19 Foods You Think Are Healthy But Aren’t

It’s important to read nutrition labels and ingredient lists to make informed choices, as marketing can sometimes lead to misconceptions about the healthiness of certain foods. Opting for whole, unprocessed foods is generally a better approach to maintaining a healthy diet. Watch out for these 19 “healthy” foods.

Energy Bars

Photo Credit: Katarzyna Hurova/Shutterstock.

Most energy bars, despite their nutritional claims, are glorified candy bars. While they can have the added benefit of protein and an energy boost, it is important to check the ingredients to make sure you’re getting what you want out of this snack.

Diet Soda

Photo Credit: Celso Pupo/Shutterstock.

A soda a day can increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer by 40 percent, compared to a man who never touches the stuff, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The artificial sweeteners in diet soda make it worse by fooling your body into thinking you’re eating real food. They cause a spike in insulin sent to regulate your levels because artificial sweeteners are so much sweeter than actual sugar, which can turn into stored fat.

Flavored Instant Oatmeal

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Flavored single-serving packets have added sugar and too many unnecessary calories. The giant tub of instant oatmeal with added fruit and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg will maximize flavor without minimizing any health benefits. Steel-cut oats are even better, if you have the time; they provide long-lasting energy, help promote weight loss, and lower your risk of heart disease.

Bran Muffins

Photo Credit: MariaKovaleva/Shutterstock.

Bran is the outer layer of grains like wheat, rice, and oats that offers a healthy dose of fiber, protein, vitamins, and low-glycemic carbs. Store-bought muffins are often loaded with sodium and sugar to combat the dry, tasteless flavor of bran. Bake your own at home to control the ingredients and portion size.

Packaged Turkey

Photo Credit: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock.

Packaged deli meats are often loaded with sodium and preservatives, making the healthy-sounding turkey sandwich a recipe for high blood pressure. Making your own turkey sandwiches with a fresh turkey breast makes for a healthy and economical option. If you have to go to the deli aisle, look for a brand with less than 350 mg of sodium per 2 oz. serving.

Dried Fruit

Photo Credit: vitals/Shutterstock.

Dried fruit seems like a healthy snack, but companies use sulfur dioxide to preserve freshness and add sugar to sweeten the flavor (cranberries and pineapple are among the worst), making dried fruit more like candy. They can still be a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but you have to be mindful of how many you eat.


Photo Credit: stockcreations/Shutterstock.

A 12-inch wrap can pack twice the amount of calories as plain old bread. Spinach, tomato, and whole grain wraps don’t contain nearly as many veggies and whole grains as you’d think, and they’ve got additional coloring and flavoring.


Photo Credit: FoodAndPhoto/Shutterstock.

They’re fat-free, but pretzels don’t have any nutritional value. They’re made with white flour, which quickly converts to sugar in your body, spiking blood sugar and causing your hunger levels to rise.

Low-Fat Milk

Photo Credit: Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock.

When you drink fat-free milk, you may think it’s healthier than whole milk because it’s low fat, but you’re also stripping away essential vitamins. Skim milk is fortified with synthetic vitamins in an attempt to replace the protein and calcium lost in processing. Overall, there’s really little benefit to buying fat-free dairy products.

Veggie Chips

Photo Credit: Tatjana Baibakova/Shutterstock.

Veggie chips are just potato chips with added veggie powder for color. Enjoy a handful of whatever chips you enjoy because eating what you want instead of perceived ‘healthier-for-you’ alternatives is better in the long run. At least you’ll know what you’re having isn’t healthy, and keep the portions down.


Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Cereals are high in sugar and low in fiber and protein, making them a poor breakfast option. Lightly sweetened grain cereal, like Cheerios, is a decent option if you must have a bowl in the morning.

Low-Fat Salad Dressings

Photo Credit: ValeStock/Shutterstock.

Low fat rarely means better. Low fat implies the omission of healthy fats, which in salad dressing usually means olive oil. On top of that, non-fat salad dressings often contain added sugars as a fat substitute.

Rice Cakes

Photo Credit: HandmadePictures/Shutterstock.

