13 “Healthy” Foods You Should Stop Eating

Last updated on : June 24 2021

healthy foods

Article Summary

To equip you with the best and latest information on foods you should avoid we dug in and did a bit of research. 

This list points out 13 foods that are believed to be heart healthy, lean, and good for your body and in reality - are not so much.

Click on the links below to learn more.


1. Multigrain Bread

2. Energy Bars

3. Salad Dressing

4. Instant Oatmeal

5. Bran Muffins

6. Prepared Salads

7. Dried Fruit

8. Smoothies

9. Frozen Yogurt

10. Sports Drinks

11. Vegetable Chips

12. Pretzels

13. Fat-Free Foods



Are all low-fat, multigrain, vegan, and gluten-free foods healthy? When it comes to “healthy foods” the lines almost always become blurred and largely depend on who you ask. 

With our reliance on social media for insights into the latest “eat clean” movement, it is easy to get caught up in protein shakes, fruit bowls, and smoothies.

More often than not, social media shares and advertisements provide misleading information because they do not give you all the details. Some companies compromise on nutrients while making low-fat products and many gluten-free products come packed with as many calories, preservatives, and sugars as other leading brands.

To equip you with the best and latest information on foods you should avoid we dug in and did a bit of research. 

This list points out 13 foods that are believed to be heart healthy, lean, and good for your body and in reality - are not so much.

1. Multigrain Bread

Fresh baked bread on wooden background

Although the terms ‘7-grain’, ‘whole wheat’ and ‘multigrain’ may appeal to you on the package, it is vital that you know their ingredients. 

These so-called "healthy" bread types may not contain whole grains that are healthy for your heart. Many include refined grains, which means that you are nowhere close to getting the nutritional value of true organic whole grains. 

If you are unsure about a product, check the nutrition label. If bleached flour or refined flour is the first ingredient listed, the bread you are eating is not a 100 percent whole wheat bread.

2. Energy Bars

Homemade granola bars on white baking paper

If you think energy bars are healthy and consume at least two a day - beware. They are not always the healthy snacks that they are purported to be. 

There are quite a few energy bars on the market today full of saturated fats, added sugar, preservatives, and high fructose corn syrup.

What is more, is that most energy bars, especially those used as meal replacements, have more than 350 calories in each of them! 

Therefore, it is a good idea to stop eating the store-bought energy bars, and make your granola bars at home.

3. Salad Dressing

homemade lemon herb dressing

When you are looking to eat more healthy and fresh, salads are often the first thing on your list.

However, if you use ready-made salad dressings available in many grocery stores, your meal may not be as healthy as you think.

It is true that oil-based opaque dressings are healthier than creamy salad dressings. However, when you check the ingredient list, you immediately realize that these dressings contain thickeners, coloring agents, added sugars, additives, and flavor enhancers. 

It is much better to whip up your vinaigrette at home. 

If you don't have time, buy a bottled salad dressing that has less than 300 mg of sodium in 2 tablespoons and a short ingredient list that features only ingredients you understand.

Read MoreAn Overview Of Ghee Clarified Butter & Its Health Benefits

4. Instant Oatmeal

Close-up of oat flakes

Although oatmeal is indeed a healthy whole-grain source of energy, the instant varieties that you buy in stores may not be so good for you. 

Instant oatmeal often contains refined-oats with added sugar and is also low in protein and fiber. 

One of the ways to avoid eating unhealthy instant oatmeal is to read the ingredient list. If the first ingredient is steel cut oats, whole groats, or whole oats, this is the healthier variety of instant oatmeal.

5. Bran Muffins

Ready to eat Bran muffins on a baking tray

The outer layer of grains such as oats, rice, and wheat contains a healthy dosage of vitamins, fiber, low-glycemic carbs, and protein. 

Even though bran is healthy, bran muffins are not. Most store-bought bran muffins have less bran and more wheat flour instead. They also contain lots of sugar, additives, and sodium to counter bran’s tasteless flavor. 

If you want to take full advantage of all the nutrients in bran, bake your bran muffins at home. Because baking at home ensures you have complete control over the ingredients.

6. Prepared Salads

Fresh vegetable salad

If you think going to restaurants and ordering prepared salads means you are eating healthy, think again. Just because the dish says “salad,” does not necessarily mean it is healthy. 

