Soft drinks

The average can of pop contains between 7 and 11 teaspoons of sugar. In
addition to dampening the health of the immune system, soft drinks are a major
contributor to the obesity epidemic we are currently witnessing in North
America. Start by eliminating pop from the diet (or making it the very
occasional treat) and substituting fresh, clean water or natural fruit juices.

Trans fats or partially hydrogenated fats

These “funny fats” have been chemically altered by the hydrogenation process. Trans fats or partially
hydrogenated fats can be found in margarine, packaged baked goods, cookies,
chips and vegetable shortening.  Become a label reader to eliminate these
fats from the diet.

Refined flour

Refined flours such as those found in white bread and pasta have been milled
and stripped of their precious fibre, minerals and vitamins. Due to their lack
of fibre, these foods enter the bloodstream far too quickly creating an insulin
surge in the body. An over production of insulin results in weight gain,
fatigue, fogginess and can spill over into a myriad of other hormonal problems.
It is best to replace refined flours with whole grain products such as
multigrain, flax, kamut, spelt and brown rice bread and pasta.


Coffee is the most commonly used drug in the world. Coffee contains the stimulant caffeine, which
makes you feel more alert. As with other addictive stimulants, when coffee is
removed from the diet, people report withdrawal symptoms such as headaches,
irritability and fatigue. Coffee is also a diuretic that causes water loss. The
rule of thumb is one cup of coffee depletes one glass of water from the body.
Instead of coffee, try drinking green tea for its natural energy boost. Green
tea is also a powerful antioxidant that can protect against certain diseases
such as cancer and heart disease.

Fast food

In today’s hectic world, many have turned to fast food for a quick and easy
meal. Unfortunately, the typical fast food burger-and-fries order is filled
with saturated fats, chemicals, refined flours and partially hydrogenated
oils. Continual consumption of fast foods can be linked to obesity, type 2
diabetes, heart disease and stroke. It is best to keep these food items to
a minimum in your diet.

White sugar
White sugar, such as that found in cookies, cakes and candy suppresses
white blood cell activity in the body. White blood cells are the agents
that fight off harmful invaders such as viruses and bacteria. In addition,
white sugar can cause blood sugar levels to surge creating symptoms such as
hyperactivity followed by fatigue, fogginess, weight gain and irritability.
When looking for sweetness, it is best to turn to nature for natural food
items such as fruits and natural fruit juices. Try making your own natural
Popsicles at home. Also, when baking, substitute dates, applesauce or maple
syrup for sugar.


Aspartame (also called NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful or Equal Measure) is
found in over 5000 food items such as chewing gum, diet sodas, candy and
deserts. Aspartame is over 200 times sweeter than sugar with only a small
amount needed to sweeten packaged goods. Unfortunately, this sweetener may
be the cause of many health problems including migraines, dizziness,
seizures, muscle spasms, vision problems and heart palpitations. Aspartame contains
methanol, also known as wood alcohol, that is toxic at very low levels. It
is best to remove aspartame from the diet completely and substitute with
natural sugars.

Saturated fats

Saturated fats have been labeled the bad fats. This type of fat is found in animal
products, dairy items (cream, whole cheeses) and oils such as palm and
kernel oil. These fats can contribute to the clogging of arteries and
should used minimally. Lowfat cheeses, lean meats and frozen natural
yogurts are all excellent substitutions to saturated fat foods.

Food coloring

Food coloring is found in food items such as candy, baked goods, cakes, soda and sugary
breakfast cereals. They contain no nutrient value and can create various
symptoms in the body such as allergies and behavioral problems. Of all the
food coloring, tartrazine (also called FD & C Yellow #5) is one of the
most problematic creating symptoms of asthma, allergies, hives and thyroid

Luncheon meats
Most luncheon meats such as hot dogs and bologna contain preservatives called nitrates.
Nitrates are added to meat to help keep the pinkish, red colour.
Unfortunately, nitrates combine with stomach juices to form nitrosamine
which has been found to be cancer causing. Try substituting with
nitrate-free meats (ask your local butcher)


  1. Ludwig DS, et al. Lancet
    357:505-8, 17 Feb 2001
  2. Shulman, J. Winning the Food
    Fight – Every Parent’s Guide to Raising a Healthy Happy
    Child. Wiley, 2003.