Trust No Labels: 7 'Healthy' Foods That Are Way Worse Than Junk Food

Davide Illinir

Let’s face it: We’re all about the idea of juicing, Soul Cycle-ing and cleansing until our bodies resemble Gisele’s or Karlie’s. We’re also, however, equally obsessed with eating ice cream for breakfast, a bag of Cheetos for lunch and cold pizza for dinner.

Usually, we either skew towards the hyper-healthy or the “let’s see how much sh*t I can stick in my stomach before I vomit” lifestyle.

When you’re trying to lose weight, you usually fluctuate toward the green juice chugging crowd, only to descent into madness and start double-fisting burritos a week later. The key is in moderation and staying true to yourself. If you’re not a green juice kinda gal, you aren’t magically going to become one overnight.

You also begin to notice what you eat. Salad dressings, yogurt and energy bars become as a part of your day-to-day diet as chocolate once was.

However, just because it’s labeled as healthy, low-fat or is packaged in brown, recyclable “green” boxes, doesn’t mean it’s actually good for you. Your mama was right — danger is everywhere, even if it’s something you can buy in Whole Foods.

Check out the most sneakily unhealthy foods, and what you should switch ‘em up for, instead.


Sure, it might say “nonfat” on the package, but your favorite peach-flavored cup of dairy goodness has plenty of other baddies; namely, sugar.

"Many of these have either artificial sweeteners or up to 15 grams of sugar, not to mention the long list of chemicals added,” Molly Rieger and Leah Silberman of Tovita Nutrition, explained.

Switch it up: Instead of OD-ing on sugar, try a plain, low or nonfat Greek yogurt. They have more protein than sugar. If John Stamos is about that life, you should be, too.

Salad dressing

Sure, it might go hand-in-hand with awesome veggies, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

Rieger and Silverman warn,

The ingredient list is a mile long with preservatives, chemicals, salt and sugar.

Switch it up: Instead of your fatty Caesar or 1000 Island, go for balsamic vinegar or olive oil. It gives your veggies a yummy kick without the calories.


Even if it says light on the package, it’s still packed with sodium and the chemical diacetyl. If you can’t pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t have it in your mouth.

Switch it up: Your movie nights aren’t totally ruined.

Rieger and Silberman suggest,

Try air popping your own popcorn kernels with spices such as cinnamon, turmeric, or sea salt and garlic powder. Natural popcorn is a great high fiber snack and spices can add a boost of antioxidants.

Doesn’t that sound better than the Orville Redenbacher that’s been sitting in the back of your pantry for about three years now?

Trail mix

Sounds healthy, right? Hold up. Most trail mix contains salted nuts, dried fruit and chocolate, which basically makes them as healthy as lunging for a pack of Sour Patch Kids.

Switch it up: Make your own mix of unsalted, raw nuts. Almonds are delicious on their own, and you can get the unsalted kind just about anywhere.

Plus, they’re just delicious.


Wait, seriously? You now have yet another reason to make fun of those kale-chugging Vitamin devotees?

Rieger and Silberman break it down,

Always look at the label or ask for the nutrition information. A green juice with added fruits can have around 350 calories and 29 grams of sugar. Juicing strips the fruits and veggies of their fiber, leaving the straight sugar.

Switch it up: To put simply, when you can eat your food, eat it — don’t drink it.

There are so many delicious, healthy ways to prepare your fruits and veggies. Why screw it up?

Energy bars

These things are always touted as the holy grail of health culture. Yeah, right.

Ringer and Silberman explain it best,

The carbs and sugar in many of these bars make it equal to a candy bar rather than an appropriate meal or snack.

Switch it up: If you want some protein (as many energy bars claim to have loads of) just go for actual protein. Meat, nuts, nut butters, beans, eggs and Greek yogurt all have natural protein that fills you up and, honestly, tastes better anyway.

Sports drinks

This one is a no-brainer: Unless you’re running the marathon, you don’t need the added sugar and junky additives in that bottle of Gatorade. You’re drinking back all that crap you just burned off, which makes zero sense.

Switch it up: You know the best thing for you to drink?

That’s right: water. Water is great for your skin, your system and it will hydrate you way more, too. Not a fan of H2O? Try a banana instead.