Most restaurants add a lot of dressing to your salads to make them tastier. And, you end up with a mixture that may have more calories than a burger. 

From fiesta salads to chicken salads keeping an eye on the ingredients is your best choice as is asking for dressing on the side.

Read MoreThe Plant-Based Diet: An Introduction To A Vegan Lifestyle And Eating

7. Dried Fruit

Healthy food: mixed dried fruits in wooden bowl

Even though dried fruit may seem like a great snack to munch on, they are not as healthy as you might think.  

Many companies use sulfur dioxide to preserve the freshness of the fruit. What is more, they add a lot of sugar to sweeten the dried fruit, making it more like a candy. 

There is no doubt that dried fruits are a great source of fiber, minerals, and vitamins, however, don't overeat them and watch the preservative and sugar content of your choices.

8. Smoothies

Healthy fruit and vegetable smoothies

Fruit and vegetable smoothies tend to start healthy but quickly transform into a high-calorie delicacy. 

Most cafes and smoothie chains use low-fat dairy and blended juice as a base for their smoothies.

However, it is the ice cream, sherbet, and the added sugar, that transforms a healthy drink into a sugary nightmare.

A smoothie can be a great way to begin your day when you make it at home. Instead of using fruit juice as a base, use almond milk, water, or coconut water – they are healthier alternatives.

And watch your intake - fruit contains a lot of natural sugar, which you want to eat only in moderation. 

9. Frozen Yogurt

Ripe red strawberries and frozen yogurt

Frozen yogurt or colloquially Froyo, is more healthy in natural flavor, in small quantities, and without unhealthy toppings. 

If you choose any other flavor and load it up with lots of toppings, it's as bad as consuming a soda or bottle of fruit punch.

Remember to eat a small rather than a large cup to help you control your serving size and portion.

Read MoreGlycation - How Eating Sugar Ages Your Skin

10. Sports Drinks

Young sport woman with healthy fruit infused drinking bottle water

The journal Obesity published a study showing that people who drank one or more sports drinks every day had more weight gain over a three year period than those who did not.

Sports drinks often contain artificial food coloring and sugar water and are comparable to Kool-Aid.

The only good thing about them are the electrolytes present in them.

However, there are many natural foods and drinks like bananas and coconut water that help restore your electrolyte balance.

So avoid, avoid sports drinks altogether, unless you are doing endurance training or intense workouts, and opt for more natural choices. 

11. Vegetable Chips

Healthy colorful vegetable chips

If you think eating vegetable chips is healthy, then you are mistaken.

There is little healthy vegetable left in these tasty treats after processing into chips. 

Even though they are made from vegetables, they are fried like any other variety of chips. And frying, baking, or cooking vegetables strips them of their nutrients. 

In the end, you are eating chips that are artificially flavored, loaded with preservatives, and colored to taste and look like a vegetable.

So, either make baked vegetable chips instead or eat your vegetables raw.

12. Pretzels

Pretzels on wooden table

You might think pretzels are a healthy snack. However, they have no nutritional value. 

They may be fat-free, but they contain high quantities of white flour, which converts to sugar once it enters the body. 

It is also true that they are low in calories, but they are too little in vitamins, protein, minerals, and fiber. And this is why you still feel hungry after eating an entire packet of pretzels. 

Additionally, pretzels are exceptionally high in sodium. If you are craving something salty, eat a handful of nuts instead.

13. Fat-Free Foods

FAT FREE stamp seal watermark with distress style

It is essential to realize that fat-free does not necessarily mean calorie-free, or healthy. 

A recent study in the United Kingdom showed that foods that claim to be fat-free contain 40 percent more sugar and 10 percent more calories than regular food products. 

Fats are responsible for adding flavor to any food, and when removed, leave food tasteless. So, companies add sugar and additional flavoring to make up for the lack of fats. 

And just because food does not have any fat content, does not automatically make it healthy. So check levels of sodium, minerals, fiber, vitamins, and of course, calories when eating fat-free foods.  


In today’s day and age, it is imperative that you check all the information you get via social media and advertisements. Just because an ad or recommendation says a particular food product is healthy, does not mean it is. Do your research before making any changes in your diet. 

Avoid these 13 foods to start, and you are well on your way to a better healthy and natural diet.

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