A List of 12 Fake Healthy Foods to Avoid

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In today’s post about fake healthy foods to avoid, you’ll most likely find out that you’ve been consuming foods you thought were healthy, but they’re actually the opposite of that.

If you continue reading, you’ll learn more about the meaning of fake healthy foods, and you’ll enrich your nutrition knowledge. In addition, reading the labels will become a habit of yours.

What Exactly Are Fake Healthy Foods?

fake healthy foods to avoid pin for pinterestIf you’re a person who wants to start living a healthy life, the first thing you need to do is to pay a bit more attention to your diet. You can’t be healthy if you constantly eat food that contains little to no nutrients.

Unfortunately, a lot of foods labeled ‘healthy’ or ‘low-calorie’ are often really bad for you. Many times when something unhealthy is removed from certain food, its substitutes are even worse. That’s why it’s crucial to carefully read the labels every time you go grocery shopping.

A great number of people get easily deceived by words such as ‘gluten-free’, ‘low-carb’, or ‘low-fat’. Although it may seem logical for these foods to be considered good, they have no nutritional value and are actually fake healthy foods.

A List of 12 Fake Healthy Foods to Avoid

Sugar-Free Desserts

Sugar-free desserts undoubtedly take the first place on my list of fake healthy foods to avoid. Often, when certain food contains no sugar, this means that a sugar substitute is added to it. And sugar-substitutes are no better than real sugar.

Excessive consumption of artificial sweeteners may lead do some serious health problems, such as stomach pain, weight gain, and heart-related problems. Even though sugar-free desserts may be low in calories, that doesn’t make them good for you.



A lot of people buy packets of muesli when they decide to go on a diet. I don’t know why it’s believed that muesli is healthy and diet-friendly. If you read the labels of a few muesli brands at the store, you’ll see that all of them have added sugar/sweeteners, dried fruit, or chocolate chips. Dried fruit is typically very rich in sugar, as well as the chocolate chips.

Oatmeal is a great alternative to this fake healthy food. Just boil a half of cup of fine oats with water and milk of your choice, add some fresh fruit, and a teaspoon of nut butter. You’ll have a bowl full of healthy carbs, fiber, and healthy fats.

Diet Soda

I always find it funny when someone orders a Big Mac, fries, and a diet soda. Yes, diet soda contains just a few calories, but believe me, this doesn’t make it good for you. Such drinks are loaded with artificial sweeteners and colorings.

Diet or not, soda drinks are extremely bad for your health, and I’d suggest you exclude them from your diet completely. If you still can’t give up on them, try consuming a can of soda once in two weeks.

Light Mayo

This is another one of those fake healthy foods people buy because of the label. It’s an undeniable fact that light mayo contains fewer calories and fats, but their substitutes are no better. Sugar, soybean oil, and modified food starch are only a part of the ingredients used to make it taste good.

It’s much better to make your own mayonnaise at home using real products.

Protein Bars

fake healthy foods to avoid protein bars

Protein bars are a great way to get that extra protein for the day. However, most of these desserts are very rich in sugar and artificial ingredients. If you choose to have one, you won’t consume just protein. You’ll also consume unhealthy fats and most probably trans fats.

Luckily, some protein bars are actually good and contain healthy ingredients. Their only downside is that they don’t taste as good as the once described above. But if I have to choose between the two, I’d definitely go with the second one.

Granola Bars

The case with these is the same as the muesli one. Granola is considered healthy and diet-friendly. However, there’s a great difference between the granola sold at the supermarket and the one you make at home.

The granola you can buy from the store is loaded with sugar and/or artificial sweetener, dried fruit, and roasted nuts, which makes it extremely high in calories. Therefore, it’s much better to make granola or granola bars at home, using honey or agave syrup, and raw nuts.

granola bars

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is probably one of my favorite toppings for my oatmeal. It’s so creamy, and its nutty flavor is out of this world!

Yet there are types of peanut butter that are not so good for you. For example, reduced-fat peanut butter is definitely something I’d never buy. The fats in natural peanut butter are healthy fats your body needs. If you choose to go with low-fat peanut butter, you’d actually buy something that contains sugar, unhealthy fats, and many artificial ingredients.

Always go with natural peanut butter that contains no sugar. if you’re worried about the calories, just consume it in moderation. A tablespoon of natural peanut butter contains 94 calories, which means that having one or two tablespoons per day is perfectly fine.

Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is another one of these fake healthy foods I’d suggest avoiding. Even though they’re rich in fiber, they’re also highly caloric and rich in sugars. This may result not only in weight gain but in tooth decay, as well.

I personally prefer consuming fresh or frozen fruits, because they contain fewer calories and I can eat larger amounts of them. However, if you’re a fan of dried fruits, I’d advise you to consume them in moderation.


Fruit juice ads are extremely misleading. You always see happy children drinking juices in vibrant colors, and you hear a pleasant voice talking about the vitamins and minerals found in the drink. It’s time for a reality check.

fruit juices is one of the worst fake healthy foods

Fruit juices are the last thing you want to give to your kids. The vivid colors of these drinks should be the first indicator to suggest that this product is anything but natural. Juices are loaded with sugar, artificial sweeteners and colorings, and other unhealthy ingredients. Most of these drinks contain less than 15% fruit.

It’s so much better to squeeze some fresh fruits at home and drink a cup of real juice packed with vitamins and minerals.

Instant Oats

Instant oats are probably the best option for a quick breakfast. You just pour them into a bowl of hot water and stir them.

