15 Foods You Think are Healthy but Actually Aren’t

Imagine thinking you are eating healthy, only to one day realize you’ve been doing it wrong. A lot of the foods you see at the supermarket are labeled with ‘low fat’, ‘organic’, ‘no added sugar’ etc. but this is all part of marketing. I’ve compiled a list of foods you think are healthy, but actually aren’t upon further investigation.

1. Granola Bars

UNKs hot chocolate pack

First on our list of foods you think are healthy but aren’t, are granola bars. Granola bars can be an easy on the go snack to have, and in some instances provide protein and fibre. However, they are filled with excessive calories, sugar and artificial ingredients. In the words of a nutritionist, “They’re basically cookies masquerading as a health food”.

2. Fruit Juices

Orange Juice, Juice, Vitamins, Drink

While it may seem that fruit juices provide lots of nutrients, they contain just as much sugar (35-45 grams) as a can of soda. It is much better to eat the whole fruit, as it provides you with fiber and sugar is released into the bloodstream at a slower, constant pace. Just drinking the juice spikes your blood sugar levels and leaves you feeling hungry sooner.

3. Dried Fruit

Dried Fruit, Ginger, Fruit, Nutrition

Most dried fruits contain double to triple the amount of sugar than a regular fruit would. Also, since they are reduced in size, it is easy to overeat in a single sitting, resulting in excessive calories and sugar than the recommended amount of 37 grams for men and 25 grams for women.

4. Trail Mix

Dried Fruit, Mixed, Food, Dried Fruit

For the most part, trail mix is considered a healthy snack since it contains nuts and fruits which provide many nutrients. Unfortunately, people aren’t aware that trail mix masks excessive sugar, preservatives and oils. They are often filled with high sugar dried fruits, extra salty nuts, and sometimes even chocolate. This results in a high fat, high sugar and high calorie product, which should be avoided or replaced with another lower calorie healthier alternative.

5. Flavoured Instant Oatmeal

Blueberries, Oats, Oatmeal, Health

A single packet of flavoured oatmeal can contain just as much sugar as your favourite baked good. Quaker’s Maple & Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal contains 12 grams of sugar per packet, while plain instant oats contain no sugar at all. So if you’re thinking of having oatmeal, it is best to have it plain.

6. Canned Fruit

canned pineapple
Source: Shutterstock

While canned fruits may provide similar nutrients to fresh fruits, it’s best to check the nutrition label to see exactly what you’re getting. Canned fruits can contain lower amounts of Vitamin C due to loss of moisture, and can contain less fiber since they are usually peeled. The main thing to watch out for is the syrup that they come in. That can add up to 24 grams of extra sugar and hundreds of calories that you don’t need.

7. Flavoured Yogurt

great value coconut milk chocolate

We all know flavoured yogurt tastes much better than plain yogurt, but it comes at a price. The fruit in flavoured yogurt is added in the form of a puree. Therefore, leading to a much higher sugar content. One container of Yoplait’s strawberry yogurt contains a whopping 19 grams of sugar per serving. Plain yogurt on the other hand, contains only 3 grams of sugar per serving.

8. Veggie Chips

straw chips, straw veggie chips
Source: Shutterstock

For most of us, when we see veggie chips, we think that they would be better than regular potato chips. In reality, they are just as bad and some can be even worse. When the veggie chips are deep fried, it causes them to lose their previous nutritional value. So in the end, it is not much different than eating fried potato chips.

9. Granola

Food, Granola, Bowl, Healthy, Breakfast

Granola may seem healthy, but in reality it is full of sugar coming from honey, white sugar, corn syrup and molasses. So if you’re not careful, you may be taking in more calories than you realize. Your best bet with granola is to choose ones that have low sugar, or better yet, make your own at home. 

10. Low-Fat Salad Dressing

Salad, Dressing, Healthy, Food, Green

Low-fat salad dressings aren’t a better alternative than regular salad dressings. That’s because low-fat dressings usually replace the fat with more sugar and salt. All you need to make a healthy salad dressing is some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and some herbs.

11. Canned Soup

Tomato, Soup, Can, Classic

While canned soup may seem like a great choice, they’re often loaded with a lot of sugar and salt. Some soups can contain up to 16 grams of sugar per cup, as well as 33% of your daily sodium. Yikes!

12. Baked Chips

vegetable chips, chips
Source: Shutterstock

Baked chips are definitely better than deep fried chips, but they’re still one of the foods you think are healthy but aren’t. They’re often quite high in sodium to add more flavour, and not the best option if you’re looking for something healthy to munch on.

13. Diet Soda

Beach, Soda, Diet Coke, Ocean, Sand

Just because diet sodas have no sugar and 0 calories, doesn’t mean they’re healthy. They are highly processed and have high amounts of fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. They also have ingredients that researchers have found to be potentially carcinogenic. So it’s best to steer clear of them and stick to water.

14. Cereal

Cereal, Spoon, Milk, Cheerios, Morning

When shopping for cereal, keep an eye out for how much sugar they contain. Many cereals that seem like they’re healthy (such as whole grain cereals) have quite a bit of sugar added in them. If the label states lower than 8 grams of sugar per serving, then go for it.

15. Frozen Yogurt

Yogurt Bar, Fruit, Summer, Flavor, Cold

Usually, the natural flavour is the healthiest option, but it all depends on how much sugar it contains. Sometimes, frozen yogurt can have as much sugar as ice cream, plus if you load up on toppings the overall sugar content will go up even more.


What do you think?