Is Eating Healthy Making You Sick?
With all the messages about America’s bad eating habits over the last 25 years, many people have made healthy changes to their diets. You’re probably one of them.
I’ll bet you’ve cut out a lot of empty calories by avoiding sugary drinks. And you’ve probably cut down on your salt, too. If you have, you may be putting your health at risk.
No, I haven’t gone crazy. I don’t think you should start drinking calorie-laden sodas or dousing your food with salt. But there’s a good reason some of the “healthy” changes we’ve made haven’t helped as much as they should.
Take cutting down on sugary sodas, for example.
There’s nothing healthy in your average soda. So getting them out of your diet is a good idea. But if you trade them for diet sodas, you may be creating a whole new problem.
According to a new study, diet soda robs your body of calcium and phosphorus.1 both these minerals are critical for maintaining bone strength.
And as I’ve mentioned before, most of us don’t get enough vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for building bones because you can’t properly absorb calcium without it. Adding diet soda to the mix robs your body of even greater amounts of calcium.
This is especially bad news for you ladies. You’re already far more likely than men to suffer from weak bones. And, on average, you also drink a lot more diet soda than men.
But here’s the kicker: The women in the study I mentioned drank just 24 ounces of diet soda a day. That’s barely more than one medium-sized drink at McDonald’s. So I’d stay away from diet soda altogether.
While drinking diet soda may put your bones at risk, another “healthy” change can throw your entire metabolism out of whack. Here’s the story:
Before the 1920’s, getting enough iodine was tough. That was a serious problem, because our thyroid gland requires iodine to make the hormones that control growth, development and metabolism.
In the 1920’s, iodine was added to table salt, and iodine deficiency nearly disappeared. But now, Americans are at risk again.
You see, getting too much sodium can create a lot of health problems. So we’ve been on a crusade to cut out the extra sodium. And the most obvious source of sodium is salt.
But as we’ve cut out the salt, we’ve also cut the iodine in our diets. And the numbers are starting to alarm public health professionals. Since the early 1970’s, for example, the number of pregnant women showing low iodine levels has risen by 730%!2
Now, you may be thinking, “But with all the salt in fast foods, and all the salt-laden processed foods in the grocery store, we should still be fine… right?”
Not really. Because very little of the salt used in restaurants and processed foods is iodized. Almost all iodized salt sold in this country is sold for use in the home… and we’re using very little salt at home.
Of course, the answer isn’t to load up on salt. That just replaces one problem with another. But you can increase your iodine intake by eating more seafood. Fish such as cod, perch and haddock are fairly high in iodine. So is kelp, though the flavor takes getting used to.
It’s great to make healthy changes in our lives and our diets. But sometimes those “healthy” changes have unexpected consequences. When the evidence says they do, I’ll keep you informed.
Dr. Kenneth Woliner, M.D.
Best Life Herbals
1 NS Larson, et al “Effect of Diet Cola on urine calcium excretion”
ENDO 2010; Abstract P2-198.
2 See http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action;jsessionid=