40 Foods That Are More Unhealthy Than You Might Think

40 Foods That Are More Unhealthy Than You Might Think

Don't be fooled by simple packaging promises like "Low fat", "Low calorie", or "Organic". Just because those words are associated with being "healthy", doesn't mean that they actually are. Below, you'll find 40 various foods that you might have thought were good for you, but really aren't as healthy as you probably think.

1. Vitamin-Enriched Waters

These beverages can be packed with as much sugar as sodas. The added vitamins often don't make up for the high sugar content.

Bottles Of Vitamin Water At The Albert Heijn, Rotterdam-Centrum, Rotterdam (2022) 02 (1)Donald Trung Quoc Don (Chữ Hán: 徵國單) - Wikimedia Commons - © CC BY-SA 4.0 International.(Want to use this image?)Original publication 📤: --Donald Trung 『徵國單』 (No Fake News 💬) (WikiProject Numismatics 💴) (Articles 📚) 21:35, 17 July 2022 (UTC), CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

2. Smoothie Bowls

These colorful bowls often contain a high amount of sugar, especially when topped with granola, honey, or sweetened dried fruits. The calorie content can easily surpass that of a regular meal.

Franziska-Hassler-I03Adwhqkfo-UnsplashPhoto by Franziska Haßler on Unsplash

3. Vegetable Chips 

Just because they're made from vegetables doesn't mean they're healthy. Many vegetable chips are fried and contain just as much fat, if not more, than regular potato chips.

Charlesdeluvio-Ussdmz78Q3E-UnsplashPhoto by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash

4. Diet Sodas

While they may be calorie-free, diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners that some studies suggest might lead to increased appetite and weight gain over time.

Andrew-George-Ex2U1Ym7B3E-UnsplashPhoto by Andrew George on Unsplash


5. Bran Muffins

Many bran muffins, especially store-bought ones, are loaded with sugars and unhealthy fats. Despite their healthy-sounding name, they can be more like a dessert than a nutritious breakfast.

1024Px-Applesauce Oat Bran Muffins (140491213)Photo by J Doll on Wikimedia Commons

6. Pre-packaged Salads

Some store-bought salads come with dressings and toppings that are high in calories, sugars, and unhealthy fats. What seems like a healthy choice can end up being a calorie bomb.

Brooke-Lark-Jupoxxrndca-Unsplash (1)Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

7. Gluten-Free Processed Foods 

Just because it's gluten-free doesn't mean it's healthy. Many gluten-free products are made with refined grains and added sugars.

Toni-Osmundson-Hv24Ojyrvyi-UnsplashPhoto by Toni Osmundson on Unsplash

8. Flavored Yogurts 

While yogurt can be a healthy snack, many flavored versions contain a large amount of added sugars. It's often healthier to buy plain yogurt and add fresh fruit.

Sara-Cervera-4Caipcmvdii-Unsplash (1)Photo by Sara Cervera on Unsplash

9. Energy Drinks 

Loaded with caffeine, sugars, and other stimulants, energy drinks can lead to heart palpitations, high blood pressure, and other health issues.

Eyasu-Etsub-Nixxvzgxpdq-UnsplashPhoto by Eyasu Etsub on Unsplash

10. Restaurant-Style Caesar Salads 

Though it sounds healthy, some Caesar salads can have more calories and fat than a cheeseburger, largely due to the creamy dressing and croutons.

Sjna-Gkqcjvfyaug-UnsplashPhoto by sjna ! on Unsplash


11. Agave Nectar 

Marketed as a natural sweetener, agave nectar has more fructose than regular sugar, which can contribute to insulin resistance when consumed in large amounts.

Agave SyrupPhoto by Sharky78 on Wikimedia Commons

12. Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter

While it has less fat, the missing fat is often replaced by added sugars, making it just as unhealthy, if not more so.

Tetiana-Bykovets-Ht7Zhgt2Uxg-UnsplashPhoto by Tetiana Bykovets on Unsplash

13. Frozen Diet Meals

These convenient meals may be low in calories, but they often contain preservatives, excessive sodium, and other unhealthy additives.

1024Px-Frozen-Tv-Dinner-Top-ViewPhoto by Sir Beluga on Wikimedia Commons

14. Fruit Juices

Even 100% fruit juices can be high in sugar and calories. They lack the fiber found in whole fruits, which can lead to a spike in blood sugar.

Zlatko-Duric-U4Qkdqw84Sg-UnsplashPhoto by Zlatko Đurić on Unsplash

15. Sushi Rolls with Tempura or Creamy Sauces

Not all sushi is created equal. Rolls with tempura, mayonnaise-based sauces, or cream cheese can be very high in calories and unhealthy fats.

Vinicius-Benedit--1Geaa8Q3Wk-Unsplash (1)Photo by Vinicius Benedit on Unsplash

16. "Light" Ice Cream

Some light ice creams have artificial sweeteners and fillers, and they might not save you as many calories as you'd think.

Kenta-Kikuchi-Lz6Btznizd8-UnsplashPhoto by Kenta Kikuchi on Unsplash


17. Trail Mix with Candy

While nuts and seeds are healthy, many trail mixes also contain chocolate chips or candies that increase the sugar and calorie content.

2020-07-13 21 34 05 A Sample Of Goodfield's Mountain Trail Mix In Rochelle Park, Bergen County, New JerseyPhoto by Famartin on Wikimedia Commons

18. Multigrain Bread

The term "multigrain" doesn't necessarily mean whole grain. Some multigrain breads are made with refined grains, which lack essential nutrients.

Wesual-Click-Rswz-P9Fbq4-Unsplash (1)Photo by Wesual Click on Unsplash

19. Instant Oatmeal

Pre-flavored instant oatmeal packets can be loaded with added sugars. It's often healthier to make oatmeal from scratch and add natural sweeteners.

