In 1885, Doctor Pepper was invented in America, followed by Coca-Cola in 1886 and Pepsi-Cola in 1898. As the consumption of sodas started to increase over the next few decades, so did the rates of obesity, diabetes, and other related health problems.
In the 1950s, diet sodas were invented as an alternative to soda for those with diabetes. Later, when people started becoming calorie conscious, diet sodas were marketed as a zero calorie alternative for health-conscious consumers. There was just one problem: diet sodas are anything but healthy.
Diet sodas were initially sweetened with cyclamate, which was banned by the FDA in the 1970s over evidence that cyclamates caused cancer. In 1983, the FDA approved the use of aspartame in diet sodas, despite earlier testimony that aspartame was linked to brain damage. Some of the health issues linked to diet sodas in general include headaches, greater chance of depression, diabetes, lower bone density, hypertension, decline in kidney function, greater risk of heart attack, aging skin, pregnancy risks, tooth decay, and a greater risk of stroke.
Thankfully, the general public appears to finally be catching on, as both soda and diet soda consumption are now in decline. But this trend wasn’t the result of any major public health awareness campaign. Instead, people are finally realizing the health risks of sodas despite the lack of information (as well as misinformation) they have been given over the years.
We live in a society where large corporations put profits over everything else, including consumer safety. Big business can also easily influence the government, the news media, and “scientific” research. Therefore, it shouldn’t be surprising that diet sodas are not the only “health” trend that the public has been mislead about. Below are similar unhealthy habits and products that have been pushed onto consumers. Many people still aren’t aware of the dangers.
Low-fat and Fat free
When it comes to a healthy diet, moderation is the key: not too much and not too little. Contrary to current popular opinion, fat is a necessary part of one’s diet. Fats (and in particular animal fats) are a key source of nutrients that are necessary for the body to stay healthy. Years of feeding low-fat foods to children has resulted in allergies, asthma, learning disorders and obesity.
People with low-fat diets get sugar cravings and end up compensating reduced fat with increased sugar intake. And since increased sugar leads to weight gain, it means that eating less fat actually increases weight gain.
Perhaps not surprisingly, it was the sugar industry that started the low-fat trend. In 1967, the Sugar Association paid researchers at Harvard to publish papers to claim that sugar-related health issues were actually caused by saturated fat. What followed was a well-established trend of low-fat foods designed to help people lose weight, including skim milk and margarine.
As it turns out, the process of producing skim milk adds oxidized cholesterol to the milk, which can result in heart disease. As for margarine: it may be lower in fat, but it is typically higher in trans fat (the type that leads to heart disease). Additionally, butter is extremely rich in vital nutrients, so it is potentially an important part of one’s diet for those who eat dairy. As a result, if one had to choose between the two: butter is the healthier choice.
Canola oil was literally invented by the food industry, which was looking for a healthy oil that could be mass-produced. Canola oil comes from a genetically modified version of the rapeseed plant. Rapeseed oil was banned in the United States in the 1950s for being toxic and causing heart disease.
In response, the genetically modified version of rapeseed was created, and from this plant we now have canola oil. As of November of 2018, the FDA not only still approves of canola oil, but claims it may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Research, however, suggests otherwise. Canola oil has been linked to cancer, heart disease, inflammation, cellulite, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and asthma.
When it comes to nutrition, there are two things to take into account: calories and nutrients (i.e., vitamins and minerals). Calories are needed for energy. Too few calories leads to a lack of energy; too many leads to weight gain. Nutrients are needed for many essential body processes. Too few nutrients leads to illness and chronic diseases. And there is almost no such thing anymore as too many naturally occurring nutrients.
A lot of the food eaten today doesn’t even have nutrients, while being high in calories. To make matters worse, soil depletion from modern agricultural practices has caused a steady and alarming decline in the nutrients found in our produce. The answer to this problem has been to take vitamin pills to make up for the shortage of nutrients in our food. Unfortunately, many vitamin supplements do more harm than good, and new research suggests that they should not be used at all.
For example, consuming “an excess amount” of multivitamins leads to health issues (which were not specified in the source article). Antioxidants and vitamin E pills are linked to certain types of cancer. Vitamin C pills don’t actually help with colds, but do raise the risk of kidney stones. Vitamin B pills don’t actually help with anything, and have been found to increase the risk of infections, liver problems, and internal bleeding.
Research from 2018 shows that in general, most vitamin supplements only appear to work only due to the placebo effect, but don’t actually have any long-term health benefits.
Many processed foods (such as cold cereals, milk, and table salt) are supplemented with nutrients. But experts say that the nutrients from fortified foods are not absorbed by the body in the same way as they would be from unprocessed foods, and it is unclear what (if any) health benefit they derive. Additionally, consuming fortified foods runs the risk of consuming too many nutrients, which (as noted above) increases the risk of numerous health problems. Nowadays, nutritionists recommend staying away from fortified foods altogether.
