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‘Health’ Foods - Are They Really Healthy?


Let's clear this up: fruit isn’t bad for your health. If you have to choose between a doughnut and an apple, definitely go for the apple. But today’s fruit isn’t as nutrient-packed as it used to be. It’s also much sweeter, which isn’t great for managing blood sugar.

Here’s why:

  • Since the Plant Patent Act of 1930, farmers have been encouraged to breed the sweetest, most seedless fruits.

  • Modern fruits are much sweeter due to decades of selective breeding.

  • Fruits like apples are softer and sweeter than those from the 1970s.

  • Even zoos have stopped feeding modern fruits to animals because of the high sugar content.

This means today’s fruit is sweeter but has fewer nutrients. Research shows you’d need to eat eight oranges now to get the same amount of vitamin A your grandparents did.

Think about this: a single mango has 46 grams of sugar, while a 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola has 39 grams.

I’m not saying fruit is worse than soda. If you’re metabolically healthy, fruit is fine, especially in moderation. When you only eat fruit when its in season, they are in their prime and simply taste better – they're usually juicier, sweeter, and more flavorful, making them a real treat to eat. Fruit that is available year round have been stored for long periods or traveled thousands of miles, which often requires refrigeration and can lead to a loss of nutrients. It's all about balance, especially for those with diabetes, recovering from food addiction, or dealing with metabolic syndrome.

Some fruits like berries, watermelons**, and avocados usually don’t spike insulin much. However, everyone’s body is different, so the best way to know is by using a continuous glucose monitor.

** watermelon can spike glucose levels due to its natural sugar content and its glycemic index (GI). Although watermelon has a high GI of around 72, it has a low glycemic load (GL) of about 2 for a 100 gram serving, which means it's less likely to cause a significant spike in blood sugar levels when eaten in moderation. Watermelon is mostly water and also contains fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which are beneficial for health.



Growing up, you probably heard that fiber is essential. It’s all over cereal boxes and granola bars. But fiber may not be as crucial as you think.

Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Fiber is a type of carbohydrate, and humans don’t need a lot of carbs to function well.

  • Studies show fiber can be tough on the digestive system and may worsen conditions like IBS.

  • Some research suggests fiber might hinder digestion and even reduce fertility.

However, if you eat a lot of processed food, fiber can help clear out the waste. But don’t eat Cheerios just to get fiber. A low-carb diet isn’t necessarily low in fiber. Dr. Eric Berg has a great video on this topic.


Diet Beverages

Diet sodas have been around since 1952 and are a big part of American diet culture. About one in four sodas bought today are diet drinks. Will diet soda help you lose weight? Maybe. But will it make you healthier? Absolutely not.

Here’s why:

  • Drinking diet soda regularly can lead to chronic illnesses and heart disease.

  • You have a higher risk of metabolic syndrome, even without real sugar.

  • Artificial sugars in diet soda are linked to cancer.

Quitting soda can be tough, so don’t do it all at once. Try replacing it with something healthier, like lemon water or iced tea sweetened with monk fruit or stevia.


Low-Fat Yogurt

I’ve talked about the low-fat myth before, but it’s worth repeating. Low-fat foods won’t lower your heart attack risk. Instead, they can make you feel hungrier, leading you to eat more.

Here are the risks:

  • Low-fat yogurt may increase your risk for prediabetes.

  • It can spike your insulin; some brands have 29 grams of sugar per serving!

  • Low-fat yogurt is heavily processed, which is linked to worse heart health and higher mortality.

If you like yogurt, go for Greek, full-fat, plain versions,. They’re less likely to contain added sugars. It's easy to add your own sweetener, like monk fruit, vanilla extract and fresh berries.

Remember: ‘low fat’ doesn’t mean ‘won’t make you fat.’ Often, it’s the opposite.


"Healthy" Sugar

We’ve enjoyed sweeteners for thousands of years, but processed sugar is a recent addition. Many foods in the grocery store contain added sugar, and it’s usually highly processed. Are there healthy sugar alternatives? Not really, but there are less processed options:

  • Avoid highly processed sugar like high fructose corn syrup.

  • Stevia extracts aren’t as bad, but buy a quality brand.

  • Lightly processed sweeteners like date syrup and maple syrup can spike blood sugar but come from whole foods.

  • Raw honey is the least processed and most nutritious. Just make sure it’s local and not an artificial ‘honey alternative.’ Avoid the 'little bear' packaging - While there might be some traces of real honey as a base, it is likely diluted with high-fructose corn syrup along with other sugars and fillers.

If you’re metabolically healthy, small amounts of sugar are probably okay. But most Americans aren’t, so even a little sugar can cause issues. Proceed with caution.


So What Diet Should You Follow?

The word "diet" often brings to mind temporary restrictions and quick fixes rather than sustainable, healthy living. That's why I'm much more in favor of the term "meal guide." It suggests a more flexible, long-term approach to eating that's all about nurturing and nourishing your body consistently over time.

I've developed the Gutbugs Meal Guide™ as a helpful tool to help keep you on track. The meal guide isn't about cutting out food groups or counting every calorie—it's about creating a balanced, enjoyable way of eating that supports your health and well-being day in, day out.

It's not a diet; it's a lifestyle—a guide to help you make choices that align with your goals and needs, without feeling deprived or overwhelmed. This perspective encourages us to listen to our bodies and make food choices that feel good and are good for us, making healthy eating a part of our lives rather than a temporary phase.


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