Health Food Stores Misconceptions

WholeFoods, Mother’s, Sprouts Farmers Market, Bristol’s Farms, and Trader Joe’s– what do these stores have in common?

All are considered health food stores. They all carry organic and locally grown produce and most are non-GMO. But– are all products within these stores “healthy?”

Unfortunately, no.

They still carry foods (if you can call them “food”) that are equally unhealthy. Which means you still have to read labels and you still cannot splurge on “junk food.” Junk food is junk food– it does not matter where you buy it.

I personally love these stores for their fresh produce. Though it saddens me when a patient relayed that one of the store’s brand salsa had wheat in it as a filler. Why would wheat be added to salsa? (Why is wheat/gluten added to a lot things? A different subject for a different post.) I would expect it from a mass-produced brand name company but not from one of these store’s brand. So, I set out to do some investigation myself. Sadly, I found what I was looking for.

Here is one example:

I am a big fan of almond butter. Peanut butter is too inflammatory plus peanut is not even a nut, it’s considered a bean. So looking at this label, what do you see?

  • First of all, you shouldn’t purchase “roasted” nuts. The process breaks down the good fat that you’re supposed to get from it.
  • Secondly, I don’t know about you, but there are words in here that makes me say, “What?” The rule of thumb is this, if you don’t know what it is don’t buy it.
  • Thirdly, take a look at the “Allergen Statement.” If you are allergic/intolerant to any of these items, you should not be consuming this product. What it is basically telling you is that this product has been contaminated with these items, it does not matter how much or how little. A little contamination could send someone into an anaphylactic shock.

Luckily, I found this container next to it:

Much better, right? I’ve also seen “Almond Butter, Unsalted” before for those watching their salt intake.

So again, just because you are shopping at a health food store, it does not mean you can go without reading the labels especially if you are purchasing anything processed.

Happy shopping and happy eating! Dr. Hall