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Is An Online Health Food Store A Healthy Place To Shop?

By Cliff Smith

Health Food Store at the Mall

As the owner of an online health food store, I am always researching the latest nutritional products.  During one of the slowest shopping seasons of the year I decided it was safe to make a trip to the mall.  It was easy to find a parking space right in front of the biggest health food store I had ever seen.  I won't mention any names, but let's just say that many of the "health" products they sell are not very "high" in real nutrition. 

With some time to kill while my wife shopped for clothes, I started reading a few ingredient labels to see what was really in all those flashy looking, low carb, high fiber food formulas, protein blasters and health drinks.  OK, so that sounds really boring, but let me tell you it was fascinating. Maybe this little trip to the big health food store chain will help you avoid some of the ingredients that are anything but all natural, or healthy, in many of their foods or "health drinks".

First thing I noticed is that this big health food store at the mall really loves to sell those enhanced vitamin water drinks.  The brightly colored bottles were everywhere, drawing people to the low prices, the pretty colors and the dream of a natural health drink that actually tastes good without costing too much.  

Well, I have tried some of that "enhanced water", and I thought it not only tasted awful, but the crystalline fructose (concentrated sugar) content was more than enough bad nutrition in one bottle for me.  Oh, and if your body could actually absorb the isolated vitamins infused into the water, you might get your $1.50 cent(s) worth of nutrition.  Isolated vitamins that are not attached to whole foods typically break down before the body can use them for fuel.  On my trip to this health food store I could still see there were no whole food ingredients in those pretty bottles of enhanced vitamin water beverages.

Here are some other things I saw on many of the labels.  These are ingredients that I choose to avoid when selecting whole foods and health drinks for our online health food store:

  • Crystaline fructose, high fructose corn syrup, basically, anything with sugar
  • Modified corn starch.  Almost all corn grown in the USA is GMO (genetically modified organisms), and any time I see the word "modified" I get suspicious about its true nature.
  • Isolated protein - The body cannot easily digest most protein drinks because they are usually made from "isolated" protein, which clogs the lymphatic system. Many athletes searching for nutrition who are working to build muscle up are guzzling protein drinks without understanding the consequences, or the real needs of the human body. They are being seduced by pictures of wash-board abs and bulging biceps into thinking more protein is good.   However, many experts agree it is a myth that anyone needs the high levels of protein offered in some of today's muscle building drink mixes. In fact, all that protein may be doing more harm than good.

Those are just a few of the ingredients I try to avoid in my constant quest for all whole foods and health drinks that are truly healthy.  Are there ingredients that you wonder about?  I hope you'll have as much fun reading labels as I did at the big health food store. Until then, look for whole foods and health drinks at an online health food store, and stay away from the mall.  It's scary there!

Author Cliff SmithAuthor Profile--Cliff Smith--As the owner of an online health food store, Cliff has first-hand knowledge of the best all natural foods, high fiber foods and health drinks available today.  He is a serious athlete who has logged thousands of miles on his mountain bike over rugged terrain throughout the southwestern U.S.  Cliff consumes only the highest quality nutrition for athletes.  In addition, he is an actor and a professional voiceover artist who provides free audio recordings on nutrition topics such as alkaline foods, pH balance, low carb diets and all natural foods.

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