contain tremendous nutritional potential with higher nutritional content per gram compared to adult plants. I think you have found two really strong elements of your diet Tom. Now just add a little whole green tea and cocoa and you’re on your way.
      Dr. Huber

  10. Melissa says:

    I like to eat organic Greek yogurt.. it is high in protein and fairly low in carbs and seems to be very balanced and keeps me satisfied and from getting hungry for hours. What is your take on Greek Yogurt?

    plain – Oikos organic – Greek yogurt
    Serving Size 1 cup (227g)Amount Per Serving 2Calories 130Calories from Fat 0 % Daily Value*Total Fat 0g0%Trans Fat 0gSat Fat 0g0%Cholesterol 0mg0%Sodium 95mg4%Potassium 350mg10%Total Carbohydrate 9g3%Dietary Fiber 0g0%Sugars 9gProtein 23g46% Vitamin A 0%Vitamin C 0%Calcium 30%Iron 0%Thiamin 8%Riboflavin 30%Vitamin B6 4%Vitamin B12 20%Pantothenic Acid 12%Phosphorus 30%

    Is this a pretty healthy yogurt?

  11. Dr. Gary Huber says:

    Hi Melissa,
    I don’t eat any cow’s dairy so even yogurt is off my diet BUT for the sake of discussion I will review this yogurt. Beware the words “Greek Yogurt” only from the standpoint that many companies looking to meet consumer demand have put “Greek Yogurt” with high sugar content in the marketplace. The yogurt you selected is organic which is a great start. Yogurt comes from milk and milk has fat in it so without a food label I am left to wonder what happened to the fat in this yogurt? There is “0″ listed? This product has 9 grams of sugar per serving which is better than some but still exceeds my 5 grams per serving rule. The protein count is nice at 23 grams but the down side is that most of this is casein protein since this is a milk product. I am not a fan of casein as I previously discussed.

    If this is something you like then I agree that it is better than some offerings but based on this label I would not personally put it in my lunch box. Then again, not every morsel of food needs to be health promoting, maybe this is a nice treat for the day.
    Dr. Gary Huber

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hey Melissa,
      As I post my recent comment I have had opportunity to think about your question and realize that for many people breakfast means a bagel or other grain source. In this setting the organic Greek yogurt you mention would be a much better option and provide some protein which is lacking in the bagel option. So, as is true of most things in life there is good, better and best. If your Greek yogurt is something you enjoy on occasion then this is certainly better than a lot of other options out there.
      I hope I didn’t dash your optimism with my prior post.
      Dr. Huber

  12. MelissaH says:

    What about pretzels? These are low-sugar, but they would have the dreaded carbs that turn to sugar very quickly in your body, right? Another question is about canned tuna. I’ve heard it’s great for protein, etc., but hasn’t the health of tuna itself come into question becauase of lead, etc.?

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Melissa,
      Tuna has been explored and the biggest problem is the mercury content. If it is canned then the plastic lining of the can offers unwanted BPA. The healthy omega 3 fats that come from fish make it worth while. If you eat tuna in large quantities then I recommend performing a test to measure your personnel heavy metal content. Chelation of these metals cans be accomplished by taking EDTA, DMSA and other chelating agents under the care of an appropriately educated physician. Fish is just to valuable for our health to avoid.

      Keep reading Melissa, you are obviously making good decisions for yourself.
      Dr. Gary Huber

  13. jeannie jones says:

    dr huber, kroger does have low carb yogurt very low in sugar and a good amount of protien, i cant remember what it’s called but it is kroger brand

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Jeannie,
      I believe it’s called “Carb Master.” I have not tried this but I have looked at the label and the carbs are minimal so it avoids the high sugar issue. For those that enjoy yogurt then this is a better choice than most.
      Dr. Gary Huber

  14. Jo says:

    What is your take on Almond Milk?
    Also, I know that that the value of fruit is in a piece of fresh fruit, not juice with added sugar. Do you have the same opinion about those packaged dried fruits like mango, banana chips and the others? I love to munch on those periodically.

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Jo,
      Hemp, almond, coconut, rice, and soy are all fine milk substitutes. Just be mindful of the sugar content as many of these can have added sugars. If you choose soy then select “organic.”

      Dried fruits are also often processed with added sugar so read the label. Dried fruits are also commonly preserved with sulfites which can cause reactions such as headache or rashes in people sensitive to sulfites.

      Dr. Gary Huber

  15. Sunflowergirl says:

    Dr. Huber:

    Where have you been all my life? I recently discovered your website and as I’m reading your articles and advice to readers, I find myself saying, “Yes, yes, yes!” to everything you say. Your philosophies are right in tune with mine and it’s nice to find someone who thinks the same. Kudos on your website. I look forward to your future posts and advice.

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Sunflower girl,
      Or shall I just call you a ray of sunshine as you have brightened my day. Thanks for your kind words of encouragement. I hope I can continue to earn your trust.
      Dr. Gary Huber

  16. maha says:

    Dr. Huber , is losing weight got anything to do with gluten intolerence and wheat allergies and what is the difference!!!!