Christian-Wiediger-R1Vy6Aei7By-UnsplashPhoto by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

20. Restaurant Grilled Chicken

While it sounds healthy, grilled chicken at some restaurants can be marinated in sugary or salty solutions, upping the calorie and sodium content significantly.

Nathan-Dumlao-8Uv6Eanqwzy-UnsplashPhoto by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

21. Granola Bars

Many granola bars are packed with added sugars, unhealthy fats, and artificial ingredients. While they might seem like a healthy snack option, they can be as calorie-dense and sugary as candy bars.

Towfiqu-Barbhuiya-Y-Vdi9Vqs3M-Unsplash (1)Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

22. Sports Drinks

Originally designed for athletes, many sports drinks are high in sugars and artificial colors. For the average person, they can contribute to calorie overconsumption.

1024Px-Hk Soft Drink Pre-Packed Plastic Bottles Watsons Water Gatorade July 2017 Ix1Photo by Gee KongLawm via Wikimedia Commons


23. "Healthy" Cereals

Some cereals that advertise health benefits are loaded with sugars and refined grains. Always check the label for the actual nutritional content.

Nyana-Stoica-Ev6C1Ljh1Lk-UnsplashPhoto by Nyana Stoica on Unsplash

24. Store-Bought Turkey Burgers

While turkey can be leaner than beef, many pre-made turkey burgers have added fats and fillers. Making them from scratch can be a healthier alternative.

Engin-Akyurt-1Tmqaxrodlc-UnsplashPhoto by engin akyurt on Unsplash

25. Fat-Free Dressings

These dressings often replace fat with added sugars or artificial ingredients. A moderate amount of a full-fat dressing made with healthy oils might be a better choice.

Suad-Kamardeen-Ts-Ef2Ll5Gg-UnsplashPhoto by Suad Kamardeen on Unsplash

26. Store-Bought Fruit Snacks

Many of these are basically candy with a tiny amount of fruit juice. They can be high in sugars and artificial ingredients.

1024Px-Welch's Fruit Snacks (4239096810)Photo by sweetfixNYC on Wikimedia Commons

27. "Natural" Sodas

Even if they're marketed as natural or organic, these sodas can have just as many calories and sugars as regular ones.

Blake-Wisz-X6Ay J6Jd Y-UnsplashPhoto by Blake Wisz on Unsplash

28. Wraps

People often think wraps are healthier than bread, but many are made with refined grains and can have more calories due to their size and thickness.

Rudy-Dong-T0D5Reefjau-UnsplashPhoto by Rudy Dong on Unsplash

29. Pretzels

Low in fat but high in salt and refined carbohydrates, pretzels are not as healthy as they may seem. They can contribute to rapid blood sugar spikes.

Wesual-Click-Yzhfhv Hiam-UnsplashPhoto by Wesual Click on Unsplash

30. Store-Bought Veggie Burgers

Not all veggie burgers are created equal. Some are packed with processed ingredients, unhealthy oils, and preservatives.

Alexander-Sinn-Adhu6A0Iabs-UnsplashPhoto by Alexander Sinn on Unsplash

31. "Whole Wheat" Products

Just because it says "whole wheat" doesn't guarantee it's made from 100% whole grains. Some products only contain a small percentage of whole wheat.

James-Ahlberg-Q7Z-Ecqvxkw-UnsplashPhoto by James Ahlberg on Unsplash

32. Frozen Yogurt

Often perceived as a healthier alternative to ice cream, frozen yogurt can be high in sugars. Toppings can also add a significant amount of calories.

Alina-Parache--Heunexz Wm-UnsplashPhoto by Alina Parache on Unsplash

33. Bottled Tea Drinks

Many bottled teas are sweetened with sugars or high fructose corn syrup. It's healthier to brew your own tea and sweeten it moderately, if that's what you prefer.

Connor-Dickson-Zgbuqsmryca-UnsplashPhoto by Connor Dickson on Unsplash

34. Rice Cakes

While low in calories, rice cakes are also low in nutrients and can cause a quick spike in blood sugar. They offer little satiety and nutritional value.

Puffed Rice CakesPhoto by BD2412 on Wikimedia Commons

35. Dried Fruit

Drying fruit concentrates its natural sugars, making it very calorie-dense. Some brands also add extra sugars or preservatives.

Ab Food 04Andrew Butko, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

36. Commercially Baked Muffins

Even if they contain fruits or nuts, many store-bought muffins are high in sugars, unhealthy fats, and calories.

Taylor-Grote-Lqkfx2Km1A0-UnsplashPhoto by Taylor Grote on Unsplash

37. "Low-Carb" Snack Bars

Some bars replace carbs with unhealthy fats or artificial sweeteners. Always check the ingredients list for potential unhealthy additives.

Quaker Chewy Granola Bar - Chocolate ChipBrokenSphere, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

38. Organic Cookies

Being organic doesn't necessarily mean being healthy. Many organic cookies are still high in sugars, fats, and calories.

No-Revisions-Rkcwbch10C0-UnsplashPhoto by No Revisions on Unsplash

39. Packaged "Superfoods"

Some snacks labeled as containing superfoods might only have a tiny amount of them. They can still be high in sugars or unhealthy ingredients.

Maddi-Bazzocco-Uhrhtmvbzze-UnsplashPhoto by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

40. Canned Soups

Many canned soups are high in sodium and can contain additives or preservatives. Opting for low-sodium versions or making soup from scratch can be healthier choices.

Deeliver-Rxvpgfoojs0-UnsplashPhoto by Deeliver on Unsplash