Supposedly, salt is linked to high blood pressure, which is in turn linked to heart disease. But new research debunks this commonly-held myth. The research includes a sample of more than 100,000 individuals which concluded that people with low-salt intake were at higher risk of heart disease than those with a moderate intake of salt. Once again, the rule is moderation. Also, less-processed salts such as sea salt are a good source of certain naturally occurring nutrients.
Soy (soy milk and tofu)
Fermented soy products such as natto and soy sauce are regarded as being healthy food products. This has given people the wrong impression that all soy food products are healthy, but in fact, the opposite is true. Unfermented soy products have never even been proven to be safe for human consumption.
Unprocessed soy is believed to not only cause digestive issues, but is also linked to thyroid dysfunction, mental issues, reproductive disorders, heart disease, and cancer. Additionally, most of the soy produced in the United States is genetically modified. Two popular unfermented soy products are tofu and soy milk.
Soy milk doesn’t consist of just soy, it also includes sugar and carrageenan. Carrageenan is a highly processed seaweed that is believed to cause digestive issues.
As people have become more health conscious, one issue that has caught the ire of consumers is the use of pesticides. Obviously, if something is sprayed on crops to kill insects, it can’t be that good for human consumption either. In response to the demand for less toxic produce, the organic movement was born.
In general, organic produce can be considered a more healthy alternative. But there are caveats. First of all, organic produce is not pesticide-free. Instead, organic farms still use pesticides but are limited as to what pesticides can be used. Studies comparing pesticide levels between organic and non-organic produce do not always conclude that organic produce is significantly better. And even if it did, this would not mean that organic produce is necessarily safe (especially over time). It would simply mean organic produce is potentially less harmful, relatively speaking.
In addition, we now have processed food on the market that boasts organic ingredients. However, there is no difference in nutritional value between a cookie made from organic ingredients and one that isn’t. In short, when it comes to processed foods, the organic label is more or less a marketing gimmick.
8 glasses of water a day
Everybody knows you are supposed to drink 8 glasses of water a day. However, drinking too much water is as bad for you as drinking too little, and your body tells you when you need to drink. So it doesn’t make sense to even have such advice.
However, there is a reason why such a weird recommendation has been created. Anyone who eats too much sugar is constantly thirsty, which is why you often see people walking around with water bottles. But instead of being advised to eat less sugar, we are being told to drink more water. And while this might not seem like a big deal now, it may become a big deal when the country has to find a way to pay for the healthcare costs for everyone who develops diabetes.
There is not just a strong connection between sugar and weight gain; there is also a strong connection between sugar and tooth decay. In fact, it’s likely that the absolute best thing you can do for your teeth is not to brush them, but to stop drinking sugary drinks.
But instead of going this route, most people choose to believe in the magic of fluoride toothpaste. Supposedly, fluoride helps to strengthen your teeth. But lately, there has been some debate about whether or not this is true. Either way, it’s beside the point.
Fluoride is deadly poisonous. There is reportedly enough fluoride in a tube of toothpaste to kill a small child. Studies have demonstrated that prolonged exposure to fluoride leads to serious adverse health defects, including neurological and endocrine dysfunction.
Fluoride is a waste byproduct of the manufacturing industry. Historically speaking, it was too dangerous to simply dump into streams and rivers as it was killing everything in the water. So instead, it was necessary to come up with a “use” for fluoride. One of the first commercial uses of fluoride was as an insecticide.
The original studies claiming the dental health benefits of fluoride were sponsored by the same manufacturing companies that needed a way to dispose of this byproduct. So now we have fluoride being slowly released into our water supply because it is supposedly “good for our teeth”. And people are also specifically buying toothpaste with this toxic ingredient.
While sunscreen has been in use for thousands of years, modern sunscreen arrived on the scene around the 1930s. And to this day, the FDA still isn’t clear on whether the active ingredients in sunscreen are really safe. In fact, in February of this year the FDA released an announcement about proposed rule changes for sunscreen that doesn’t inspire confidence.
First of all, only 2 of the 16 current active ingredients would be generally regarded as safe (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide). 2 more would be considered unsafe (PABA and trolamine salicylate). And for the remainder, there is still insufficient information. This includes the ingredient oxybenzone, which is found in the majority of the sunscreens on the market at this time, and which some research suggests is extremely unsafe.
So to be clear about how our system works: the FDA in general does not restrict ingredients from use in food or health products that could potentially be dangerous or toxic. Instead, the FDA restricts ingredients AFTER they can be proven to be dangerous or toxic. And many ingredients tend to be restricted only after many years of use in consumer products, and subsequently after many people have already been harmed or fallen ill due to their prolonged use.
As for sunscreen alternatives, it has been suggested that being outside for 30 minutes a day might be one of the best solutions (as it would build up one’s natural sun protection in the form of a suntan). It would help in other ways as well, because being outside in the sun has numerous health benefits.
There is a lot of confusion these days about what is healthy and what is not. But honestly speaking, the way to live a healthy life has never changed. It includes a balanced diet of nutritious foods, and healthy amounts of rest, sunshine, fresh air, and exercise. It almost seems, though, that people want to be told what to do so that they don’t have to take responsibility for their own health. But the real explanation is not that simple: people do in fact believe the advice that they get from “experts”. But in our current society, where profits are considered more important than consumer safety, it would be extremely wise to do your own research and use common sense.
