7 Bad Foods Masquerading as Health Foods

7 Bad Foods Masquerading as Health Foods

Fooled You!

Some foods we know are unhealthy. No one is going to be fooled into believing ice cream is healthy or that adding raisins to cookies magically makes them good for you.      

However, some foods, with clever marketing, unreliable or biased research, and a sprinkle of nutritional benefits, are imposing as health food. We are putting food into our body that we think is helping us, that we think is good for us, but is actually doing more harm than good.

Watch out for these 7 health food imposters!


Wheat Bread

Many of you know to stay away from white bread. It offers no nutritional value. Switch to wheat bread and you get all the nutrients you need. Or so you think!

Beware most wheat bread is enriched, which means the nutrients are stripped from the flour then added back later. If the nutrients were added back, then no big deal, right? Wrong! Enriched wheat bread loses some of its fiber and affects blood sugar, raising it much quicker.

Instead, choose 100% whole wheat bread which has more fiber and is lower on the glycemic index.



But you drink juice that has no added sugars so it is healthy. Nice thought, but incorrect. Like with wheat bread, most of the nutrients from fruit are left behind when making juice.    

Instead of drinking a glass of juice, reach for a piece of fruit. Fruit has more fiber which helps the body absorb sugar.



It is no surprise that some cereals are unhealthy. If the cereal is frosted, has marshmallows, or a cartoon character on the box, you know it is bad. But what about the ‘healthy’ cereals with pieces of fruit or whole grains? Yep, they are not much better. They still contain high amounts of sugar and little value.

Try museli or Instead, stick with oatmeal and add fresh fruit for flavor. Don’t eat flavored oatmeal from a box.


Flavored Yogurt

Yogurt is an easy breakfast or snack, just open and enjoy all the wonderful benefits of your strawberry yogurt. It only has anywhere from 10 -18 grams of sugar. Most of which is not from the fruit. That’s more than most ‘unhealthy’ cereals.

Some companies now show added sugar on the nutrition label, so you can see how much sugar is from the fruit and yogurt and how much the company adds. Even vanilla yogurt has added sugars.


Updated Nutrition Label
Photo via The Center for Science in the Public Interest

Instead, eat plain yogurt and mix in the fruit of your choice.    



When you think of granola, you think healthy. Unfortunately, granola has lots of sugar. One of the main ingredients is sugar. Double Whammy if you put granola on your vanilla flavored yogurt.

Instead, make granola at home. It will have sugar but not as much as if you buy it packaged. Sprinkle a small amount of your plain yogurt.  


Trail Mix

Individually, the ingredients in trail mix are not horrible (minus the candy). In moderation, nuts are healthy and dried fruit still has the nutritional benefits of fresh fruit, but in most trail mix the nuts are coated with too much salt and the dried fruit (which is naturally sweet) is covered in sugar.  

Instead, eat an ounce of unsalted nuts and a piece of fresh fruit.   



Cheese has some health benefits, but consuming too much cheese is unhealthy. It contains saturated fat and is high in sodium and calories. In many instances, it is not that cheese is bad but how we eat cheese. Add cheese to pizza, nachos, or crackers and most of the health benefits are canceled.  

Instead, reduce how much cheese you eat. When you eat cheese choose ones that have less fat.


If you are trying to live a healthy lifestyle than avoid or limit how much of these foods you and your family eat.

Pay attention to the nutrition labels and ingredients on packaged foods. Ask yourself why the second ingredient in granola is sugar. Ask why the flour is enriched. Look for healthier alternatives or find recipes where you control the levels of sodium and sugar.  

Don’t be fooled by the flashy marketing and the healthy sounding words on these products.


Happy Healthy Eating!


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John is a husband, father and teacher. His passion is to help fathers raise their children by sharing his own experiences while following a biblical worldview. Master Lego builder and tea party host. The greatest, most rewarding role a man can have is that of a father.

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