Food & Nutrition

10 Surprising Foods to Avoid (And Why)

After many years of researching the effects of foods on the human body, some of my findings have uncovered information that challenges the common wisdom of a healthy diet. This info may be surprising or even disappointing to some. It is important to reiterate that there are no long term, controlled human studies which would definitively prove the effects of diet and its influence on disease in humans. This post reflects my interpretation of the broad information available on the subject of human nutrition. My goal is to inform you about certain surprising foods to avoid (including nuts, raw broccoli, and raw leafy greens) and point you toward other foods that are more ideal for human consumption.

First, What Is a Healthy Diet?

A healthy diet provides you with the most nutritional benefit with the least detriment, so your body can function optimally. True superfoods not only supply the energy needed to fuel the body, but also the vitamins and minerals needed to help your digestive system break them down easily and efficiently.

Just because a food is dense in nutrients, that doesn’t automatically mean it’s the best and healthiest choice. There other important factors to consider.

10 Surprising Foods to Avoid

Given the definition above, it’s important to limit the intake of the seeds of plants, as well as the mature above-ground stems and leaves. (Note: It’s even more important to avoid processed foods containing the oils and other substances derived from the processing of such plant matter.) This statement may come as a surprise, because I’m suggesting that you avoid eating many things commonly accepted as “healthy foods” or even “superfoods”. Here’s my list of ten surprising foods to avoid:

  1. Nuts
  2. Seeds
  3. Grains
  4. Legumes (beans)
  5. Broccoli
  6. Cauliflower
  7. Asparagus
  8. Brussels sprouts
  9. Cabbage
  10. Kale

To achieve optimal nutrition, limit your intake of plant seeds, mature stems and leaves, and—more importantly—processed foods containing plant-derived oils.

Why Should You Avoid These Foods?

These ten surprising foods to avoid may contain plenty of good nutrients. But, unfortunately, the good stuff comes at a price. These foods also contain a considerable amount of material that is difficult to digest and potentially damaging:

  • The seeds and structural components of plants contain high levels of fiber, resistant starches, and lignins that are not digestible and lead to fermentation in the gut.1 Learn more about the dangers of bacterial overgrowth.
  • They are likely to irritate your intestine, causing you to be exposed to a higher level of endotoxin. Learn more about the dangers of endotoxin.
  • The starch portion of these foods can be absorbed through the intestine prematurely and damage the vascular system, potentially harming the brain and nervous system.2
  • They contain some substances, namely the gluten proteins found in wheat and the phytoestrogens found in soy and flax, which have been linked to metabolic disorders and autoimmune diseases.3-5 Learn more about gluten and healthier bread options.
  • Probably the most significant potential detrimental effect of these foods is secondary to the oils they contain. The highly unsaturated fats (called polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFAs) contained in nuts, seeds, grains, and beans, have been shown to act in ways that could be extremely toxic. Learn more about the dangers of PUFAs.

The consequences of eating the seeds and mature stems and leaves of plants include bacterial imbalance (as a result of the overgrowth of “bad” bacteria), endotoxin exposure, and metabolic disorders.

These recommendations are part of the dietary guidelines that I follow myself. They’ve also helped many others discover their path to healthy nutrition. There are some scientists, doctors, and communities today beginning to find that similar methods of eating are the best method for bringing about optimal human health. To learn about more ideal food choices, read my previous post: Top Superfoods to Add to Your Diet.

For more insights on the latest topics in health and nutrition, sign up for my monthly newsletter. Want to try a new exercise method that’s great for pain management, strength and stability, and flexibility? Go to to learn about the ELDOATM method, or go to Yoga Source to sign up for classes now.


  1. Jacobs LR. Relationship between dietary fiber and cancer: metabolic, physiologic, and cellular mechanisms. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 183, No. 3 (Dec 1986): 299-310.
  2. Volkheimer G. [Persorption of microparticles]. Pathologe 14, No. 5 (Sep 1993): 247-52.
  3. Ishizuki Y, Hirooka Y, Murata Y, Togashi K. [The effects on the thyroid gland of soybeans administered experimentally in healthy subjects]. Nihon Naibunpi Gakkai Zasshi 67, No. 5 (May 1991): 622-629.
  4. Sathyapalan T, Manuchehri AM, Thatcher NJ, et al. The effect of soy phytoestrogen supplementation on thyroid status and cardiovascular risk markers in patients with subclinical hypothyroidism: a randomized, double-blind, crossover study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 96, No. 5 (May 2011): 1442-1449.
  5. NIH – National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. PubMed Health Glossary: Celiac Disease (Gluten Intolerance).

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