We all know that we should be eating more vegetables, but did you also know that soy and corn could be bad for you?
That's according to Dr. Frank Lipman, the health coach to celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow and Maggie Gyllenhaal and author of "Ten Reasons You Feel Old and Get Fat." He recently spoke with W magazine, where he revealed the foods he believes we should all stop eating.
Basically, if you want to look (and probably feel) as good as goop-goddess Paltrow, you need to cut out:
- Processed foods
- Factory farm meats/fish
Let’s break that down, starting with sugar.
Scientists have been warning us about the dangers of too much sugar since as early as 1957. The Food and Drug Administration says people should cap consumption at 50 grams of sugar a day — about 4 tablespoons, or a little more than a can of Coke— while the World Health Organization suggests no more than half that amount for the best results.
Processed foods— be they bread, meats, soda, or sweets — are usually just empty calories, meaning we're getting next to no nutritional value by eating them. Processed red meats, like bacon, have also been associated with heart disease and cancer.
Lipman also warned against corn, saying that some types of locally grown corn are fine but that people should avoid corn that’s "genetically modified."
"Most corn is genetically modified," he said, adding that it's not just corn on the cob you should be wary of but corn hidden in other foods like hamburger patties and ketchup. "There's too much corn in food and I think that can be a problem."
There was one study in France that found rats eating a type of genetically modified corn contracted cancer at a higher rate, but the European Food Safety Authority dismissed the findings, according to Scientific American. Most scientists believe while genetically modified foods could use more oversight, there isn't concrete proof that these types of foods are all bad for us.
Gluten, a type of protein found in certain grains and another food on Lipman's list, has long been debated in the scientific community.
The gluten-free industry is worth $10.5 billion, but unless you're among the 1% of Americans with celiac disease or 6% of Americans with a gluten sensitivity, you're probably OK eating gluten — just eat more whole grains, which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, some kinds of cancers, hypertension, stroke, and obesity.
According to Lipman, soy that has been genetically modified isn't good for you, but again, the majority of scientific studies have found that genetically modified foods pose no additional health risks. In 2013, scientists found that genetically modified soy had no definite negative or positive impact in rats. If you're still nervous about soy, Bon Appetit has a good breakdown of soy studies.
Next on the list? Factory farm meats and fish. "It's not meat that's the problem, but it's factory farm meat where they're fed corn which changes their fat profile and they're injected with antibiotics and hormones," Lipman said. "It's not fish that's the problem, but what we've done to the fish, all the mercury and getting injected with hormones and an anti-fungal because of the way that they're farmed."
While it's admittedly scary that there are hormones in our food, there's still no definitive study that says it's bad for our health. What you should be more concerned about is that fact that these factory farms (basically big operations that raise large numbers of animals for food) are one of the biggest threats to the global environment, and numerous investigative reports have found abhorrent conditions for animals at some of these farms.
Plus, the rampant use of antibiotics in livestock production is contributing to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, per the Centers for Disease Control.
Juicing and juice in general (especially fruit juice), Lipman says, is "just one big dose of sugar." He's right — while eating more fruits and vegetables is healthy and lots of juices contain them, juicing can remove a lot of the fiber that is one of the benefits of eating plants.
He also added that granola and health bars were "pure junk." It's true — many granola bars are deceivingly unhealthy with lots of added sugar. So while granola oats may have lots of fiber and iron, all of the sugar, oils, and chocolate that comes in these bars is not.
As for what Lipman said you should eat? Califia Farms almond milk and produce that you either grow yourself or know the farmer who grew it for you.
"The more you know the source and the origin of the food, the better," Lipman said.
Ultimately, however, he acknowledges that he still eats ice cream and says the goal of eating healthy is to take everything in moderation.