Legal: the information in this article does not constitute medical advice. Always consult with a medical professional on matters of health. Just keep in mind that the medical professional you consult might be part of a for-profit system that does not have the patient’s best interests in mind.
Now and Then: The History of Soda. https://nowthisnews.com/videos/food/now-and-then-the-history-of-soda
1950’s Innovations: Diet Soda. https://gunthertoodys.com/1950s-innovations-diet-soda/
Stefan Aschan. Sugar: The Real Deal. https://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=2348213&page=1
Type 2 Diabetes Statistics and Facts. https://www.healthline.com/health/type-2-diabetes/statistics#1
Long-term Trends in Diabetes. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/statistics/slides/long_term_trends.pdf
The Decline of ‘Big Soda’. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/04/upshot/soda-industry-struggles-as-consumer-tastes-change.html
Holly Van Hare. 19 Facts About Diet Soda That Might Make You Finally Stop Drinking It. https://www.thedailymeal.com/healthy-eating/scary-facts-diet-soda-gallery/
Anahad O’Connor. How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/13/well/eat/how-the-sugar-industry-shifted-blame-to-fat.html
Nourishing Fats: Why We Need Animal Fats For Health And Happiness. http://nourishingtraditions.com/nourishing-fats-need-animal-fats-health-happiness/
Anahad O’Connor. Coca-Cola Funds Scientists Who Shift Blame for Obesity Away From Bad Diets. https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/08/09/coca-cola-funds-scientists-who-shift-blame-for-obesity-away-from-bad-diets/
Sarah Pope MGA. Why Skim Milk Will Make You Fat and Give You Heart Disease. https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/why-skim-milk-will-make-you-fat-and/
Sarah C. Corriher. The Bomb Shell Truth About Canola Oil. https://healthwyze.org/reports/123-the-bomb-shell-truth-about-canola-oil
FDA Completes Review of Qualified Health Claim Petition for Oleic Acid and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease. https://www.fda.gov/Food/NewsEvents/ConstituentUpdates/ucm624758.htm
9 reasons Canola Oil Is Bad for You (as in, Toss It ASAP) https://blog.bulletproof.com/what-is-canola-oil/
Dirt Poor: Have Fruits and Vegetables Become Less Nutritious? https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/soil-depletion-and-nutrition-loss/
Most Vitamin Pills Are Useless, But Here Are The Ones You Should Take. https://www.sciencealert.com/are-vitamin-pills-good-or-bad-some-you-should-take-folic-acid-zinc
Study: Vitamin Supplements Don’t Provide Health Benefits. https://www.usnews.com/news/health-care-news/articles/2018-05-29/study-vitamin-supplements-dont-provide-health-benefits
Keep the Multi, Skip the Heavily Fortified Foods. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/folic-acid/
Are Fortified Foods Actually Healthy? https://nutritiouslife.com/eat-empowered/fortified-foods-actually-healthy/
Dr. Kellyann. Is Salt Bad for You?. https://www.drkellyann.com/is-salt-bad-for-you/
Salt Doesn’t Cause High Blood Pressure? Here’s What a New Study Says. http://time.com/3313332/salt-and-blood-pressure/
Is salt bad for you? https://www.realmomnutrition.com/is-salt-bad-for-you/
Annie Price, CHHC. What Is Tofu? 8 Reasons to Not Eat This ‘Healthy’ Vegan Product. https://draxe.com/what-is-tofu/
10 Reasons to Never Ever Drink Soy Milk. https://empoweredsustenance.com/avoid-soy-milk/
That New Organic Study Doesn’t Really Show Lower Pesticide Levels. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jennysplitter/2019/02/15/organic-pesticide-study/#3afcdfbf7c85
Aaron E. Carroll. No, You Do Not Have to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/25/upshot/no-you-do-not-have-to-drink-8-glasses-of-water-a-day.html
Is Fluoride Bad for You? Or Is Adding Fluoride to Water A Good Thing? https://foodrevolution.org/blog/fluoride-in-water-dangers/
Fluoride: Poison on Tap. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/10/14/fluoride-poison-on-tap-documentary.aspx
Fluoride: How A Toxic Poison Ended Up In Our Water Supply. https://www.chrisbeatcancer.com/fluoride-is-poison/
Is Your Toothpaste Loaded With Toxins? https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/08/31/toxic-toothpaste-chemicals.aspx
The Trouble With Ingredients in Sunscreens. https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/the-trouble-with-sunscreen-chemicals/
FDA advances new proposed regulation to make sure that sunscreens are safe and effective. https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm631736.htm
Hawaii to Ban 2 Toxic Sunscreen Ingredients to Protect Fragile Coral Reefs. https://www.ewg.org/release/hawaii-ban-2-toxic-sunscreen-ingredients-protect-fragile-coral-reefs
Who Invented Sunscreen?. https://www.thoughtco.com/suncreen-history-1992440