woman looking at food label in grocery store

It seems like everyday we are being told about a new superfood that claims to offer this benefit or that. We’re told to avoid certain foods and eat more of others, while food manufacturers are coming out with product after product that is aimed at promoting our health. With all these healthy foods to choose from, it can be overwhelming to figure out what’s actually good for us and what’s not.

Because the truth is, a lot of “healthy” food is labeled and marketed as such, but when it comes down to it, these foods are actually not so great for us. Whether they’re high in sugar content or prepared with harmful substitutes, it’s important to read the nutrition and ingredient label on the back of food products to decipher between the good and bad.

8 “Healthy” Foods That Aren’t Really Healthy

While we could go into all the qualities that can make a food beneficial, that list would get pretty long. Instead, we thought we’d provide a list of 8 not-so-healthy foods that you might be purchasing but should avoid or be selective about from now on:

1. Gluten-Free Food

A few years ago, gluten-free foods became wildly popular as more and more people discovered that many of their digestive issues were related to the gluten content in foods. While gluten-free products are not all bad, many of the processed gluten-free foods (i.e. cereal, snack bars, etc.) are loaded with sugar.

Not only that, but these gluten-free foods tend to be made with substitute starches and corn syrup in the place of gluten. Instead, look for unprocessed snacks that are naturally gluten-free.

2. Yogurt

Yogurt can be an awesome product for promoting probiotic health. It’s a great source of calcium and boosts your gut health. That said, many of the yogurt brands available on supermarket shelves are filled with sugar.

The processed yogurt brands even have preservatives and artificial flavorings that you need to watch out for. Next time you’re shopping for yogurt, look for brands that offer servings with less sugar (i.e. under 10 grams) and are made with all natural ingredients.

3. Fruit Juice

Sure, it may be easier to get your vitamin C by downing a cup of orange juice, but the reality is that most commercially-sold juices are filled with unnecessary sugars and preservatives.

As an alternative, get your fill of vitamins by eating fresh fruit. The fresh fruit not only has less sugar than a store-bought juice, but it also offers fiber content that is helpful to your digestive health.

4. Fish

This one may be surprising, as we’ve all heard about how beneficial fish is for getting those important omega-3 fatty acids into our diet. While this is true, it’s important that you only purchase wild-caught, organic fish from a local seafood vendor.

Most of the fish that’s sold in the grocery store is farm-raised and is potentially grown in contaminated water or. even worse, contains possible carcinogens.

5. Soy Products

If you’re on a vegan diet, then you’ve most likely purchased soy milk or soy products before as both an alternative to dairy and as a protein source. While not all soy is bad, much of the soy produced in the U.S. is done with the help of GMOs (genetically-modified organisms).

Take care when purchasing soy products to see how the soy was sourced and whether it is GMO-free.

6. Agave Syrup

Several years ago, agave syrup made its way onto the health scene as a healthy alternative to other sweeteners. The reality, however, is that agave syrup is made up of at least 55% fructose. That’s just the bare minimum when it comes to agave’s fructose content; it can be as high as 90%!

When you compare agave syrup’s fructose content to that of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which is also about 55%, agave doesn’t have any healthy advantage over HFCS. In fact, agave syrup really doesn’t have any nutritional value to offer.

 7. Reduced-Fat Products

While this isn’t always true, for the most part, foods that are labeled as reduced-fat have lost their fat content in exchange for more sugar.

Take peanut butter, for example. Normally a small serving of peanut butter is a great source of healthy fats and is often touted as a suitable snack before or after workouts. When you look at reduced-fat peanut butter, however, the fat content has been lowered, but only to include more sugar as a flavoring substitute.

8. Dried Fruit

Not all dried fruit is bad and in small servings (such as mixed into a handful of nuts), dried fruit can be okay. That said, it’s always better to enjoy fruit when its fresh. This is where you often get all of the valuable nutrients, including fiber, from the fruit.

Plus, certain dried fruit like banana chips are fried and preserved with sugar, making them more caloric and greater in sugar content.


Bastian, C. C., Jones, S. T., Barr, S., S., Eales, S., Miguel, L., . . . SoNice. (2017, April 14). 10 of the Worst “Healthy” Foods You Must Avoid No Matter What! Retrieved April 17, 2018, from https://www.davidwolfe.com/worst-healthy-foods-to-avoid/
Born and raised in Southern California, Beeta has embraced a healthy lifestyle focused on farm-to-table cooking, natural products, and wellness routines. When she's not writing up recipes or discussing the latest natural living trends, Beeta enjoys spending time trying new restaurants, traveling with family and friends, and relaxing at home with her furry companion.