“Healthy Foods” That Are Actually Bad for You

Navigating the grocery aisles has become an increasingly complex task, with the overwhelming options all fighting for your attention. If you’re trying to eat healthy and stock up on “healthy foods,” you have to pay extra attention to make sure you’re choosing the right items. Just because something claims to be healthy doesn’t mean it really is. These foods may seem healthy, but they aren’t.

1. Dried Fruit

A wooden bowl of dried fruits and berries.
Photo Credit: Dionisvera/Shutterstock.

Fruits are a good source of essential vitamins and nutrients. They’re also a great addition to your meals because they are colorful and add flavor and texture to your meals. However, you have to be careful when buying dried fruit. Most of them are sweetened with sugar – and lots of it. If you want to enjoy the nutritional benefits of fruits, eat them fresh and avoid the candied ones.

2. Granola and Granola Bars

Two granola bars with chocolate drizzle on a white background.
Photo Credit: Marques/Shutterstock.

Granola and granola bars have become the face of ‘healthy foods’. So, many people wanting to eat healthier have incorporated them into their daily dietary routine. But while not all granolas and granola bars are the same – and there are some nutritious ones – it’s crucial to read the labels to ensure you don’t get the ones with tons of added sugar and calories. Instead of buying premade granola and granola bars, make your own at home using wholesome ingredients, such as nuts, rolled oats, and natural sweeteners like honey and fruits.

3. Sweetened Yogurt

A cup of pink yogurt on a gray background.
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An average cup of sweetened yogurt contains 30 grams of sugar. That’s more than you would get from a chocolate bar. So don’t be deceived by false advertising. If you want to incorporate yogurt into your healthy diet, choose Greek Yogurt instead and mix in your own fruits and natural sweeteners.

4. Protein Bars and Drinks

A pile of chocolate and white chocolate covered protein bars.
Photo Credit: NatalyaBond/Shutterstock.

Marketing protein as an essential part of a healthy diet is something manufacturers of protein drinks and bars are trying to capitalize on. While you definitely need protein in your daily diet, you can get it from healthier sources, like eggs, beans, and lean meat. Try to limit your intake of protein bars and shakes. As long as you eat a balanced diet, there is no need to supplement your protein intake.

5. Wheat Bread

A loaf of packaged wheat bread on a white background.
Photo Credit: Ermak Oksana/Shutterstock.

Whether you’re trying to control your carb intake or eat healthy in general, most people are switching to wheat bread from traditional white bread. But unless bread is made of 100% whole wheat, it still has enriched flour and sugar without any nutritional value. The best option is to look for a fiber-rich bread made of 100% whole wheat or multi-grain bread. Be particularly cautious about the first two ingredients on the label list.

6. Caesar Salad

A white bowl filled with chicken caesar salad.
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When most people hear the word ‘salad,’ they automatically assume it’s healthy. Caesar salad is one of those you have to watch out for. It’s undeniable that Romaine lettuce (the base ingredient for Caesar Salads) is good for you; It’s rich in vitamins and minerals. But beyond the lettuce, you must be extra careful, especially with the dressing. The dressing is usually high in fat, and the cheese is high in calories. Even the croutons are an ingredient that might be bad for you. Switch to grilled chicken strips and balsamic vinegar dressing for a healthier salad.

7. Fruit Juice

A collection of cut citrus and three glasses of citrus juice.
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Aside from eating dried fruit, drinking fruit juices is another common health trap you should know about. Most bottled juices are not made of 100% fruit juice. If you read the label closely, you’ll find that these bottled juices contain sugar, other synthetic ingredients, and barely any real juice on them at all. When buying your fruit juice, make sure it is made of 100% real juice.

8. Sports Water

A water bottle filled with pink liquid on a white background.
Photo Credit: Rob Byron/Shutterstock.

Fruit juices aren’t the only beverage you should be careful of. You should also steer clear of so-called sports water. The allure is clear: water filled with essential vitamins and nutrients. It’s unsurprising why many are rushing to buy them. But the reality is that most don’t contain vitamins and minerals; they contain sugar and unhealthy calories. It’s best to stick to drinking water instead (it is cheaper, too.).

9. Processed Organic Foods

Boxed, organic mac and cheese in three flavors.
Photo Credit: Andriy Blokhin/Shutterstock.

There is a misconception that any food labeled as ‘organic’ is healthier. However, highly processed organic foods are still highly processed. They are still filled with preservatives and things most people would not seek out to be part of their dinner.

10. Sushi Rolls

Sushi rolls cut and placed on a slate board next to chopsticks.
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Traditional sushi roll ingredients, such as fish, rice, and seaweed, are generally healthy. However, you can find many Westernized sushi versions packed with unhealthy ingredients. For example, a Philadelphia roll contains salmon, cream cheese, and spicy mayo sauce. A serving of this roll contains 500 calories (equivalent to a Big Mac.). If you want your sushi to be healthy, stick to sashimi instead. Avoid crunchy sushi rolls, too. They have fried elements that add more calories to each serving.

Trying To Eat Healthier? List Of Superfoods – 50 Clean Eating Superfoods You’ll Want To Eat Now

An array of superfoods arranged on a gray background.
Photo Credit: Tatjana Baibakova and Shutterstock

If you want to bring home your healthiest haul of groceries yet, use this list of 50 superfoods to shop with. Each one comes with a recipe suggestion to get you started.

How To Figure Out What Your Body Needs

A woman writes in her food journal with a plate of food sitting next to her.
Photo Credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.

Sick of not having a clue what your body wants from you? Here’s how to narrow it down in a manageable way.

Reading Labels For Clean Eating

Reading Labels For Clean Eating
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

If you are confused about how to properly read nutrition labels, this guide will help you navigate the numbers and percentages for a better shopping haul.

The Clean Eating 80/20 Rule

The Clean Eating 80/20 Rule
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Maybe you’ve heard of the 80/20 rule. But specifically, how does that apply to the food you eat? Here’s what it means for you personally.

Easy Clean Eating Recipes For Beginners

A wooden box filled with fruits and vegetables.
Photo Credit: Elena Veselova/Shutterstock.

If you are just now starting to try and eat healthier, here is a guide to get started without pulling your hair out in frustration.

This article first appeared on The Gracious Pantry.

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