Everyone wants to eat healthier, right? Sure you do. And there are always those basic health rules that everyone follows: fruits and veggies, exercise, avoiding too much sugar, etc. But sometimes it’s not always clear what foods are REALLY healthy and which ones aren’t. That’s why we rounded up 10 of the most common “healthy foods” that actually are much worse for you than you think. Is your favorite on the list?
1. Fruit Juice
Yes, it’s made from fruit which has great nutrition. But storebought juice has something else: LOTS OF SUGAR. Once cup of juice can have as much as 24 grams of sugar. If you make your own juice or smoothies you can keep sugar out, but just skip the prepared stuff.
2. Frozen yogurt
It might not quite be as popular as it used to be, but froyo is still pretty common – and sorry to say, almost as bad as actual ice cream. Extra sugar is usually added in to cover the naturally tart taste of yogurt, and a half-cup serving can have as much as 14 grams of sugar. So if you want to splurge, just have the ice cream.
Flickr user MattHurst
3. Canned soup
That can’t be right, can it? Unfortunately, it can. To improve the taste, a lot of extra sodium is often added to canned soup, which kind of knocks out any chance for actual nutrition. So if you’re dying for that chicken noodle stuff, don’t go overboard.
4. Skim milk
You’ve probably heard this one before, but skim milk, while technically fewer calories, is made by taking out all the actual nutrition that makes milk good for you. Kind of ironic, right? So just skip the fat-free stuff and go with regular.
5. Packaged deli meat
Yes, buying packaged deli meat means you can find “low-fat” options, but pre-packaged deli meat is preserved with nasty nitrates to keep it from going bad- not to mention a ton of extra sodium.
6. Protein powder
Sure, protein powder is an easy way to add more protein to other foods like smoothies or yogurt – but protein powder is often highly processed and affects the taste of the food you add it to. It’s also easy to actually get too MUCH protein with the pre-made powder, which is bad for your kidneys.
7. Microwave popcorn
Popcorn can’t be that bad, right? Well, that’s true except for the fact that pre-packaged popcorn can have insane amounts of butter and oil, and it’s often not listed on the package. However, there’s a silver lining: Natural popcorn like this Himalayan Sea Salt Popcorn by Buddha Bowl is way better because there’s often far less added fat and salt.
8. Bottled tea
Similar to juice, bottled tea can fool you into thinking it’s healthy when it in fact is much less pure than if you just made your own tea. Bottled tea often has tons of sugar (even though it might be labeled as low-calorie) so you’re better off just bringing your own.
9. Rice Cakes
Sure, they’re low in fat, and salt, and sugar, and anything bad for you. But rice cakes are so…empty, they don’t really fill you up as a snack should so they’re way more likely to lead you to eat something else later on. Kind of beside the point, right?
10. Energy Drinks
Yeesh, there’s not much that’s good about these…except they definitely will give you energy. But that’s likely because of the sugar and chemicals added in to make them taste good. If you need more energy, try one of these high-energy (and healthier) snacks instead.
What other health foods should people watch out for? Tell us in the comments below!