Many of the granolas found in your grocery stores are made using butter, vegetable oil and pure sugar. They have earned this badge of health food, and for no real reason. Depending on the brand you buy you will be eating more sugar than traditional cereals per (tiny) serving.
Low fat salad dressing
Low fat sounds healthy right? Wrong. Often when taking out the fats of food, they taste bad or bland. So to counteract this, companies will take the fat and replace it with sugar and sodium and other odd, unnatural preservatives. A lot of vinaigrette dressings have more sugar in them than a mini candy bar per serving!
Buying a green juice at the health store may not be as healthy as it sounds. When juicing fruits and veggies, you’re removing pretty much all of their fiber, which isn’t a good thing. And just how do you think they make that spinach and kale concoction taste remotely appealing? Obviously, they just add in a ton of sugar.
Just because they’re not potatoes doesn’t mean they’re suddenly good for you. Just like regular chips, veggie chips are often deep fried and heavily salted or flavored. Also, because of how thin those veggies are sliced, it makes it hard for them to be counted as one of your five a day.
Gluten free snacks
Gluten free is only that, gluten free. A lot of people think gluten free means the snacks are lower in calories, but that’s not the case at all. Most gluten free products have just as much sugar, or even more, and just as many calories.
Some soups are marketed for weight loss, either due to their lower calories or their veggie content. However, the sodium levels in canned soups are often through the roof. This is because the salt acts as a preservative to keep it as log lasting in the can as possible.
A great way to fuel your muscles or for a boost for marathon runners, but the average person won’t use up all the energy given through sugar. A lot of protein bars contain high fructose corn syrup, which our bodies find incredibly hard to digest, as well as a ton of sugar.
Unless you love the taste, just hydrate with water. A lot of grocery store coconut water lines are flavored and have plenty of sugar added to them to make them taste less watery. Vita Coco’s pineapple flavored coconut water has a whopping 15 grams of sugar per serving.
While greek yogurt may be super good for us, flavored plain yogurt isn’t so much. It’s loaded with artificial colors, fake flavors and so, so much sugar. Some popular grocery store lines can have as much sugar in as ice cream. Stick to plain greek yogurt and flavor with honey or fresh fruit.
A trendy health food, but with a high calorie and sugar label. Acai bowls are never just loaded with the fruity layer, but also topped with peanut butter, granola, nuts, chocolate and more. All these can add up and the average Acai bowl can be well over 800 calories.
Commercially prepared dried fruits aren’t as good for you as you think. Often they get covered with added sugars and a preservative called sulfites, which are a super common food allergy. The sugar in dried fruit is already super high since you can eat more of them in a sitting than fresh fruit.
While they may have less fat by being baked and not deep fried, they also have a ton of sodium. To give ‘healthy’ alternatives a better taste, they are usually given additives that take away more of the healthier benefits. So because you think they’re not that bad, you’ll eat way more than a serving anyway.
Fruit is good for you, but it gets overshadowed by the rest of the ingredients. Parfaits at cafes or restaurants are made to taste and look good, not actually be good for you. Flavored yogurt, sugary granola, nut butters, chocolate nibs etc. take it from a light breakfast to borderline dessert.
Ice cream’s healthier cousin, but is it really that healthy? To make plain yogurt taste better, it has sugar and flavorings added to it, and that’s before the other calorific toppings. One serving of Ben and Jerries Half Baked Froyo has over 30 grams of sugar.
It’s way better to make your smoothies at home. Your average grocery store smoothie has a ton of additives in it to make it more appealing and tastier, but that just means more sugar and calories to get stuck into. Smoothies from fast food places are even worse and can’t really be considered fruit smoothies at all anymore.
Trail mix is simply a mix or chocolate candies, dried fruit and a few nuts. While nuts aren’t necessarily bad for you, they are super high in calories. Mix that in chocolate and dried fruits and not only do you have a sugar bomb, but loads of calories for a tiny handful serving.
Yogurt covered raisins
Ruin the health benefits of raisins by adding a sugary fake yogurt coating. Simple! The coating isn’t technically even yogurt either, so you’re essentially just adding a 30% calorie increase with no health benefits. An ounce serving of yogurt coated raisins has around 19 grams of sugar.
Just hydrate with water. There’s no real benefit to drinking sports drinks, other than maybe the few added electrolytes. But other than that, the sugar and artificial colors are just bad news and are unnecessary when it comes to hydration. Some even have the same sugar levels as regular sodas.
Most restaurant iced teas have more sugar in than the desserts on the menu. It may seem healthy to drink because it’s a lot of water and brewed tea, but the added sugar makes this one of the more unhealthy casual drinks ever. Try brewing your own at home and sweetening with honey or lemon juice.
Spinach is super good for you, but not when mixed with sour cream, cream cheese and salt. Don’t fall for thinking this makes a healthier appetizer at a restaurant, because Applebee’s Spinach and Artichoke dip has a whopping 950 calories. Opt for making your own at home in order to moderate, or replace, the fatty ingredients.
