12 Surprisingly Unhealthy Foods - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on August 24, 2016

12 Surprisingly Unhealthy Foods

12 Surprisingly Unhealthy Foods

Smoothies can be made with high-sugar fruit juice
and the portions can be far larger than you need.

You pay attention to your health. You exercise, and you try to eat right. Sure, you snack, but you always try to make it a healthy option. When you go food shopping, you always seek out healthy options. However, food labels can be sneaky – just because something is “fat-free” or has words like “multi-grain” or “veggie” or “gluten-free” on the packaging doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for you.

Here are 12 “fake healthy” foods that you should avoid if you can help it.

1. Flavored Instant Oatmeal

You’ve been told for years that oatmeal is a healthy way to start the day, and it is. But prepackaged, flavored oatmeal is loaded with sugar and sodium. Avoid it if you can. Instead, try regular rolled or steel cut oats, and add in fresh fruit, some honey or a dash of cinnamon.

2. Bran Muffins

Here’s another on-the-go breakfast staple that you likely consider healthy - after all, bran is good for you, right? While the fiber in a bran muffin is a positive for your diet, a muffin – any muffin – is ostensibly a piece of cake. They’re baked with lots of sugar, flour and fat.

3. Fruit Juice

It’s true that fruit juice contains plenty of vitamins and minerals. The trouble comes when we drink “juice from concentrate” – read that label extra carefully. Fruit juice from concentrate has a lot of sugar in it. If you’re going to drink fruit juice, look for 100 percent fruit juice. Better yet, have a piece of fresh fruit.

4. Processed Turkey

When it’s lunchtime, a turkey sandwich is not a bad option – unless it’s processed lunchmeat. The problem with processed turkey is that it’s filed with sodium. If the turkey is fresh, fine; if not, try another option.

5. Trail Mix / Dried Fruit

Trail mix is a snack made for when you’re hiking – what could be more natural? Unfortunately, most trail mixes are filled with sugary items like banana chips and even candy, as well as salty nuts. Dried fruit is a often a major component of trail mixes – but dried fruit does not have the nutritional value of fresh fruit, and is often coated in sugar.

6. Smoothies

Whether you make smoothies yourself or grab them from a stand or restaurant, smoothies can be sneaky unhealthy. Yes, they typically have fruit or fruit juices, but as mentioned above, fruit juices can be filled with sugar. Additionally, serving sizes are usually humungous, which means you’re getting more calories than you might think. And that peanut butter and chocolate smoothie from your favorite healthy fast food stop? That’s not so good for you.

7. Sandwich Wraps

You might think that a wrap is better for you than two pieces of bread, but that’s debatable. Wraps typically have more calories, saturated fat, and sodium than two slices of whole-grain bread. Be sure to read the label when you’re buying wraps – even if they’re spinach or veggie wraps. Also, what you put on your sandwich matters – a lot of salad dressings and condiments like mayonnaise can increase the calorie count as well as the amount of fat. Tread carefully.

8. Veggie Chips

They’re chips! Even if they’re baked, there isn’t much nutritional value in veggie chips; the actual vegetable content is quite low.

9. Artichoke-Spinach Dip

What could be wrong with this delicious appetizer? After all, it has two really healthy vegetables in it. Of course, most artichoke-spinach dips are made with gobs and gobs of cheese, and then you’re dipping chips, crackers or pita bread into it. That’s a lot of calories, and a lot of fat.

10. Protein Bars and Energy Bars

These are really intended for athletes who are burning a lot of calories. Unless it’s an organic bar, it’s likely highly processed. Read the label – if the bar has more than 200 calories or eight grams of sugar, it’s better to look for a more natural snack or post-workout nosh.

11. Frozen Low Calorie or Diet Dinners

This might seem like an easy way to keep your calorie count low, but most prepackaged frozen dinners are chock full of preservatives and sodium. Eating a frozen diet dinner every night might help you lose some weight, but it won’t make you healthier.

12. Anything Labeled “Fat-Free”

Just because something is labeled fat-free doesn’t mean it’s healthy. For starters, you need to have at least some fat in your diet. Additionally, most fat-free foods are loaded with sugar to help provide flavor.

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