11 Mainstream Foods You Think Are Healthy

11 Mainstream Foods You Think Are Healthy

You are bombarded.  I get it.  With a 1,000 other things going on in your life, I’m here to make it simple.  In this post, we’ll eliminate the decision fatigue that comes along with trying to figure out what is healthy and what isn’t.  These are the most common foods thought to be healthy but are actually terrible for you.  Short, simple and to the point as to why you need to rid of these foods from your life.

11 mainstream foods you think are healthy:

1. Yogurt

Don’t fall for this trap. Just because it’s packaged in a way where it looks healthy, with vibrant colors and fresh fruit on the front, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. In fact, many flavored yogurts have upwards of 15 grams of sugar in that tiny 6-ounce serving! My advice? Skip it all together, it’s not worth it.

2. Juice

All fruit juices are terrible. Even the ones that are 100%.  The juice is extracted and pressed from the fresh fruit and then packaged for a while before arriving on the shelves.  During this process, the juice loses much of it’s flavor so manufacturers have to pump “flavor” back into the juice.  This “flavor” is mostly sugar.  Additionally, juices contain very little to no fiber which is such a critical factor when eating fruit. The bottom line is that fruit juices aren’t healthy, stay away from them

3.  Granola Bars

People still eat these? C’mon man.  These are glorified candy bars.  Stop kidding yourself and thinking that these are “healthy”.    A lot of the granola bars out there today are sneaky sugar traps that many fall for.

4. Frozen Yogurt

Places like Yogurtland have done an excellent job with their marketing.  You’ll see ads and posters up that claim frozen yogurt is an excellent source of vitamins and protein.  It’s hardly the truth.  Frozen yogurt as a treat is cool, but when you’re walking out of there with a large cup filled to the brim with tons of toppings multiple times a week,  you need to calm down.  Frozen yogurt is NOT A HEALTH FOOD by any means.

5. Diet Soda

In this post, I look into diet soda in depth and challenge the question “Does diet soda make you fat?”.  More research is showing that those who drink diet soda regularly often have behaviors that lend to obesity, type 2 diabetes and overall poor health.  Artificial sweeteners are also being identified to alter insulin levels negatively now too.  Diet soda (and most soda’s) contain caffeine, and when consumed regularly can fry your adrenal glands causing chronic fatigue.

6. Energy Drinks

The energy drink market is a big money market, and where there is big money to be made especially in the food industry, health will take a backseat to profit.  Many energy drinks promise to “give you wings”, incredible energy and killer workouts.  That’s partially true.  The downside is that you are so over stimulated during the high you feel like you can run through a wall, then it’s followed by a crash which leaves you wanting to curl up in the fetal position and nap for the rest of the day.   It’s easy to become addicted to energy drinks because of the ‘superman’ high you get, but then after a while you literally become reliant on this drink for energy and without it you slug around with low energy.  Energy drinks aren’t regulated by the FDA (I don’t know how much that matters) so these companies have the flexibility to add all kinds of things we can’t pronounce to the drink.

7. Fish

Farmed fish are raised in much the same environment as factory farmed animals. In this post about bacon we look at the factory farmed environment in depth.  Similarly to pigs, factory farmed fish are crammed into small spaces and have to survive in disgusting environments. The feces that they live in lead to constant outbreaks of parasites and disease. In order to keep the fish alive in such unhealthy conditions, large quantities of antibiotics and other chemicals are poured into the water.  In addition to less than perfect living conditions, farmed fish are fed all of the foods that cause the most damage in humans:  junk grains, soy meal, corn gluten meal, chemicals and neurotoxins.

 8. Low Fat Muffins

Low fat muffins look delicious, especially when they flirt and call your name when you’re paying for your drink at the coffee shop right?  Well, think twice before you add that muffin to your coffee next time. The low fat muffins are far from healthy.   In fact, when most manufacturers take fat out, they have to replace it with something to make up for the lack of taste. And that something is usually sugar.  In fact, a low fat muffin can have ~50g of carbs, ~30g of sugar and nearly ~400 calories.  These are all empty nutrients and the energy you get from the sugar rush is temporary, soon enough, probably around 2pm you’ll be wanting to take a nap.

9. Fruit Cocktail and Canned Fruit

Fruit is healthy, right?  Yes.  But hold on a second before you peel back that can of fruit cocktail. Most fruit cocktails and canned fruit are made with a sugary syrup that does nothing but drive the calories up without adding any nutritional value. Instead grab some fresh whole fruit, the added fiber will slow the sugar digestion as well!

10. Sports Drinks

Don’t be fooled by misleading labels: sports drinks are little more than flavored water mixed with sugar and electrolytes. Sports drinks are ideal for workouts that go for several hours and for professional athletes working out several times a day.  If you’re just a person looking to improve overall health and maintain good body composition, sipping on water, BCAA’s (branch chain amino acids), or zero sugar sports drinks are a far better choice.

11. Soy

Soy milk and tofu have become increasingly popular lately as substitutes for dairy and meat.   The effort is praiseworthy, yet, in my opinion soy isn’t any better.  More research is showing the negative impacts soy has on the human body.  Things like thyroid dysfunctiondigestive stress and immune system breakdown.  We personally limit or completely stay away from soy even though various research shows conflicting information.  We like to keep our nutrition sourced from whole food plant based sources that are minimally processed or in it’s most natural form.

So what did you think?  Are any of these foods making it into your daily nutrition? If so, and you need some help on suggestions, feel free to leave me a comment or email me at [email protected] and I’d be happy to guide you in the right direction.

Photo – shutterstock.com

Brian McFadden

Brian is a practical minimalist and plant based eater. He writes about health, happiness and simple living. If you’re into that kind of stuff, you should sign up for his no spam, gimmick free newsletter and follow him on twitter [email protected]_brianmcfadden.