When you’re trying to be mindful of which foods you should and shouldn’t be stocking up on, it can make a trip to the grocery store a bit complicated. You want to make sure you’re eating the healthiest foods you can, but there are just some foods out there that will even trick you into thinking they’re great when nutritionally speaking, they’re equivalent to a candy bar. Big yikes.
So in order to help you avoid filling up your shopping cart with foods that will just wreck your weight-loss goals, we rounded up 15 of the biggest offenders, aka the foods you should never have in your kitchen that even experts would agree are a total no-go.
The problem with flavored yogurts? They can have as much sugar as a can of soda, especially when it comes to the options that come with fruit at the bottom. (They’re swimming in more sugar!) Not an ideal way to kickstart your morning, or indulge in for a midday snack. Instead, it’s best to buy plain yogurt and just add fresh fruit and some nuts to it. Don’t fall for it, and don’t let any of these ‘healthy’ foods that are terrible for you!
Another seemingly healthy food you’ll want to kick to the curb? Granola. Again, it all comes down to the sugar.
“Certain granolas can actually contain more sugar and calories than processed cereals. Avoid granolas that contain more than 6 grams of sugar per serving and brands that use artificial flavors and sweeteners,” Jillian Kubala, RD, said in a previous article.
Rice cakes might seem like a perfectly harmless snack, but there really isn’t much going on with them. They have little fiber and protein, and they’re known for being high on the glycemic index (GI), which measures how quickly your blood rises in response to food. Basically, you’ll be hungry again in no time. No thanks! (If you’re looking for more ways to discover healthy meals, be sure to sign up for our newsletter to get daily recipes and food news in your inbox!)
If you’re making oatmeal yourself with some steel-cut oats, you’re on your way to a healthy, filling breakfast. The problem with the instant packaged variety is that while they are ready in minutes, they’re not the best by any means, as they’re packed with added sugars.
This one should come as a no-brainer by now, but sodas (including diet sodas) should really never pass your lips. Between the astronomically high amount of sugar, which makes it hard for the body to maintain healthy glucose and insulin levels, to the fact that drinking soda can lead to weight gain (thanks to all that high-fructose corn syrup), according to a study from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, there really is nothing redeeming about the fizzy stuff.
Agave was often said to be the better-for-you alternative to sugar, but it really isn’t. As Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD once told us, “Yes, it comes from a plant, but it has little to no nutritional value.”
You can most likely guess what the issue is with these processed cereals, right? Yes, it’s all that sugar, and if you take a look at the nutrition labels, they are often high in calories as well. Your best bet is to start your day off with a protein such as eggs, so that way you stay full, energizied, and focused, instead of crashing from the sugar. It’s no wonder it’s on the list of The Worst Breakfast Foods You Should Never Start Your Day With!
The legend of the processed foods strikes again! Deli meats are packed with sodium and chemicals that you wouldn’t get if you eat pure meat instead, as they’re often preserved or cured with nitrates. And nitrates have been linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer.
Yes, this spread is made from hazelnuts, but don’t let the nut aspect fool you. Nutella seems healthy, as nut butters can be, but the ingredients list is filled mostly with sugar and palm oil, with one serving clocking in with 21 grams of sugar. Leave this on the shelf and away from your slice of toast!
Dried fruit might seem like a smart way to have a healthy snack on hand, as it’s much easier to carry around a little box of these than an entire fruit salad. But as Amy Shapiro MS, RD, CDN once pointed out, “when you dry the fruit, you remove the water and therefore make it more concentrated. So a plum becomes a prune and you can eat five prunes faster than you can eat five plums and get a huge sugar hit. No, thank you! Also, many dried fruits are sweetened with fruit juice or sugar to take away the tartness.”
You might not expect it here as tomatoes you would think are sweet enough, but store-bought ketchups are actually loaded up with sugar. You don’t want to spread some high fructose corn syrup on your burger, do you?
Low-fat foods are simply a no-go. Don’t fall for this clever wording! Many foods that are labeled as low-fat are filled with unhealthy ingredients—as they’re so processed—such as added sugars, vegetable oils, and artificial preservatives. They’re ingredients that have little nutritional value that try to mimic the consistency and even the flavor of the full-fat versions. You’re better off eating an actual cookie every once in a while instead of a low-fat imposter!
Grab-and-go smoothies again, seem great in theory. They’re a convenient and tasty way to get your fruit in for the day, but sugar keeps ruining so many good things. And here, that is the case yet again with the average smoothies containing anywhere from 30-60 grams of sugar. You’re much better off making your own!
Muffins seem harmless too, but they’re basically just as bad as cupcakes. Some muffins are even more calorie-dense than your average frosted cupcake! Besides the high amount of sugar thanks to all that high-fructose corn syrup, many packaged muffins actually have soybean oil and plenty of shortening, which is trouble for your waistline and overall health.
Pretzels tend to have a reputation for being a better alternative to potato chips, but they’re just as salty. Plus, pretzels are also made of refined carbohydrates. So what do they do? Well, they cause your blood sugar levels to spike, and barely any fiber, protein, or healthy fats, this snack is doing nothing to fill your hunger. Skip these, too!