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Maha,
      Good question. You might see a post about this topic soon. Gluten is simply the protein component of wheat. Rye and barley also contain gluten. For most people, a wheat allergy is the due to their gluten allergy so thought of as one in the same but technically not entirely true. Most of us will develop some sensitivity to wheat over time because of our cultural abuse of this food product. It’s simply not natural to eat “one” food 5 times a day. Especially when that food is genetically modified and comes with a serving of pesticide. Wheat is cheap and easy in this country so it is used in every food imaginable. We eat pastry, pancakes, bagels and toast for breakfast. Wheat. We then have sandwiches for lunch. Wheat. Dinner may be pasta or dinner rolls. Wheat. And then we have snacks such as chips and pretzels. Wheat. Other foods such as salad dressings, ice cream and many sauces use wheat as a thickening agent. It’s just too much for our digestive system to take as gluten is difficult to digest.

      Losing weight is multi-factorial but yes wheat is also a factor here. Wheat is a grain and we like our wheat processed so it’s a high glycemic food meaning that it releases a good amount of sugar in rapid fashion when eaten. Bread, bagels, crackers, muffins, pancakes, waffles, pretzels, etc ,etc ,etc, are high sugar foods that lead to insulin resistance and weight gain. They are key to the obesity and diabetes issue in this country. When i have my patients remove wheat from their diet for any reason, they almost always report a weight loss.

      We all love the taste and feel of wheat. Oreo cookies and milk are a favorite snack in every kids life and yes, I hold fond memories. But the wheat and milk in that snack is what leads many of us directly to diabetes and weight gain if not kept in check.

      Thats just scratching the surface. Be careful with your wheat consumption and pay attention to signals of bloating, gas, indigestion, headache, joint pain, restless sleep, rash, or other endless symptoms that are reflective of food sensitivities and allergies.

      Dr Gary Huber

  17. Al says:

    Awesome article, awesome website. With all the misinformation out there, it’s wonderful to see someone laying it down right! I’ve read several of your posts and each one was dead on. As a like minded doc, I can’t wait to recommend this website to my patients. Well done!

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Thanks Al,
      We have to protect our patients best interests. After all, we are supposed to be HEALTH care providers and not simply pharmaceutical reps. I appreciate your vote of confidence.
      Dr. Gary Huber

  18. Daina says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your awesome knowledge! I have just embarked on a quest to find the heath that I’ve lost along the way. I will be 51 soon…I have joint pain, fatigue, widespread body pain (diagnosed as fibromyalgia, but I’m not sure about that) bulging lumbar disks with annulus tears, sciatic pain, brain fog, periodontal problems (I’m a retired dental hygienist :( …basically incapacitated.I’m also quite overweight due to a terrible diet, existing on fast food for about a year. I hardly know where to start, so I’ve just started eating as healthily as possible. I try to avoid MSG, processed foods, GMO’s, HFCS…am giving up my beloved Diet Dr. Pepper’s due to aspartame…and eating as much “live” raw food as I can. A week so far..7 pounds gone :) and can now get in and out of bed without help.Already you have answered many questions for me, and I am eating this up along with my salad and herbal tea! Again, thank you so much! You are a God-send :-)

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Diana,
      Sounds like you are on a great trail and sure to improve your health with each passing day. Glad to be of help and yes you are the very reason we exist. I noticed you mentioned being a dental hygienist and I would naturally assume that you have worked for years in the presence of mercury based silver amalgams. I would think a simple “provoked” urine challenge test to look for heavy metals may reveal a significant amount of metal that would contribute to your current symptoms. Seek out a good integrative physician in your area to help you with this or if lost for a good solution contact my office for guidance (Mary is my office manager at 513-366-2122).

      Foods that naturally chelate metals include garlic, coriander, cilantro, and whey protein. A good heavy sweat will also purge toxins and metals from your body so exercise and find a sauna to aid in this process.

      Keep at it and you will find rewards,
      Dr. Gary Huber

  19. Daina says:

    Thank you, Dr Huber for your encouraging resonponse! My father was a dentist, he graduated in the 1950′s when amalgam filling materials were used in all but the anterior teeth. It was in the air, the indoor outdoor carpet, the a/c filter, vacuum cleaner…everywhere We didn’t use masks or gloves. Also when the material was mixed we used a “squeeze cloth” to get the excess mercury out before placing the fillings. A health nightmare. My dad was a very healthy man, at least until he got lung cancer in his late 70′s…he had smoked for 25 years also but quit in 1967. I was exposed to alot of mercury between 1975 & 1979 when he retired. After that I only did dental hygiene, no assisting, but the offices I worked in were OSHA friendly by that time anyway. I’ve been eating more cilantro lately…I also heard the spirulina was good for heavy metal chelation, so I’m planning to incorporate that as well. Since giving up the SAD diet and eating mostly raw vegetables and lightly cooked homemade soup with organic vegetables and some fruit and seeds, my pH has gone from 5.5 to 7.0! Also gave up the diet drinks with aspartame for pure water with lemon. After only 1 1/2 weeks I am feeling less upper back pain and more energetic than I have in years. Also using virgin coconut oil which seems to be helping my annoyingly itchy and unattractive rosacea, after a mask of baking soda with a little peroxide mixed in. I loved eating out at “bad” restaurants, but that has been replaced by the joy of each new discovery on the road to health I don’t want to end up dead from lung cancer like both my parents! Thanks again for your awesome site and info I look forward eagerly to each new article or tip! Finally, a physician who wants to make patients well and not just write more Rx’s or order more useless tests! :)

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      You are very welcome Diana. When you are ready, get your metals tested. It can be removed without the use of IV medication but rely on a seasoned practitioner and do not undergo this on your own with out experienced oversight. I have seen it make a world of difference.

      LOVE the pH rise you experienced. Very cool.
      Dr. Gary huber

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