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3 Foods to Avoid for Better Health and Longevity

Updated: Jan 7, 2023

Nutrition science can be confusing. This is partially because of bias, poor study controls (such as not controlling for healthy and unhealthy user bias), and lack of funding separate from wealthy interest groups. Instead of delving into the twisted web of specific ways of eating, today we're going to look into three "foods" that we know cause problems and should be avoided.


Most of us know to avoid refined sugar. Sugar makes the body release insulin and force the sugar out of the blood stream (where it can do damage) and into your cells. Insulin is necessary in the body, but we don't want too much of it. (It's called a "fat-storage hormone" for a reason)! Too much insulin also leads to insulin resistance - the mechanism behind Type II Diabetes. This is significant because Diabetes is associated with premature death from multiple different cancers (among other things) as well as double the risk for vascular disease. [1][2]

Many products sneakily add sugar to them in different forms and names. See the list below for different "sugars" that may be in your food:

Sugar: AKA:


(High Fructose) Corn Syrup


Glucose (Solids)



Rice Syrup



Maple Syrup

Fruit Concentrate



(Dehydrated) Cane Juice

Carob Syrup

Cane Sugar or Cane Juice


Though there are some differences among the types of sugar with glycemic load and how they are metabolized, all these can have a detrimental effect on your health (even the more "natural" sugars) when eaten in excess. Make sure to check the labels on your food. Many people are getting added sugars in every meal without realizing it! It's any wonder rates of Type II Diabetes are going up (especially in children).

Refined Carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates cause trouble in the body much the same as sugar. This is because all carbs break down into sugar (glucose) in the body for processing. Depending on the type of carb, how much of it you eat, and what you eat with it, it changes the amount of insulin that's released. Breads (including croissants, bagels, pizza dough, tortillas, etc.) along with most pastas and crackers are the main sources of refined carbs for most people in the U.S. The problem is that humans are not designed to thrive off of these refined foods when consumed as a staple in the diet. The grains we use for these products today are vastly different than the grains of antiquity. Our modern-day processing strips the grain of much of its nutrients. These grains also contain lectins which damage the gut and increase intestinal permeability. Increased permeability of the gut is associated with chronic pain, food sensitivities, anxiety, and depression (to name a few).[3]

Vegetable Oils

This one may surprise some people. Specifically, it's seed oils that are particularly damaging (for instance, olive oil is often considered a vegetable oil, but is actually a fruit oil, extracted from the fruit of the olive, and not a seed oil). It wasn't too long ago we were told to exchange animal fats for vegetable oil because it's "healthier." This is not necessarily true. Due to the way these oils are refined, they are very unstable and oxidize easily. The breakdown products of these oils in our body are toxic in several ways and involved in many disease processes such as Alzheimer disease, and cardiovascular diseases.[4]

The Sydney Diet Health Study (2012) tested the health difference between vegetable oils and saturated fats by replacing saturated fats with vegetable oil in test subjects.[5] People who consumed vegetable oils had a 17.6% all cause mortality (death) compared to the control group that was eating saturated fats (at 11.8% mortality). They also saw a 16.3% death rate from coronary artery disease in the vegetable oil group versus only 10.1% that were still eating saturated fats. According to the study, "an increase of 5% of food energy from n-6 LA [seed oils] predicted 35% and 29% higher risk of cardiovascular death and all cause mortality, respectively."

Though it's tough to calculate specifically, it's estimated that up to one third of the average American's caloric intake comes from these oils. Go through your cabinets and refrigerator and see how many products you use every day contain one or more of these oils:

Seed Oils:

Soybean oil

Safflower Oil

Cottonseed Oil

Soybean Oil

Corn Oil

Canola Oil

Sunflower Oil

Peanut Oil

Grapeseed Oil

Rice Bran

If you need more help with your health challenges or are in the Grundy County area, please don't hesitate stop by during office hours or call us at 815-634-3750 to set up a consultation. In addition to providing chiropractic care for the spine, we also adjust extremities, provide therapeutic muscle stim and ultrasound, prescribe stretches and exercises, apply acupuncture, and provide nutritional recommendations. We can even order lab work if needed.


[1] Thompson A, Di Angelantonio E, Gao P, Sarwar N. Diabetes mellitus, fasting glucose, and risk of cause-specific death. N Engl J Med 2011; 364:829-841. Available from:

[2] Sarwar N, Gao P, Kondapally Seshasai SR, Gobin R, S Kaptoge, E Di Angelantonio. Diabetes mellitus, fasting blood glucose concentration, and risk of vascular disease: a collaborative meta-analysis of 102 prospective studies. Lancet 2010;375:2215-2222. Available from:

[3] Fasano A. All disease begins in the (leaky) gut: role of zonulin-mediated gut permeability in the pathogenesis of some chronic inflammatory diseases. F1000Res. 2020 Jan 31;9:F1000 Faculty Rev-69. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.20510.1. PMID: 32051759; PMCID: PMC6996528.

[4] Zhang H, Forman HJ. 4-hydroxynonenal-mediated signaling and aging. Free Rad Bio Med 2017 Oct; 111:219-225. Available from:

[5] Ramsden C E, Zamora D, Leelarthaepin B, Majchrzak-Hong S F, Faurot K R, Suchindran C M et al. Use of dietary linoleic acid for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and death: evaluation of recovered data from the Sydney Diet Heart Study and updated meta-analysis. BMJ 2013; 346 :e8707 doi:10.1136/bmj.e8707

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