15 Health Foods That Are Really Unhealthy Foods

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I often see people I work with making the mistake of thinking that these 15 foods I go through below are healthy! They are anything but healthy and so I wanted to myth bust for you some of these supposed “health foods” 

Here are my Top 15 Health Foods That Are Actually Unhealthy Foods

unhealthy foods

1. Whole Wheat or Multigrain Bread

There are lots of foods out there that label themselves as “wholegrain” or “mutli-grain” in order to make them sound healthy. However I’m sorry to tell you there is often very little difference between the white breads and the whole grain bread! Check the ingredients list of any bread you are going to buy as a lot of the supermarket breads available are full of processed vegetable oils and sugar and are not healthy! If you are going to eat bread then looking for whole grain sprouted bread such as Ezekiel bread and always check ingredients lists for added sugar.

2. Granola & Other “Healthy Breakfast Cereals”

Homemade granola can be a really healthy and tasty breakfast option however most of the granola options on your supermarket shelves are very different. Some bowls of granola can have more sugar than a can of coke and this goes for a lot of other packaged cereals available today too. Check your ingredients list for added sugars and also words like toasted or crunchy as this usually means that the grains have been cooked in rancid vegetable oils. Stick to homemade granola using nuts, seeds & berries, whole grain oats, quinoa porridge or chia pudding as alternative breakfast options to packaged cereals.

unhealthy foods

3. Fruit Juice

Fruit juice is often thought of as the healthy alternative to soda however did you know that fruit juice usually contains as much sugar as sodas? It may contain a few more vitamins and minerals but this doesn’t start to make up for the amount of sugar and it lacks the fiber it had in its original form. It’s hard to eat 3 or 4 apples but it is easy to consume the sugar in double the amount of apples when juiced. Stick to whole fruit and skip the juice!

4. Smoothies

I often start the day with an energy-boosting smoothie and it can be an amazing breakfast option. If you want to see what Dr Accruso adds to his smoothie, check out this video. But many pre-packaged smoothie options again are loaded with sugar and are not a source of sustained energy! Instead go for a homemade smoothie that includes some healthy fats such as coconut oil, avocado or chia seeds and add in some healthy protein powder too. Choose low glycemic fruits such as blueberries along with some almond or coconut milk and you have yourself a filling and satisfying smoothie without the sugar induced energy ups and downs!

5. Vegetable Oil

Regardless of the  name “vegetable” oil, these oils are In no way healthy! Many studies have shown that the composition of the fatty acids in processed vegetable oils are leading to physiological changes in our bodies that then may lead to disease. And processed foods are loaded with these oils. Avoid ingredients such as soybean oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil and safflower oil and instead go for extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil.

6. Dried Fruit & Trail Mix

Trail mix has made a name for itself as a healthy snack however most trail mixes are full of low quality ingredients, sugar and processed vegetable oils. Let along chocolates such as smarties. Making your own trail mix however is super easy and way more nutritious. Try taking some raw nuts and seeds, add some cacao nibs and goji berries and you have an energy boosting trail mix without all the nasty additives.

7. Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners have been marketed as the go to alternative for those of us wanting to reduce our sugar intake and our waistlines! However, are you still struggling  to shift those pounds? Your diet coke habit could be too blame. Numerous studies have shown that artificial sweeteners can cause cravings, weight gain and have major impacts on your metabolic health. They also have been linked to a range of really scary side effects so if you do need to add a sweetener to help you reduce your sugar consumption then go for softer natural sweeteners such as stevia, raw honey or brown rice syrup.

8. Conventional Meat & Dairy

Hormones and antibiotics are used in most conventionally processed meats and dairy products. The hormones are used to fatten the animals and reduce the time from birth to slaughter but have been linked to increased risks of cancer as well as early onset of puberty in young girls. Antibiotics deplete healthy gut bacteria, which can cause a range of issues in your body. See here for more information on gut health. Make sure you choose grass fed organic meat, free-range chicken & eggs as well as raw organic dairy when possible.

9. Low Carb bars & Protein bars

Low carb fitness bars or protein bars can seem like a great convenient on the go option. But check your ingredient lists! Often these are full of poor quality protein powders like soy protein isolate as well as vegetable oils and artificial sweeteners, flavors and colors! Some of these even have a nutritional profile similar to a snickers bar and probably more chemicals. There are some good ones out there though, check out my article HERE on healthy snacks to choose for my favorite energy bars.

10. Vitamin Water & Sports Drinks

These are often marketed as healthy but again are full of sugar or artificial sweeteners, colors and chemicals. For a hydrating alternative after a workout go for unsweetened coconut water or add a little lemon or lime or a dash of Himalayan pink salt into some water for the same benefit, minus the chemical cocktail.

unhealthy foods

11. Low Fat or Fat Free Packaged Foods

The low fat craze brought with it a whole range of low fat or fat free products that were marketed as the healthy alternative. However to make these products taste good after taking out the fat, companies pumped them full of sugar or artificial flavors and sweeteners or both! Check out why Fat is your friend HERE and always choose the full fat option and watch for added sugar.

12. Granola Bars

There are lots of great recipes for homemade granola bars that can be a great snack option to take to work or give your kids. However many of the packaged options in the supermarket are again full of sugar or other questionable ingredients. Check out some good alternatives to conventional granola bars in this article or make your own using more nourishing nuts, seeds & berries.

13. Salad Dressings & Prepared Salads

I see so many people order salads in a restaurant or salad bar thinking that they are choosing the healthy option. Only to smother it with high sugar or vegetable oil based salad dressings that totally detract from the health benefits of the salad. Always make your own salad dressing where you can or ask for some balsamic vinegar and olive oil at the table and pour your own. Most restaurants will have these if you ask for them.

14. Margarine

Margarine was another product created in the low fat era that should be avoided. Grass fed organic butter is actually really great for your health and I often add it to my smoothies as a source of healthy fats. Don’t be afraid of this healthy fat source and skip the margarine.

15. Gluten Free or Vegan Junk Foods

There are some really great healthy gluten free or vegan foods out there but there are also some that are really just junk food. Don’t think that just because something is labeled gluten free or vegan that it’s healthy! It could be laden with sugar or vegetable oils or artificial flavors or sweeteners so it’s still important to check your ingredients list. Even if its vegan or gluten free!

So What is Healthy?

The best thing you can do for your health is to stick to whole, real foods when possible and eat packaged processed foods sparingly. When you are buying something that has been packaged be a food detective and always check your ingredients lists! A short ingredients list is a good one and watch out for the common offenders like sugar, vegetable oils and artificial sweeteners and flavors. I put together a list of some of our favorite healthy snacks HERE.


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