6 “foods” no one should eat

Because every person is genetically unique, the ideal diet for you deserves to be just as unique. There are, however, some “foods” that are detrimental for all of us — across the board — and they should definitely be avoided.

Here are 6 common offenders that cause serious health issues, chronic illness, and may lead to an early death — and where they are commonly found so you can avoid them at all costs:

1. Trans Fats

Trans Fats (aka “trans fatty acids” or “TFA”s), produced by heating partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils are extremely bad for the body. One M.D. in Australia noted that blood tests performed on heart-attack victims showed 100% of them had consumed foods containing trans-fats within the last 24 hours before their heart attack. TFA’s significantly increase incidence of Heart Attack; while Omega-3 EFA’s (essential fatty acids — a good fat for brain and heart) reverse the risk, lowering cardiovascular disease and heart attack risk.

Trans fats limit the artery’s ability to be flexible and expand which is especially dangerous where plaque builds up in the vessel (atherosclerosis). This increases inflammation throughout your body — in turn increasing the likelihood of developing chronic illnesses. Processed Canola oil also becomes hydrolyzed producing trans fats that damage the body.

Possible harmful effects:

  • Depression
  • Arthritis
  • Heart attack or heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity
  • Increases omega-6s and decreases omega-3s
  • Dementia
  • Cancer

Commonly found in:

  • Pre-packaged baked goods — chips, cakes, cookies and pies
  • Margarine
  • Cake frosting
  • Pancake mixes
  • Fried foods and fast foods (french fries, doughnuts, frozen meals, etc.)
  • Microwaveable popcorn

2. GMO Foods

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) have undergone genetic alterations through laboratory procedures known as genetic engineering. It is estimated that over 90% of all soy, corn and wheat grown in the U.S. is GMO. Most GMO crops were adulterated to resist glyphosate, an herbicide that may disrupt the gut microbiome leading to leaky gut syndrome — one of the leading causes of chronic illness. During growth, GMO crops are saturated with glyphosate so should you be concerned about residue in your food? Considering that glyphosate has also been linked to cancer, kidney disease, birth defects, autism and more, it’s not a far-fetched concern.

Soy especially has been found by hundreds of epidemiological, clinical and laboratory studies to be linked to malnutrition, digestive distress, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders, immune system breakdown, and even heart disease and cancer. The National Institute of Health has recently produced a 45-page soy warning. Partly to blame, soy is an endocrine (hormone) disruptor and affects the ability to sexually reproduce in both males and females. Some 25% of all males in the U.S. (ages 15-45) are unable to reproduce. Infants are started on soy formula at birth and soy is found in over 60% of our processed foods.

Here are just two types of soy found in our processed foods:

Soy Protein Isolate

Possible harmful effects:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Rash
  • Thyroid issues
  • Dementia or other degenerative brain disorders
  • Breast cancer
  • Reproductive disorders in both males and females

Soy Lecithin

Possible harmful effects:

  • Mood instability
  • Soy and hexane allergy
  • Menstrual cycle abnormalities
  • Cancer
  • Infertility (males and females)
  • Abnormal and incomplete brain development in children and pregnant women
  • Reproductive system complications

Both additives are commonly found in:

  • Many processed foods
  • Cereal, candy
  • Chicken
  • Chocolate
  • Deli meats
  • Energy bars
  • Infant formula
  • Margarine
  • Mayonnaise
  • Protein powders
  • Soups, gravies, sauces
  • Baked goods and mixes
  • Asian cuisine
  • Peanut butter

3. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

Possible harmful effects:

  • Leaky gut syndrome, inflammation
  • Increases visceral fat production and storage
  • Liver damage and disease
  • Low energy
  • Mercury poisoning
  • Increased cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, dementia
  • Accelerated aging
  • Cancer

Commonly found in:

  • Soft drinks
  • Salad dressings, sauces
  • Breads, many multi-grain breads, muffins
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Processed snacks
  • Candy bars
  • Fruit juice, juice drinks
  • Yogurt
  • Ketchup

4. Artificial Sweeteners

Here are the top two worst offenders:

Aspartame — is 200 times sweeter than sugar.

Possible harmful effects:

  • Increased risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Increased cravings, caloric intake throughout the day, weight gain
  • Muscle spasms, muscle aches, pains, limb numbness
  • Blurred vision
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Hyperactivity
  • Shortness of breath, dizziness
  • Skin reactions, rashes,
  • Seizures
  • Headaches
  • Lupus
  • Alzheimer’s dementia — memory loss, cognitive decline, brain damage
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Insomnia, anxiety
  • Abdominal pain
  • Birth defects, cancer

Sucralose (Splenda) — is 600 times sweeter than sugar.

