Healthy Food Choices. Confusion still reigns over clarity.

Want more clarity? Think more whole plants—per Dr. T. Colin Campbell

The current Time Magazine (May 14 issue) contains an article by Alexandra Sifferlin that advises people to think twice about six foods that they’ve always thought were healthy. It reminded me of a group of six not-so-healthy foods that I covered in Chapter 10 of our book. The difference in our two lists of six boils down to a simple matter of confusion and clarity.

The Time article is entitled “Eat with Caution.” I say go the 4Leaf route and “Eat with Confidence.”

When it comes to learning about healthy eating, the mainstream media is probably the absolute worst place to look. That’s because there is apparently no one that you can consistently trust to tell you what you should be eating. And that includes the food writers and celebrity doctors—along with the plethora of dietitians and heart doctors that the food and drug companies hire to promote their products.

After seeing about a zillion labels and ads like this; it’s no wonder you may have concluded that yogurt was a pretty healthy food. Not.

As for Alexandra’s list of six foods, the confusion begins with her opening line, “Here are some ostensibly good-for-you foods that diet specialists look at with a skeptical eye.” Notice that there is not a single whole plant food on her list, although there are at least three items on her list that I would never deem “ostensibly healthy.” Those three, along with my comments, are highlighted in red

1. REDUCED-FAT PEANUT BUTTER — Taking out the fat sometimes means putting in artificial sweeteners. That can add up to a savings of just 0.5 g of fat and 10 calories per serving–along with a cloying flavor.

2. LOW-FAT YOGURT — It starts off fine, but as with its frozen cousin, high-fructose corn syrup and artificial flavorings and colorings add calories and yuckiness. Avoid the fruity kind and stick with plain. (dairy of all kinds is not fit for human consumption.)

3. FROZEN YOGURT — The probiotic bacteria that are part of fro yo’s appeal aren’t present in the same quantities in all brands. And in self-serve shops, it’s easy to overdo portions, pile on toppings and rack up calories. (dairy of all kinds is not fit for human consumption.)

4. GLUTEN-FREE FOODS — These are a must for people who are gluten-sensitive or who have celiac disease, an autoimmune condition. For everyone else, they’re just a food fad–one that often comes with extra sugar, saturated fats and preservatives.

5. HIGH-FIBER AND WHOLE-GRAIN CEREAL AND BREAD — A good idea–but be careful. Unless you’re buying these at a health-food store, you may be getting added sweeteners and caramel coloring. And not all the whole grains are actually whole.

6. PROCESSED SOY PRODUCTS — The problem is the processing part, which removes healthy carbs, fat and fiber and leaves only the protein isolate. Processed soy products are also linked to hormone imbalances in some people. (They are not whole plants, usually have excessive sodium—and they continually remind you of the foods you used to crave.)

Now for some clarity. The Hicks Six Not-So-Healthy Foods (from our book)

Perfect for baby cows—not for humans.

Although I had already covered these unhealthy foods in earlier parts of the book, I just wanted to highlight them one more time in the next to last chapter. That’s because most of us have been told our entire lives that these are all healthy foods—and we just felt like our readers needed one more reminder that they’re not.

  1. Cow’s Milk. Contains casein, which is associated with cancer, and it has no fiber. It’s also loaded with cholesterol and derives around 35 percent or more of its calories from fat.
  2. Yogurt of all kinds. Contains the same animal protein as milk and is associated with the same issues. It has no fiber and no phytonutrients that will help protect you against chronic disease.
  3. Granola. How could granola not be good for you? Two reasons: added sugar and too much fat.
  4. Cheese. Definitely not good for you. Too much fat, too much cholesterol, too much sodium and too much animal protein.
  5. Fish. While fish does contain the healthy omega-3 fatty acids that our bodies need, it also contains the fat, cholesterol, animal protein, and pollutants that our bodies don’t need. There are plenty of plant sources of omega-3s.
  6. Olive Oil. All oil derives 100 percent of its calories from fat (120 calories per tablespoon) and it has zero fiber. An optimal diet delivers less than 20 percent of its calories from fat, so choosing to use oil makes coming anywhere close to that number very difficult.

Olive Oil? Yes, any oil. And I saved it for last because of its ubiquitous reputation among medical and dietary professionals everywhere as a “heart healthy” food. Dr. Esselstyn vehemently disagrees and he is the only man on the planet with a near 100% record of reversing heart disease in his terminally ill patients. Bill Clinton listened to him; so should everyone else—in this four minute video…

As for my list of six foods in Chapter 10 of our book, I also published a group of six separate blogs on those foods. Here it is for your convenience:

Some “not-so-healthy” foods — a reminder (series of six posts)

Here is the article from Time. Eat with Caution – TIME.

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to

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J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

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Blogging daily at…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
This entry was posted in Dairy, cow's milk, Healthy Eating 101 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Healthy Food Choices. Confusion still reigns over clarity.

  1. HC says:

    Thank you for this clarification! I have been overwhelmed by other “healthy” bloggers saying what’s healthy and what’s not. Including the latest fad, coconut oil. Your article really helps weed out the misconception of what healthy food really is.

    Also your book is a real lifesaver! I’m trying to get other family members to read it but they are nervous about having to give up what they love to eat in spite of being overweight and coming down with lots of medical problems such as diabetes and heart conditions!

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