12 "Health Foods" to Avoid

Don’t be fooled—these so-called “healthy products” are just examples of junk food.

| July/August 2016

  • canned soup
    Most canned soup contains lots of added sodium. Try making your own for a healthier option.
    Photo by iStock
  • dried fruit
    Natural, no-sugar added dried fruit is a healthy snack option.
    Photo by iStock
  • English muffin
    Store-bought English muffins can often contain refined flours and a high sugar count.
    Photo by iStock
  • healthy foods
    The health of many foods depends upon the details of their ingredients and processing.
    Photo by iStock
  • instant oatmeal
    Instant oatmeal has a higher glycemic index than traditional oatmeal.
    Photo by iStock
  • muffin
    Muffins, particularly the ones in your coffee shop's bakery case, may not be any healthier for you than a cupcake.
    Photo by iStock
  • smoothies
    Be sure to check calorie counts for bottled smoothies, as well as ones available at juice bars.
    Photo by iStock
  • sports drinks
    Make your own recovery drinks without the added sugar found in store-bought drinks.
    Photo by iStock
  • trail mix
    Trail mix often includes unhealthy ingredients along with healthy ones. The best option is to make your own.
    Photo by iStock
  • yogurt
    The sweeter and more colorful a store-bought yogurt is, the less healthy it is.
    Photo by iStock

  • canned soup
  • dried fruit
  • English muffin
  • healthy foods
  • instant oatmeal
  • muffin
  • smoothies
  • sports drinks
  • trail mix
  • yogurt

Healthy eating can be puzzling. Just when you think you have it figured out, a new study comes out to make you rethink your approach. To reduce the confusion, we talked to several dietitians to create this list of foods that are mistakenly thought of as “healthy.” Based on their advice, here are 12 foods to avoid, as well as suggestions for truly healthy alternatives.

1. Smoothies & juices

Green smoothies may be all the rage when it comes to clean eating, but store-bought smoothies and juices are often loaded with sugar—to the tune of 30 grams or more in a single beverage. If you don’t have time to make your own and are looking for convenience, take the advice of dietitian Deborah Orlick Levy with Carrington Farms: “Always read the food label and ingredient list,” Levy says. “You might want to tell yourself that fruit and veggies can’t be that bad for you, but if it’s high in sugar, then it likely also contains additives you don’t want to consume, including food dye.” Make sure to check out sugar and calorie counts for the smoothies made at juice bars or your gym, as well. This same advice can be applied to most bottled juices. You don’t need all that extra sugar. To get the nutrients you need, you’re much better off with fresh whole fruits.

2. Sports drinks

These may contain electrolytes, which can help balance fluids in the body, but that doesn’t mean they’re good for us. They usually have a slew of confusing ingredients, such as sucrose syrup, which is just sugar. You can make your own sports recovery drinks. We like the formula from Wellness Mama, which uses just five simple ingredients. Many people also swear by chocolate milk for sports recovery, which research supports. And don’t forget the best hydration option of all: plain water.



3. Egg whites

The calorie count is definitely low, but that’s because most of the nutritional value in an egg comes from the yolk. Keep your egg intact, and you’ll benefit from vitamins A, D, E, iron, protein and healthy fats—which means a full-egg omelet is going to give you more nutrition, help you stay full longer and feel much more satisfied than that egg-white option in the “healthy” menu section.

4. Yogurt



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