But it has 0 calories? True, but do you know how those artificial sweeteners are affecting you? Food researchers have found that the artificial sweeteners in diet drinks can actually cause the appetite to spike, so you may end up eating more calories than if you drank the regular soda.
A lot of people think that because this cake is made from bananas, it’s no longer a cake. You may get slightly more fiber than eating regular chocolate or vanilla cake, but this is still made up of butter and sugar and whatever fun toppings are added.
Honey roasted nuts
Nuts have healthy fats that are good for heart health, but they often come roasted in many flavors. Honey roasted nuts may sound healthy, but it just means they’ve been tossed in sugary syrups and roasted, and then probably dusted with more sugar. Stick to plain nuts for the health benefits.
People reach for energy drinks when they’re in need of a pick me up, but they can often do more harm than good. Most energy drinks are full of sugar, usually more than your average soda. Pair that with super high caffeine levels, you will absolutely get that energy high, but you’ll also get potentially crippling anxiety, and a way worse crash after.
Breakfast muffins are still just muffins. Bran muffins are labeled as healthier due to their added fiber, and while that is an added benefit, it doesn’t remove the sugar or butter used to make them. Most muffin mixes or coffee shop muffins have well over 20 grams of sugar in total, making any ‘healthy’ associations a triumph of misleading marketing choices.
The word fruit doesn’t really mean much here. Fruit snacks are essentially just gummy candy, with maybe the tiniest % of ‘real fruit juice’. They’re mostly made up of sugar and high fructose corn syrup, and don’t have a single gram of fiber, so you won’t feel full after eating these.
Fast food salads
Don’t be fooled by the lettuce and tomatoes. A lot of fast food salads have the same if not more calories than the average burger. Usually covered in dressings, cheese or fatty meats, the term salad isn’t really accurate for these dishes. Wendy’s Full Taco salad has 690 calories and 1,890 mg of sodium.
This is so much better just made at home. Jar sauces or even bottled tomato sauces contain heaps of added sugar and salt. Mostly to keep them shelf stable, but also to make them taste better coming from a jar. Make yours fresh at home with only a handful of ingredients and no added sugar.
Getting your five a day in is always recommended, but not through fruit cocktail cans. These chopped up fruits are covered in syrup, which just takes away the benefit of eating fruit. Most fruit cocktail cans can have up to 40 grams of sugar in them, way more than sodas.
Egg white omelet
You may think lower calories means better health, but that’s not the case. By taking out the yolks you’re missing out on flavor but also important B12 and vitamin D which are both super vital vitamins for the body. If you want to watch your calories, try one whole egg with added whites.
Whole grain cereals
Whole grains are good additions to your diet as they are fibrous and good for digestion. However, a lot of whole wheat cereals are also packed with sugar, and that means the serving sizes get smaller and are no longer filling. Look for brands with less than eight grams of added sugar per serving.
You aren’t actually saving the calories you think. A lot of wraps have the same or more calories in as two slices of bread. A lot of wraps also lack fiber which means they won’t keep you full for very long, compared to bread. Just buy these for the taste, not health.
Low fat peanut butter
Peanuts are pretty much made up of fat and fiber, so taking away the fat element of peanut butter is taking away the monounsaturated fats that are good for you. To replace this, brands add sugar and salt to improve taste, so you’re best just sticking to regular peanut butter with no added sugar.
Choosing these over tortillas or chips isn’t really making that much of a difference. While they’re not deep fried, they are more often than not covered in butter, sugar, salt and seasonings. Seven of Stacey’s Parmesan garlic herb pita chips have only 20 calories less than the same serving of Doritos Nacho cheese.
If you’re buying a protein shake from a food place or grocery store, look out for the sugar. A lot of protein shakes have a ton of added ingredients in them, and even though alone they are healthy, when added together they just pile on the calories. Bananas, peanut butter, milk, chocolate, all add up.
Organic is a bit of a marketing buzzword. Organic can mean that the food is made without pesticides, but organic chips or candy bars are still full of sugar and fat, and will have the same amount of calories. Organic doesn’t mean healthy, it’s normally used to increase the price of products.
Oats and fruit are healthy, but add sugar, chocolate, peanut butter and syrups, and you have a calorific snack. Granola bars have a health food label for no real reason, just like granola itself. Avoid snacking on these as you won’t get much food for the calories you consume.
Salmon is full of Omega 3 fatty acids which are super good for us, but that can get overshadowed by sweet and calorific sauces. A lot of prepared salmon is marinated or smoked, which isn’t as good as if you cooked it plain or seasoned at home. Many of the sauces are full of sodium or sugar.
Calorie free doesn’t make them healthy. Yale University conducted research on artificial sweeteners and found they can contribute to you eating more calories throughout the day, as they can increase appetite and make you crave ‘real’ sugar. This can still put you a risk of diabetes or obesity.
Instant oatmeal mixes
Oatmeal makes a great filling breakfast, but it’s so much healthier when made with just rolled oats. Instant oatmeal in pots or sachets are always full of additives and sugars or flavorings. Starting your day off with a ton of sugar will just cause you to crash in energy levels faster, and have you reaching for more food.