Don’t be Fooled by your Food

March 29, 2019
| Created by Hannah Langley, MS, RDN, CD

Today is April Fools’ Day—a great time to enjoy silly jokes! While practical jokes may be fun, the last thing we want is to be made into fools through deceiving claims made in popular culture or be duped by the marketing on product labels. Today, we’ll bust some of the most common myths we hear as supermarket dietitians.


1. Don’t be fooled into thinking that detox beverages help remove toxins from your liver.

“Detoxing” and “cleansing” are very trendy topics, thrown around in health conversations all the time. The idea is compelling: consume a special product and heal your liver, get rid of toxic substances, reduce bloat, lose a few pounds, clear up your skin, and make your hair and nails glow! If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is! Our livers do a great job ridding the body of compounds that we don’t need. If your liver isn’t performing properly, you would be pretty sick. Not to mention, there is no science showing that any detox beverage actually works.

These types of claims are used to get you to part with hard-earned dollars. The good news is that if you want to optimize your body’s natural detoxification process, here are a few things to try:

Eat at least 2 cups of fruit every day. Your liver needs vitamins and minerals from these foods to function properly.
Enjoy at least 3 cups of veggies every day: especially ones like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, garlic, and onions.
Choose fiber-rich foods, like beans, whole grains, fruits and veggies, to maintain bowel health. This ensures you are regularly getting rid of toxins.
Stay hydrated with water and no-sugar added tea.
Use lots of fresh or dried herbs and spices such as onions, garlic, rosemary, and turmeric.


2. Don’t be fooled into thinking that wild-caught fish is always healthier than farm-raised.

We’ve noticed that many shoppers assume wild caught fish is a healthier option. This is not true! The nutrition comparison between wild and farm raised is comparable. If you’re worried about contaminants like mercury or PCBs, a Harmons dietitian can help you navigate the best choices. Know that studies consistently show that the benefits of eating fish outweigh the risks.

Some folks are understandably concerned about sustainability and the quality of farm fisheries. Both wild and farm fisheries can either be well or poorly managed. There are poorly managed wild fisheries which present sustainability issues. Likewise, there are poorly managed aquacultures that present environmental and health issues. At Harmons, look for the yellow and green fish tags to guide you to the most sustainable choices. You can also check out for more information. 


3. Don’t be fooled into thinking that anything gluten free is healthy.

Eating gluten free has been all the rage for quite some time. Untrained folks who manage to get lots of spotlight (celebrities, high profile bloggers, doctors who write books) have sold us the message “you will be healthy if you cut out gluten.” Unfortunately, they are spreading bad information. Some folks need to avoid gluten for medical reasons, but otherwise, it’s just another protein found in a variety of foods. It is not associated with any health risks. Wouldn’t it be nice if all we had to do was cut out gluten?  

Many gluten-free products are highly processed and low in nutrients. For example, many candies are gluten free, but of course we know those aren’t healthy! In addition, many gluten-free crackers, breads, cereals and snack foods are loaded with sugar and refined grains and are no better than their gluten containing counterparts.

We know that being healthy is about more than not eating one compound found in food.  Here at Harmons, we are committed to helping you make the best decisions when it comes to making choices in the grocery store.  Look for the bright green Dietitians Choice shelf tag or sticker throughout the store. This tag means it’s a nutritious choice. As always, if you have questions, your Harmons dietitian is happy to help!