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Healthy Eating: Top 10 Unhealthy Foods That You Think Are Diet Friendly

Updated on April 9, 2017

Are you being fooled?

Many foods that you find are unhealthy that you would think were healthy.

Lots of packages have buzz words like "fat free", "high in fiber", "sugar free" and "low fat" -- but what are they putting into those foods and drinks to make them tolerable to taste in place of natural fat and natural sugar? Artificial sweeteners? Loads of sodium?

What about those foods that are actually nutritious if you use restraint and moderation? Too bad those are the exact foods that are hard to stick to small quantities and not overindulge.

Then we have those tricky little treats that are definitely healthier than junk food, and are actually designed with the intent to be a replacement for the junk food, but still are severely lacking in the nutrition department.

Unhealthy health foods fool people everyday so learn to read your labels!


Diet Busters

Before we address these healthy wannabes, lets first take a look at the list of unhealthy foods lurking in your everyday shopping cart that can absolutely ruin your diet.

  • Vegetable Oils
  • Pasta - Empty carbs, barely any fiber, no vitamins or minerals.
  • White Bread
  • Fruit Juice - Lots of sugar - eat the fruit itself to get the fiber from pulp to counterbalance the sugar within.
  • Ketchup - Loads of salt and sugar - enough said.

  • Soup Mix - really didn't think that your favorite top ramen noodle or Maruchan ramen was going to be healthy did you? Salt, salt and more salt!
  • Processed cheese - you could easily reach and exceed your daily salt intake limit with just 2-3 slices of cheese.
  • Peanuts - Sure, they have vitamins and minerals but they are loaded with lots of unsaturated fatty acids such as omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are supposed to be good (we're encouraged to eat salmon and tuna, right?), but if the ratio between the two are distorted and lean heavy on the omega-6 fatty acid side then you're barking up heart disease and diabetes alley.

Clean Up Your Diet

We all know that there are many foods out there that are unhealthy for our bodies.

There is another list circulating of the top unhealthy foods that seem healthy, but no one really flips over the food packages to the label and thoroughly examines those whole food store goodies.


1. Fat Free Yogurt

Just because it says fat free does not mean it's a healthy food!

They replace that fat with something to make it tasty. Many yogurts are packed full of sugar - 15-20 grams of sugar in 6 oz easily. Greek yogurt is a better alternative (in moderation).

2. Dried Apricots

“Eating any dried fruit can be a conundrum,” says registered dietitian Kim Arrey. “Dried fruits are so nutritious and dense in vitamins, but they’re concentrated in calories,” she says. “For instance, I could probably eat two apricots, but if I eat the dried halves, I could easily eat six or eight of them.”

Did you know that dentists have put out warnings against snacking on dried fruits on their own, but advising to include them in meals to keep them from clinging to the tooth's surface and causing unwanted cavities.

Dried fruit in general is not very good for you, and it is best to stick with fresh fruits for snacks and at meals. If you MUST consume dried fruits, try to couple it with something like cereal so that you use moderation.


3. Cream Cheese

Many eat cream cheese on bagels for a wholesome breakfast, or on crackers for a tasty snack - I personally love to put them on cucumbers, but as it would turn out... cream cheese is not as healthy as it seems - even if you go light.

Lacking in protein in calcium, cream cheese is high in fat - and the light cream cheese doesn't do much nutritional justice for you either but cut some calories and fat, but still fails to provide the protein and calcium.

Cream Cheese dill, crab dip
Cream Cheese dill, crab dip | Source

4. Sports Drinks

Sports drinks can contain 130 calories or more in a 20 oz bottle -- and most sports drinks come in those mega bottles that are 24 ounces and higher.

Working out or not, nothing is going to beat the pure and clean hydration of clear, plain water - and get this, it's a calorie free beverage!


5. Smoothies

Smoothies start with healthy intentions - even from coffee bars and smoothie booths in the mall.

Blended fruits like strawberries, peaches, bananas, and mango with low-fat dairy is great, but when you take them at the large serving sizes provided by a nation set on "bigger is better" (smallest size being 16oz), and throw in extra sugar, ice cream and sherbet, you're in a mess.

Once you take on the mammoth sizes of these smoothies and the additives you might end up drinking a smoothie that runs 500-600 calories.

There are healthy smoothies out there, and you can find them, but you have to be careful to keep track of what you're putting into your body - or make your own!

Cranberry Lemon Muffins
Cranberry Lemon Muffins | Source

6. Muffins

“Most muffins are cakes in a dress,” says registered dietitian Kim Arrey - in reference to the cut little paper cups they bake in.

There are muffins out there, those mammoth breakfast muffins, that reach and exceed 800 calories - and those are just the muffins people want when they opt for a quick breakfast but want to remain "healthy".

Make sure you do yourself some justice and bake your own breakfast muffins using healthy recipes like these:


7. Deli Salads or Packaged Salads

Just because it's a salad doesn't mean it is healthy. Portion size plays a huge role.

Getting salads from the deli that are already prepared such as tuna salad, ham salad or chicken salad are filled with fats and calories because of the diet busting mayonnaise.

If you must have a prepared salad like tuna salad, ham salad sandwich and chicken salad wrap ask for low fat mayonnaise and put half of it in a doggy-bag.

Then there are the salads that have mushrooms, olives, onion, cucumber and all the other healthy goodies. However, when you get one with marinated meats like chicken and ham, loaded with cheese and paired with a boiled egg the calorie count begins to rise.

To add insult to injury, they give you a large pack of salad dressing that is usually creamy and loaded with fat, sodium and more calories that are even contained in the salad itself!

Skip the deli sandwiches, wraps, calzones, and gooey, creamy salads and buy some fresh produce and make your own at home.


8. Packaged Meats

Turkey and chicken are great sources of lean protein but if you're buying the prepackaged stuff you are probably adding too much unnecessary sodium to your daily diet.

Either buy low sodium varieties, smoked or roasted from your local deli, or roast your own chicken and turkey and slice it yourself.


9. Diet Soda

When it comes to diet soda, here are your pitfalls:

  • Caffeine
    - leads to hyperactivity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar.
  • Carcinogenic artificial sweeteners.
    - tricks your body into thinking it is going to get sugar and when it doesn't? Bad things happen.
  • Artificial flavors.
  • Artificial colors.
  • Bloating and intestinal upset definitely can come with diet sodas.

It's a no brainer really.

While it is a sugar free version of your unhealthy favorites... just what are you trading that sugar for?


10. Bottled Salad Dressing

Labels, labels, labels!! Preservatives, fillers, sodium and hydrogenated fats are lurking in that bottle of delicious salad dressing.

Creamy dressing is usually the culprit for this calorie pitfall. For example, I have seen some ranch dressings net 135 calories for 2 tablespoons! Let's not forget the 12-15g of fat, 3-4g of saturated fat, and the close to 400mg of sodium.

Ditch the creamy dressing and get some extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juices, balsamic vinegar and seasoning and use that to give your salads a kick with your own homemade dressing.

Don't Forget to Teach Kids Early to Eat Healthy - Cookie Monster



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    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      3 years ago from Sunny Florida

      These are great tips. I am trying to eat healthier.

    • nonaweeks profile image

      Nona Weeks 

      4 years ago from Florissant, CO

      This is great tips and info. Thank you for sharing. I keep trying to eat healthy, but things happen that I eat way too much. I think realizing some of these things are not so healthy could help me. Thank you again.

    • Neinahpets profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Canada

      Thank you very much sarifearnbd!


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