Even Organic Cereal and Pasta Aren't Health Foods

Yesterday we talked about Wal-Mart's move to sell more organic foods, and Dr. Fuhrman's conclusion was that the organic label doesn't do much to make processed foods more nutritious.

In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman explains the deficiencies and dangers of refined carbohydrates:

Processed carbohydrates are deficient in fiber, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals, all of which have been lost in processing.


Compared with whole wheat, typical process carbohydrate products are missing:

  • 62 percent of the zinc
  • 72 percent of the magnesium
  • 95 percent of the vitamin E
  • 50 percent of the folic acid
  • 72 percent of chromium
  • 78 of the vitamin B6
  • 78 percent of the fiber

In a six-year study of 65,000 women, those with diets high in refined carbohydrates from white bread, white rice, and pasta had two and a half times the incidence of Type II diabetes, compared with those who ate high-fiber foods such as whole-wheat bread and brown rice.1 These findings were replicated in a study of 43,000 men.2 Diabetes is no trivial problem; it is the fourth-leading cause of death by disease in America, and its incidence is growing.3

Walter Willett, M.D., professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health and co-author of those two studies, finds the results so convincing that he'd like our government to change the Food Guide Pyramid, which recommends six to eleven servings of any kind of carbohydrate. He says, "They should move refined grains, like white bread, up to the sweets category because metabolically they're basically the same."

Now the let's talk cheese. According to Dr. Fuhrman cheese is a poor dietary selection and strictly prohibited in the Eat to Live plan:

Cheese is the food that contributes the most saturated fat to the American diet is one of the most dangerous foods in the world to consume. Though it tastes good, it should be used very rarely, if at all. Most cheeses are more than 50 percent of calories from fat, and even low-fat cheese are very high-fat foods.

CheesesPercent of Calories from FatPercent of Fat that is Saturated Fat
Cream Cheese89%63%
Gouda Cheese69%65%
Cheddar Cheese74%64%
Mozzarella Cheese69%61%
Mozzarella Cheese, part skim56%64%
Kraft Velveeta Spread65%66%
Kraft Velveeta Light43%67%
Ricotta, whole milk68%64%
Ricotta, part skim51%62%

So based on the information from Dr. Fuhrman it seems organic doesn't necessarily mean nutritious. While organic produce reduces the risks of pesticides and toxic chemicals, organic processed foods and cheese still aren't healthy choices.

1. Harris, W. 2000. Less grains, more greens. Posted June 11 at www.vegsource.com/harris/ten-categories.htm

2. Harris, W. 1995. The scientific basis of vegetarianism. Honolulu: Hawaii Health Publishers, pp. 98-100.

3. Innis, S.A. 1991. Essential fatty acids in growth and development. Prog. Lipid Res. 30: 39-103.

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Mary Ann Doherty - May 17, 2006 12:02 PM

How nutritious/valuable are those vitamins that have various extracts and dried vegatables added to them? Are they of any benefit at all?

Mary Ann Doherty - May 17, 2006 12:06 PM

How nutritious/valuable are those vitamins that have various extracts and dried vegatables added to them? Are they of any benefit at all? PS. I am sorry, I did not know that you offered these in your vitamins. I assume that they are beneficial..

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