Most people visiting my website are pretty well informed about healthy eating. Because of this I’m guessing you’ll know many of the answers to the questions below. Test yourself and see…
For each food check whether you think it’s healthy or unhealthy. Click on your answer to get more information.
Yes, soy is healthy
No, soy is not healthy
Soy is generally not healthy. But it depends on the form of soy.
Soy is the main source of protein in many protein-enriched products. Research shows it may support healthy estrogen levels and you often hear the argument that people in the Orient live long healthy lives because of soy. But is it true?
Aside from the obvious problem of men, and women with family histories of estrogen sensitive cancers potentially getting too much estrogen from soy, there are other issues that should make you think twice about eating it.
The most glaring problem with soy comes from the form you get it in. The healthiest kinds of soy eaten in the Orient are the traditionally fermented forms like miso, soy sauce and tempeh. If soy is not fermented, it contains very high levels of phytates that can actually block your ability to absorb important nutrients, including calcium. It functions as an 'anti-nutrient.'
This means that soy burgers, soy cheese, soy milk and even plain soy beans are not healthy forms to eat. If you really like soy, then miso, soy sauce and tempeh are the best forms.
Yes, protein bars are healthy
No, protein bars are not healthy
In a pinch, protein bars will get you by. But if you're hoping to avoid concentrated sugars, soy products and other unhealthy ingredients, you might want to look elsewhere.
Here are the biggest problems with most protein bars:
Sugars: Even though they're called protein bars, most have a fair amount of sugar in them. The packages imply that the sweetener is healthier for you, but it isn't. For example, honey is twice as sweet as regular white sugar. And fructose is harder on your body than glucose, even though it 'sounds' healthier because it's the sugar in fruit. In fact, refined fructose is worse than white sugar. The bottom line is that any form of concentrated sugar has a negative impact on your health.
Soy: Protein bars with soy are made with some form of soy protein isolate. This means it is highly processed. And since non-fermented soy blocks you from absorbing important nutrients, it's actually an anti-nutrient. See below for more information on soy.
Grains: Often when packaged foods list 'whole grains' in the ingredients they're indulging in a bit of exaggeration. The truth is that if they started with whole grains they can make the claim. Often, however, the whole grains are processed to the point of being no different than white flour.
Other Ingredients: Read the ingredient list carefully. Avoid any protein bars that have additives or any sort of hydrogenated fats or oils.
Yes, red meat is bad for your heart
No, red meat isn't bad for your heart
This is one of those, "it depends" questions.
What it depends on is how the beef was raised. Naturally raised, grass-fed beef is rich with Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), both of which are extremely healthy for most people.
What isn't so healthy is feed lot, grain-fed and processed beef. The reason for this is that these forms have much higher levels of the pro-inflammatory Omega-6 Fatty Acids as well as usually having residuals from hormones and antibiotics, etc. None of these are healthy for people.
Summary... grass-fed good, grain-fed bad.
Yes, fruit juice is healtly
No, fruit juice is not healthy
In truth, this is almost a trick question. After all, what could be better than fresh fruit?
While it's true that fresh fruit is generally healthy, when you juice it other problems emerge.
First of all, it takes a lot more fruit to make a glass of juice than you would ever normally eat. Check this out for yourself by seeing how many oranges you need to squeeze to get a medium glass of orange juice. Depending on the size of the oranges, you might need as many as 6 or 8 oranges.
Can you imagine sitting down and eating 6 oranges at one sitting? You'd likely get to the second or third one and feel like not eating another orange for a while.
What we don't often think about is that a medium glass of orange juice has as much sugar as those same 6 oranges. In other words, fruit juice is a very concentrated form of sugar.
On top of that, the sugar in fruit is largely fructose. The problem with this is that fructose bypasses one of the steps in the cellular process that generates energy in every cell in your body. This is a problem because it can throw your metabolic balance out of kilter, especially if you are like 70% of the population and are a protein type metabolizer.
Yes, yogurt is healthy
No, yogurt is not healthy
As long as you don't have an intolerance for dairy foods, yogurt is a very healthy food. It contains protein along with healthy amounts of 'friendly bacteria' that help support intestinal health.
So it seems we've found a pretty good health food, doesn't it?
Well yes, except if what you're eating doesn't resemble yogurt in it's most natural form. For example, if it's got sugar, food coloring or artificial anything in it, you'd be better to stay away. And if it's just one step shy of ice cream, watch out.
The form of yogurt that the long-lived Russian peasants ate was plain, whole-milk yogurt. That's the only form that you can rely on for good health.
Yes, canola oil is healthy
No, canola oil is not healthy
Most people don't know that canola oil comes from a plant with the common name of "rape seed." I wonder why they didn't market it with that name?
But aside from this, canola oil needs to be processed at a very high temperature just so it won't smell too awful to eat. The high temperature processing can also lead to the creation of dangerous trans-fats. Not only that but like most vegetable oils it's very high in inflammation-producing Omega-6 Fatty Acids.
Definitely not a good food choice for anyone.
Yes, salmon is healthy
No, salmon is not healthy
Salmon in its natural form is healthy
It is naturally rich in the important anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids and it's a great source of high-quality protein and other nutrients. But this is true only in its natural, wild state.
Where you're likely to run into problems is eating farm-raised salmon.
For starters, farm-raised salmon are kept in pens, fed antibiotics and are often artificially colored to look healthier. They typically contain far fewer Omega-3 fatty acids and much higher levels of mercury and other toxins because of spending their lives in close proximity to areas with industrial run-off.
So, to get the real benefits from salmon, it's important to make sure you eat only wild salmon. Copper River salmon from Alaska is one form that qualifies.