Long ago, people ate the foods naturally available to them and could trust their cravings and body reward systems to guide them to healthy foods. As our food supply has become industrialized and manufacturers have determined how to use flavor enhancers and artificial ingredients to appeal to our tastes and current diet fads, we tend to choose what is easy and appealing rather than what our bodies need.
In order to achieve optimal health, we need to learn which foods to avoid and enable intentional eating decisions that support our functional nutrition.
These toxic foods may directly interfere with the body’s functional systems:
- Sugar and Sugary Drinks
We encounter sugar in nature in its dilute natural form. Munching on a few berries or eating a piece of whole fruit is a healthy amount of sugar, providing quick energy and a brain boost. Nowhere in the natural world is sugar as concentrated as we have learned to make it.
Concentrated sugars are high in calories and lack the nutrition required to make us feel full, which inevitably leads to weight gain. It overloads the body’s sugar management system, causing problems with insulin levels and possibly leading to insulin resistance. In particular, Fructose has been linked to increased inflammation and health issues.1
- White Bread and Highly Refined Flours and Grains
White bread is made from highly refined wheat flour and is high in gluten. While many people suffer from Gluten allergies and intolerance, even those who are not gluten intolerant should be aware of the lack of nutrition in refined flour. Other additives such as corn starch and tapioca flour have a similar lack of nutrients and fiber. Similar to Fructose, these refined grains and flours can cause sugar spikes and inflammation.1
- Manufactured Vegetable Oils
Added fats in the form of vegetable oils are a relatively new change to the human’s natural diet. Oils like soybean, corn, cottonseed, and canola have never been consumed in such great amounts until recent years. These oils cause oxidative stress in the body and increase inflammation.1
- Processed Meat and Cheese
While meats and cheeses can be healthy protein choices, the addition of the word “processed” to them indicates that there is some artificial additive or “process” being used to change it from its natural form into something less nutritious and absorbable by the body.
- High-Calorie “Coffee” Drinks
Coffee, when consumed correctly, can be part of a healthy diet and is loaded with antioxidants. When it is mixed with artificial creamers and sweeteners or loaded with real cream and sugar, its health benefits are outweighed by the harmful load of calories, sugar, and chemicals.
- Most Fast Food Meals
If you were to take all the above categories of toxic foods and combine them into one meal, you would have fast food. Most of the items available at fast food chains have little nutritional value, high calories, and additives that can upset digestion, metabolism, and the chemical balance within the body.
Discover Your Ideal Way of Eating
Each individual has unique nutritional needs and sensitivities. At Pollack Wellness Institute, your functional medicine practitioner will identify which foods may be causing you fatigue, digestive discomfort, or any other chronic symptom you are experiencing and provide you with customized nutritional recommendations.
Returning to a state of vitality and wellbeing starts with the knowledge and experience of your integrative functional medicine clinic. Just as real food doesn’t need an ingredient list, your journey to optimal health shouldn’t be guided by a one-size-fits-all set of diet rules. Reach out to us today and experience the difference individualized functional nutrition makes!