To many, it's a part of common knowledge as to what it considered a healthy food and what isn't. For example, burgers and fries will always be bad for you, while fruits and vegetables will always be healthy. Following that train of thought, there is a list of common foods that many people consider healthy. However, with just a little bit of research and simply reading the nutrition labels, you'll discover that there are a lot of supposedly healthy foods out there that actually aren't. While most of these foods won't completely ruin your diet, they should be eaten in moderation and shouldn't be taken so lightly.
Traditional Japanese sushi made of rice, raw fish and seaweed can be considered healthy. However, when you start eating a Westernized version, like the popular Philadelphia Roll, that nutrition value goes flying out the window. Cream cheese, sweet sauce, mayonnaise and fried batter are just a few examples of how these calorie-busting ingredients can turn this healthy food into something that isn't healthy at all. Oh, and if you really want to maximize the health benefits of sushi, you should skip the rice and it the raw fish by itself as sashimi instead.
2. Energy Bars
As a meal supplement, an energy bar every so often can be a good alternative to not eating anything at all. Skipping or missing a meal can ruin your caloric intake for the day because it can lead to binge eating later. An energy bar is perfect for keeping you satisfied while providing you with the carbohydrates, protein and calories to keep you fueled. However, many people consume energy bars as a snack, making this healthy food, not so healthy. At that point, you might as well have a chocolate candy bar instead.
Granola is well-known as a healthy snack, topping or ingredient. People just love grabbing a quick and convenient granola bar to satisfy their hunger between meals. While all those oats and fibers do, indeed, sound nutritious, a quick look at most nutrition labels will shock you. Many granola bars and cereals come with added sugar and calories to keep them sweet and flavorful. The fact that granola is touted as a health snack, plus the added taste from all that extra sugar, keeps customers reaching for more, completely unaware of how many calories they are consuming. Before you buy this "healthy" food, make sure you properly read the label beforehand, and choose the low-calorie, low-sugar and high-fiber variety.
Salads are great when substituted for a full meal, or to help you get full so that you eat less of the main course. However, restaurants are great at destroying a healthy food and turning it into a caloric nightmare. Fatty salad dressings, croutons, cheese and a heavy helping of meat can make a salad no different than eating a full-size meal. If your salad comes with a breaded chicken breast, it is no longer a salad; it is a breaded chicken breast with a side of lettuce.
With all those fruits, health supplements and even veggies, in some cases, a smoothie sounds like a healthy treat. Unfortunately, the addition of sugar and fatty yogurt can turn most of these healthy beverages into something that resembles a milkshake. A good rule of thumb: The sweeter it tastes, the unhealthier the smoothie is.
6. Bran Muffins
Most people know that a good helping of bran for breakfast in the morning is a healthy way to start the day, but a bran muffin does not count. The bran you should be eating typically comes from a cereal box with skim milk and maybe a side of fresh fruit. A bran muffin, on the other hand, is loaded with sugars and refined flour, which are two things your body doesn't need that early in the morning.
Pretzels are often viewed as a healthier alternative to potato chips. While this is probably true since they are baked and not fried, and tend to have fewer calories, they aren't exactly healthy. That's right, being healthier than potato chips does not actually make them healthy. Most pretzels offer no nutritional value, and will only provide you with a helping of sodium, calories and fat that your body does not need.
8. Iced Tea
In an effort to avoid sugar soft-drinks, many people will recommend iced tea, instead. However, most people often overlook the fact that many iced tea drinks have just as much sugar as most sodas. Fruit-flavored iced teas and sweet tea, in general, are loaded with sugar and calories. If you want a healthy iced tea, make sure you are drinking the unsweetened variety.
9. Dried Fruit
Many people are quick to assume that dried fruit, in any form, is virtually the same thing as eating a whole fruit. In reality, these snacks aren't so bad, but what destroys their nutritional value is all the added sugar the manufacturer includes during production. So, enjoy your raisins, just be mindful that you would be better off eating a bunch of grapes, instead.
Yes, even water can be considered unhealthy, that is, when you get the flavored variety. Waters with added flavors and vitamins can reach calorie levels that are dangerously close to soft-drinks and juices. This defeats the purpose of drinking water all-together. To stay on the safe and healthy side, just have a slice of lemon with your water if you want some flavor.