Possible additional harmful effects:

  • Inhibits dopamine
  • Leaky gut syndrome
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Migraines, dizziness, seizures
  • Allergic reaction
  • Weight gain
  • Diabetes
  • Dementia

Artificial sweeteners are commonly found in:

  • Diet soda
  • Protein drinks and powders
  • Chewing gum
  • Jams, jellies, pies, pastries, ice cream
  • Candy, syrup
  • Cereals
  • Sugar-free products

5. Sugar

Sugar elevates ghrelin, a hormone that promotes hunger, which can induce overeating and rapid weight gain. Sucrose leads to elevated levels of blood glucose and a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. Sugar is highly addictive — causing the brain to release dopamine 8 to 9 times more addictive in the brain than cocaine.

Possible harmful effects:

  • Accelerates the rate of aging of your organs, skin, arteries and joints
  • Mood swings
  • Promotes overeating, causes addictions
  • Candida, yeast and fungal infections
  • Obesity, overweight
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver

Commonly found in:

  • Soda
  • Fruit juices
  • Pasta sauces
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Breads
  • Baked goods
  • Beer
  • Cookies, cakes, candy
  • Ketchup (and almost all processed foods)
  • Syrups

6. MSG

MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) aka glutamic acid, monopotassium glutamate, natrium glutamate, monoammonium glutamate, yeast extract, gelatin, calcium glutamate, magnesium glutamate, soy protein, calcium caseinate, sodium caseinate, autolyzed yeast, textured protein, and my favorite — “natural flavors.”

Many people report experiencing adverse effects after eating foods containing MSG. These symptoms are collectively referred to as the “MSG symptom complex” and include headache, skin flushing, sweating, pressure, tightness, numbness, tingling or burning in the face, heart palpitations, chest pains, nausea and muscle weakness. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study in 1997 confirmed that MSG causes this symptom complex at an average of 2.5 grams of MSG.

Possible harmful effects:

  • Headache
  • Skin flushing, tightness or face pressure, numbness or tingling, burning in the face or neck
  • Heart palpitations, chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Poor sleep
  • Muscle weakness
  • Hives or other allergic reaction
  • Inflammation
  • Brain damage, nervous system damage, learning disability
  • Endocrine (hormonal) problems, emotional control issues
  • Obesity
  • Short stature

Commonly found in:

  • Chinese or Asian food
  • Chicken or sausage products
  • Dipping sauces
  • Flavored snack chips
  • Parmesan cheese products
  • Salad dressings
  • Soy sauce
  • Beef jerky
  • Canned goods
  1. Catherine Shanahan, MD. Deep Nutrition. A study from New Zealand that showed that subjects who ate french fries from a restaurant fryer displayed immediate harm to their endothelial function of their arteries, from a normal 7% dilation before eating the french fries to almost NO dilation at all (only 1%) AFTER eating the french fries. Dr Shanahan also surveyed hundreds of patients that were admitted to the hospital for a heart attack, and discovered that every single patient that just had a heart attack had consumed foods made with vegetable oils with their last meal before the heart attack.
  2. Siddiqui RA, Harvey KA, Ruzmetov N, Miller SJ, Zaloga GP. n-3 fatty acids prevent whereas trans-fatty acids induce vascular inflammation and sudden cardiac death. Br J Nutr. 2009 Dec;102(12):1811-9. doi: 10.1017/S0007114509992030.
  3. http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/adoption-of-genetically-engineered-crops-in-the-us/recent-trends-in-ge-adoption.aspx
  4. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/09/14/glyphosate-celiac-disease-connection.aspx
  5. Heather B. Patisaul, Wendy Jefferson.The pros and cons of phytoestrogens. NIH http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3074428/
  6. http://www.aol.com/article/2014/02/24/doctor-says-sugar-eight-times-more-addictive-than-cocaine/20837016/
  7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XXKcx4Ftdc
  8. Gladstein, J. (2006). Headache. Med Clin North Am, 90(2): 275-90.
  9. Izikson, L. (2006). The flushing patient: differential diagnosis, workup, and treatment.  J Am Acad Dermatol, 55(2): 193-208.
  10. Yang WH, Drouin MA, Herbert M, Mao Y, Karsh J. The monosodium glutamate symptom complex: assessment in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1997 Jun;99(6 Pt 1):757-62. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9215242
  11. Fernstrom, JD. (1996). Short-term neuroendocrine effects of a large oral dose of monosodium glutamate in fasting male subjects. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 81(1): 184-91


Dr. Brad Cutler

By Dr. Brad Cutler

With over 30 years of clinical nutrition experience, Dr Brad Cutler has been a well-respected authority in digestive health, nutrition and natural anti-aging protocols. In 2014 Brad certified in Functional Medicine. His life is all about health, fitness, and what works nutritionally in the body. He coaches individuals in essential lifestyle principles as a part of his ongoing functional medicine practice. Brad’s mission is to inspire others to purposefully create thoughts and emotions that support wise food choices and lifestyle changes that improve health. Individual focus may include balance of digestion, detoxification, immunity, hormones, cardio-metabolic health, cognitive function and mood.

Brad may be reached for Health Coaching at functionalmedicineutah@gmail.com.