Food EducationHealth

10 Foods You Thought Were Healthy, But Aren’t

You have been eating foods you thought were healthy, but are they really all that good for you? Perhaps you have talked to some doctors, friends, or even did some research online. The number of processed foods you have bought has steadily declined, but you still don’t feel your optimal best.

A lot of products that have been advertised as being “healthy” are actually sabotaging your health and overall well-being. These products contain GMOs, chemical fillers, colourings, high sodium and refined sugar content as well as high levels of saturated and trans fat. Getting your health food information from TV or radio talk shows, or relying on your doctor or magazines to tell you what you should be eating probably isn’t your best bet.

Taking responsibility for your own health, and doing your own research is the only way you can be certain that the food you are putting in your body isn’t toxic. Eating fresh, whole foods like organic & local fruit and vegetables is quite simple in this respect because you know what is in your food, and don’t need to put much thought into it (hence, why I like to promote a high raw vegan diet devoid of any and all processed foods).

10 Foods You Thought Were Healthy, But Aren’t

Find out why these perceived “healthy” food choices aren’t as nutritious as you thought:

Prepared Salads

Prepared salads you buy in a store usually aren’t the healthiest option. These are often hidden with low-quality, artery-clogging fats like mayonnaise and rancid oils. Choosing to make your own salads from scratch doesn’t require much more work, and you will be saving both your waistline and wallet.

Pre-made Smoothies

Not all smoothies are created equal. Just because it is labelled as a “smoothie,” doesn’t necessarily mean it is healthy. A lot of smoothies are loaded with refined sugar, fat, un-necessary extra calories and other unhealthy chemical-related ingredients, which, instead of making you healthier, are actually sabotaging your health. It is much cheaper and easier to make your own smoothie in the morning and bring it with you instead of buying a smoothie on the go.

Trail Mix

That trail mix you thought was oh-so-healthy is actually oh-so-deceiving. If you are buying these pre-mixed and bulk, you will often find ingredients like high-fat peanuts, chocolate (such as M&Ms), dried fruit with added sulphites (preservative), and some other type of nut which are probably rancid (nuts and seeds that sit for awhile tend to go rancid quickly on shelves, but grocers still sell them). Instead, when you want a snack, grab some fresh fruit or vegetables, or make your own trail mix from scratch by making a mix of goji berries, chia seeds, pumpkin & sunflower seeds, organic raisins, un-sulphured coconut flakes and cacao nibs. 

“Low-Calorie” Frozen Dinners

These range from things like Lean Cuisine and Weight Watchers frozen dinners. These products are loaded with sugar, chemical preservatives, exceedingly high levels of sodium and provide less nutrition than wallpaper (I can make a joke, right?). If you are pressed for time, don’t sacrifice your health by popping a meal in the microwave and having it ready in under 5 minutes – instead, make a solid meal plan that you can stick to. That way you won’t need to resort to these excuses for “food.”

Energy/Granola Bars

A lot of the energy and granola bars sold in grocery stores and even health food stores are filled with high fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, and artery-clogging saturated and/or trans fat. It is much healthier to make your own batch of granola bars at home, such as this raw granola bar recipe. If you make a large enough batch and stick them in the freezer, they will last a lot longer, save you time and money.

Store Bought Muffins

A lot of people think that muffins are a healthy breakfast or snack option – think again! If you haven’t prepared them yourself, chances are they are loaded with refined sugar, colouring agents, chemical flavourings and lots of saturated fat and high sodium levels (some rack up at 600mg of sodium PER muffin!). If you haven’t noticed, a lot of the muffins found in stores and bakeries today are about 5 times the size of a regular muffin baked at home. Reduced fat muffins aren’t any better because they usually make up for the loss of flavour by adding in more sugar and more synthetic chemicals to make them taste better.

Fat-Free Products

Fat-free processed foods do not ensure weight loss. Fats, in general, provide a feeling of satiety (a sense that we have had enough to eat). Eating fat-free processed foods simply leaves an individual wanting more, eating more, and in the end, consuming more calories than if they had simply gone with the regular version of the fat-free product. Stripping away the fat in these products also leaves them dull and life-less tasting, so to make up for flavour, companies will add sugar, modified chemical ingredients and a bunch of sodium. It isn’t worth it! Eat fresh, whole foods, so you can avoid this mind-ache all together.

Frozen Yogurt

Frozen yogurt is not, by any means, a health food (contrary to what you might have thought!). These blessings in disguise are filled with refined sugar (around 76 grams for 1 16-oz cup!) and contain synthetic hormones as well as naturally occurring hormones which interfere with our own body’s hormone processing.

“Health” Drinks

Sports drinks, vitamin waters, diet drinks or anything of the like should be crossed off your list of foods you thought were healthy. These chemical concoctions are no better than reaching for and drinking your nearest all-purpose cleaner. Often filled with synthetic chemical sweeteners which are confirmed and known to cause cancer, these drinks are a big no-no. Instead, drink young thai coconut water to replenish electrolytes, or just infuse some water with various fruit overnight.

Whole Grain Bread

Are you sucked in by the wording on different bread packages? Perhaps it was the multi-grain lingo or 7-grain heavenly bliss that drew you in. These package labelings do not mean the bread itself is healthy. Make sure you always read the ingredients, or better yet just make your own bread from scratch using a gluten-free flour. Many of the breads out there which are labeled “multi-grain” or “7-grain” and “wheat” are usually made with refined grains, and thus, you are not benefiting from the full nutritional benefit of whole grain. If you see anything labeled as “bleached” or “unbleached enriched wheat flour” you should steer clear.


Popcorn is often viewed as a healthy snack, but it depends on what you’re putting on it, or how you’re cooking it. Most bags of popcorn are saturated with butter, salt, and a variety of other things. And if you’re microwaving it, then you should also be concerned about what lines the bags of your popcorn. Instead, try eating homemade organic popcorn cooked on the stove or air popper.

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