Part 1: Unhealthy Foods That You May Think are Good for You

unhealthy foods

The folks at Shape came up with a wonderful but lengthy flash-based article called 50 Seemingly Healthy Foods that are Bad for You: Don’t be fooled by misleading health food. I thought that the list of information was practical, and the photos nice, but not compiled into an article that someone could easily skim through and gain the same information, so I have synthesized it here into this list of unhealthy foods.

Below is the list of 50 foods that may seem healthy, but may actually be unhealthy foods for people. I have added, in some cases, some suggestions that I have found to be excellent healthy alternatives!

Unhealthy foods that people think are healthy

POPCORN – High in sodium and the chemical diacetyl. Try popping your own instead.

LIGHT SALAD DRESSING – One of the most deceiving of the unhealthy foods; ingredient list on light salad dressings are long, and they are filled with additives and preservatives, sugar, and sodium. Try a touch of olive oil and apple cider vinegar/balsamic vinegar instead.

TRAIL MIX – Nuts and dried fruit trail mix may have chocolate chips, tons of salt, plus plenty of sugars. These tend to be high-calorie and the fats are unhealthy once the nuts are cooked. Try making your own mix using raw nuts and dried fruits without the sugars and preservatives.

GRANOLA – Sugar and calories abound—500 or more calories even without milk added! Try a low-sugar brand, eat less of it, or consider making your own.

VEGGIE DIP – High calories and loaded with grams of unhealthy fat. The amount of veggies in these dips are laughable. Try dipping raw veggies instead of crackers/chips into homemade dip (like this tzatziki dip) instead, or use this better-for-you recipe.

FAT-FREE – These seem like healthy foods, but don’t get caught in the fat-free trap. For instance, I stopped eating flavored Greek-yogurt because of the immense carbs due to upwards of 18 grams of sugar in each tiny serving.  Instead, buy plain, fat-free Greek yogurt and add your own fruits or flavors.

DRIED FRUIT – Many contain sulfur and sugar (they look and taste like sugarized candy instead of fruit) and are one of the worst culprits for appearing healthy but are really unhealthy foods. Try unsulfured and unsweetened varieties from health food stores.

SOY – Health benefits of soy are enormous, but watch out for the chocolate and vanilla flavored varieties since they are full of sugar. This is like taking something good for you and instantly turning it into one of the unhealthy foods.

ENERGY DRINKS – These are not regulated by the FDA and may not be healthy if packed with sugar, caffeine, or other items, especially if taken often. Consider coconut water (high amounts of potassium and electrolytes) or watermelon, and liquid vitamins, or amino acids for energy and hydration.

SMOOTHIES – Added sugars, high-calorie, chocolate syrup, and full-fat ice cream added in some cases. Make one at home instead!

See Part 2 of this Unhealthy Foods article 

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