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  • Heather Woodruff

The ‘Healthy’ Foods That May Keep You Running For the Loo

I remember the exact moment when I realized I may actually be feeding the irritable, bloaty, gassy, rumbly beast that appeared to have taken up residence in my belly… I went to see a naturopathic doctor for my gut issues that my medical doctor called IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). I wasn’t satisfied with the ‘your test results are normal just decrease your stress’ response I was given and decided to seek a different outlook.

Sitting in Naturopathic Doctor’s office I proudly described what I thought was a healthy diet only to find that my ‘all natural’ cereal I was eating was full of gas producing refined sugar, the organic granola bars had ingredients I couldn’t pronounce causing my poor tummy to struggle in the attempt to digest it, even the coconut milk I had daily was laced with carrageenan which has been linked to ulcerative colitis, intestinal lesions, and intestinal permeability (leaky gut). And that was just the tip of the iceberg. So many of the foods I thought were ‘healthy’ were actually sending me to the bathroom several times a day.


''So many of the foods I thought were

'healthy' were actually sending me to the

bathroom several times a day..."


We didn’t have time in my 60 min appointment to analyze every single thing I was eating but my eyes were officially opened and there was no way I could ignore what I had learned.

The World of Health Washing

There’s a term in the nutrition world called ‘health washing’. Now I can easily spot it, but at the time I was totally suckered. Health washing is when some companies use unregulated terminology to make a product appear more health promoting than it actually is and may even be contributing to poor health.

Have you seen these words plastered brightly across packaged food: Sugar-free, 100% natural, made with real ingredients, source of Omega 3’s, source of probiotics, gluten free, dairy free, fortified, etc? Unfortunately listing any of these on a food label does not guarantee that it is healthful for us to eat.

3 ‘Health Washing’ Claims That Can Irritate the gut…

  1. Low Fat – Our gut actually needs healthy fats to heal and thrive. Good fats decrease overall inflammation (there’s a heck of a lot of inflammation with IBS) and is essential for every single cell in our body. Often low –fat products are very high in refined sugar which increases gas and bloating.

  2. All Natural (including natural color and natural flavors) – There is zero regulation around the word natural. I usually ignore this statement and go straight to the ingredients list. Can I recognize every single ingredient as food? If not, how do we expect our body to digest it without needing to run to the bathroom?

  3. Gluten Free – Just because something says ‘gluten free’ does not mean it is healthy. Gluten free cheese puffs are just as processed as regular gluten free cheese puffs. Again, always check the ingredients list.

Are you looking for relief from the irritable, bloaty, gassy, rumbly beast in your belly? Check out my FREE Three Day Meal Plan for IBS Flare Ups.

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