Unfortunately, this fake healthy food is not that good for you. It often contains sugar/sweeteners and powdered thickeners. That’s why your oatmeal gets so creamy in just a few seconds. Making your own oatmeal is definitely a slower process, but it’s absolutely worth it.

instant oats is one of the fake healthy foods to avoid

Protein Shakes

Just like protein bars, a protein shake is a great way to increase your protein intake. However, you should be careful when choosing your protein powder. A great number of brands offer products rich in thickeners and artificial flavors. This may lead to stomach pain and cramps.

Always choose a protein powder that doesn’t contain any of these ingredients. It may taste a bit bland, but at least you’ll provide your body with nothing but good nutrients.

Salads In Restaurants

Salads in restaurants may seem like a healthy and low-calorie option, but that’s not always the case. A lot of salads contain fried meat, which makes them high in calories.


Many times, when you order a salad with dressing, the greens are literally swimming in sauce. What you can do is, you can ask the waiter to serve the dressing in a separate cup. This way, you’ll be able to pour as much as you like. Another downside of salad dressings is that they’re typically rich in trans fats.

Final Words

I’m sure that my list of 12 fake healthy foods to avoid contains at least one food that you like. There’s nothing wrong if you want to consume it from time to time. What’s important to do is to consume it rarely and in moderation.

I personally love protein bars, and sometimes I buy one with sugar in it. As long as I don’t consume them daily, it’s fine. In the majority of the time, I eat healthy food that gives my body essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

Let me know in the comment section what is your favorite fake healthy food that you like to snack on sometimes.

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  1. Protein bars are so misleading. They may have high levels of protein but the sugar levels are astronomical. Swap protein bars for some turkey pieces from chilled section of supermarket

  2. Such an informative post! I went through a phase of obsessing over these ‘healthy’ foods and always choosing the light option but found that it has 0 effect on how I looked and just made me tired all the time. Now I try to just use natural ingredients (and a LOT of natural peanut butter) I find it fills me up and gives me way more energy! Loved this post x

  3. It’s always sensible to eat in moderation and not focus too much on calories because that can be so triggering for some people but for the sake of a healthy diet, it’s good to know what to avoid or what to cut down on. I’ve heard that some of these are just packed with sugar and I recently cut granola out of my diet for that reason. It’s so misleading!

  4. I think it’s so awful that the way things are marketed are so dishonest and that the “bad” things that are removed from a certain food are then relapsed with something that is actually worse! Thanks for this — really informative!

  5. Wow. There are so many items on this list that I thought were healthy but they’re fake healthy. 😂 I’m so shocked hahaha. I’ve been eating a lot of instant oatmeal lately, so I definitely need to rethink that one. What are good traditional oatmeal brands that you would recommend? 🙂

  6. I love this post. Diet soda or anything with artificial sweeteners (I call them chemical sugar) is so bad for you. I recently started making my own granola bars at home. They are delicious and I know exactly what’s in them.

  7. Love this! Totally agree on PB! Gotta watch our for palm oil too in PB, it’s terrible for the environment!

  8. So worth the read! Packages are not to be trusted, I’ve learned that a long time ago; but people are still deceived. It’s like, it’s too good to be true, right? People on a diet def need to read this as well.

    BTW, right now I’m using quick-cooking oats because I can’t quite get my hand on steel-cut ones; plus rolled oats gets out-of-stock so easily. T_T

  9. All of the above is so true, and this information isn’t new. It amazes me that people don’t know this yet? It’s great you shared this because we really ought to know if we don’t. I also always check the ingredients on labels, and try to buy those with the most natural and fewest ingridents.

  10. Thanks for this! I feel like there’s a lot of misinformation out there on the internet about nutrition. I really just try to eat less processed foods. One “fake health food” I have noticed is this gluten-free trend. I feel like a lot of people just heard that’s what they should be eating without ever asking why. Then they buy these gluten free foods not realizing they often have tons of sugar and sometimes more fat.

  11. Helpful perspective here! I definitely agree with you that a lot of the “healthy” label foods are not healthy. I know a lot of people immediately go to Trader Joe’s when they start a diet, and in a similar fashion, just because it’s sold there doesn’t automatically make it healthy haha! It’s important to understand nutrition, your own body, and pay attention to the labels on any kind of processed food.

  12. Great post! I do try to find healthier options at the store since my schedule is so hectic that I barely have time to cook or prepare anything at home anymore. But I’ll use this post to make better choices!

  13. When it comes to food, I have a few other vices (all of the fast food carbs + cakes!!!), but I am glad that almost none of the things you mention on this list are a part of my regular diet. I’ll celebrate the small wins. 🙂

  14. This is such a great and awesome post that everyone on the healthy path needs to be aware of! Alot of “healthy” foods/snack are loaded with so much unnecessary ingredients that does more harm than good.

    When I started to read the vegan ice-cream labels to see how much sugar it contains compared to dairy ice-cream the amount of added sugar was out of this world! Some vegan ice cream that I loved contained over 30grama of sugar, while the diary organic ones only had 8 grams of sugar can you believe that! Just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

    Thanks for sharing.

  15. Thank you for spreading knowledge about these! I usually have muesli for breakfast, and I think it’s quite a natural one but it does contain dried fruit so maybe it’s not the healthiest choice! xx

  16. I’ve worked so hard to ease myself off fruit juice and smoothies, I love them so much but the sugars made my teeth feel terrible so I can only imagine how my stomach was dealing with it😬✨

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