Rice cakes are a top choice for many looking for a healthy snack. However, they tend to be higher in sodium than regular bread, so opt for lower-sodium picks if you consume them often. Health says, “Rice cakes with added sugar have ‘empty calories,’ which lack fiber, minerals, and nutrients.”

Sports Drinks

Photo Credit: Patcharaporn Puttipon4289/Shutterstock.

Sports drinks are a lot like Kool-Aid—they’re just sugar water and artificial food coloring, according to Men’s Health. The best thing they offer are electrolytes, which are easily restored with natural foods and drinks like coconut water and bananas. Individuals who drink one or more sports drinks every day gain more weight over three years than those who don’t.

Microwave Popcorn

Photo Credit: Luca Santilli/Shutterstock.

Plain popcorn can be a wonderful, high-fiber snack. Microwave popcorn, on the other hand, can have high levels of added salt and even chemicals. Pre-packaged popcorn can also be loaded with added ingredients such as drizzled chocolate or salt-heavy seasonings.

Pre-Made Smoothie Mixes

Photo Credit: The Image Party/Shutterstock.

Smoothies can be a healthy food, but ready-to-eat alternatives are not that healthy. Bottled and processed smoothies can contain added ingredients, such as preservatives, sugars, or sugar substitutes. Opt for making smoothies at home or getting high-veggie ones at the smoothie shop.

Plant-Based Beverages and Burgers

Photo Credit: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock.

Burgers and beverages that are free of meat and made with plants can certainly be healthier options. However, many are bulked up with fillers that make them low in protein and high in preservatives. Be sure to check the label for additives and other unnecessary ingredients. Never assume plant-based means healthier, and take a peep at the label, says Plenish. “Plant-based milks can also be bad if they contain emulsifiers, carrageenan, added sugars, and other additives.”

Pre-Packaged Salads

Photo Credit: GUNDAM_Ai/Shutterstock.

Salads are generally considered a healthy food. However, pre-packaged versions can be unhealthy, especially when loaded with fat-filled dressings. Pre-made kits and mixes can be covered in preservatives to prevent spoilage, undermining their overall nutritional value.

Flavored Yogurt

Photo Credit: rsooll/Shutterstock.

Flavored or sweetened yogurts can be high in sugar and low in protein. Some fruit yogurts contain as much added sugar as a scoop of ice cream. Instead, opt for plain yogurt, either regular or Greek, and add your own fruit.

Read More: 17 of the Most Dangerous Cities in the World (6 Are in The US)

Photo Credit: Kevin Ruck/Shutterstock.

Every city has its dangers, but it goes without saying that some places are far more dangerous than others. We’ve compiled a list of 17 of the most dangerous cities in the world in terms of violent crime and homicide rates.

17 of the Most Dangerous Cities in the World (6 Are in The US)

17 Non-Negotiables Men of Integrity Refuse to Compromise On

Photo Credit: StockLite/Shutterstock.

A man with integrity has strong moral principles—there are just some things that he would never do. In this article, we’ll find out the top 17 things that damage a man’s integrity.

17 Non-Negotiables Men of Integrity Refuse to Compromise On

17 Things You Should Never Carry in Your Wallet

Photo Credit: Nicoleta Ionescu/Shutterstock.

Let’s be real — when was the last time you went through your wallet and got rid of anything unnecessary? It’s important to know if you’re carrying items with you every day that could put you at risk. Click to discover the 17 things you should never keep in your wallet, helping you minimize the risk of identity theft, financial loss, and other issues.

17 Things You Should Never Carry in Your Wallet

18 Old School Habits That Are Making a Comeback

Photo Credit: insta_photos/Shutterstock.

Old school habits are starting to make a comeback. These can be hobbies associated with the older generation, such as sewing or woodworking. It can also be old-school manners, such as writing thank-you notes and opening doors for people. Let’s look at 18 of these habits.

18 Old School Habits That Are Making a Comeback

18 American Phrases That Non-Americans Struggle to Understand

Photo Credit: michaeljung/Shutterstock.

American expressions are a vital part of its culture, reflecting the nation’s history and values. However, these sayings can sometimes puzzle people from other countries because they often carry context, colloquialisms, and historical references that can lose their intended meaning when crossing borders. Let’s look at 18 of such American sayings.

18 American Phrases That Non-Americans Struggle to Understand