Tonawanda News

October 6, 2013

NATURAL HEALTH: Don't be a fake food fanatic

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Most individuals fall for words like “all natural,” “heart healthy,” and pretty pictures of fruits and vegetables when shopping for groceries. These misleading marketing ploys are partially responsible for the rising numbers of those diagnosed with heart disease, diabetes and people suffering from obesity even though they are eating foods that claim to benefit their health.

Here are some examples of poor choices you could be making right now:

Fiber One Bars market that a diet high in fiber will help you lose weight and feel full. The oat and chocolate variety has more chocolate than oats in the ingredients list and has 10 grams of sugar. These ingredients could cause abdominal bloating and gas from the sugar alcohols, and fast-track yourself to an adult onset diabetes diagnosis.

For children, please do not fall for pictures of fruits or added vitamins on the labels. It infuriates me that many of these products are allowed to be sold to growing children and we wonder why we see so many suffer from ADD/ADHD. An example of nutrition gone wrong for toddler age children is Gerber’s Graduates For Preschoolers Juice Treats. There is absolutely no healthy fat or protein in these treats, just 17 grams of sugar and corn syrup. 

For those still convinced that eating low fat will protect their hearts, a popular brand of Catalina dressing has 7 grams of sugar; diabetes first, then heart disease is sure to follow.

Do I really need to mention foods like canned soups, whipped cream, soda, diet drinks, flavored yogurts and fast foods in general? People come to me all the time in hope of preventing or curing their illness. If you don’t look at the diet first, you are sure to fail in your desire to heal. There is no medication that will cure a poor diet.

For those already suffering from diabetes, the old recommendations were to eat sugar-free foods. So how about a Pillsbury Sugar Free Devil’s Food Cake? You may find yourself running for the bathroom from the laxative effect of maltitol (sugar alcohol), suffering the negative affects from trans fats (partially hydrogenated soybean oil) and let’s not forget possible brain or neurologic damage from sucralose or acesulfame potassium. 

Now for those who are too busy and must resort to buying frozen meals. Number one, nothing nutritious is cooked in the microwave. Number two, these meals can contain more than 50 ingredients, including monosodium glutamate. 

MSG affects many individuals with symptoms such as migraine headaches, upset stomach, fuzzy thinking, diarrhea, heart irregularities, asthma and/or mood swings. MSG is not easily recognized as it is hidden under many names. The following ingredients should always be treated as MSG: anything with the word “glutamate”, yeast extract, anything hydrolyzed, autolyzed yeast, gelatin, textured protein, soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, vetsin, Accent and ajinomoto. Bouillon and broth often contain MSG and the same goes for soy sauce. 

Even foods labeled as organic can contain high amounts of sugar and other ingredients that are not health promoting.

So many well-intended people are falling for marketing tricks that do not benefit your health. Many are just still stuck in the old thinking that a low-fat or sugar-free diet is best, when the exact opposite is true. Look at the cancer rates since the turn of the century — they have escalated tremendously with the addition of food chemical and preservatives. 

Eat foods as they come from nature, in their purest forms. There is such an amazing selection of fresh food available to you. Frozen, wild caught fish, with asparagus and a salad make a great meal that takes less than 20 minutes to put together. You do not have to be a chef to cook healthy meals that taste amazing. 

Instead of focusing on medicinal cures for cancer, diabetes and heart disease why don’t we just clean up the diet and see what happens. I am sure this would have the most profound impact on the reduction of these deadly diseases.

Catherine Stack is a doctor of naturopathy and a certified nurse midwife. Her practice is located at Journey II Health in Niagara Falls. Contact her at 298-8603 or at her website at