Kitchenability Blog


5 Unhealthy Health Foods

tuna salad sandwich

In the midst of the health food craze, with various marketing campaigns swirling around, trying to convince you that they’re product is the best one for your health, it’s sometimes hard to separate fact from fiction.

I did a bit of research and discovered these five “health” foods that really aren’t all that good for you, so I thought I would share.

1. Sports Drinks: I mean, the word “sport” is in the name, so it must be good for you, right? Wrong. Often these colorful post-workout thirst quenchers are filled with loads of sugar. Yes, they are also often filled with replenishing electrolytes, and the sugar might give you a bit of a post-workout energy boost, but, in general, you’re better off sticking to water. Now, if you just completed a marathon or a seriously intense workout, a sports drink might be just the ticket. But, these drinks are often consumed after light workouts where the extra calories being consumed really aren’t doing you any good.

2. Multigrain Bread: This one was a surprise. My assumption was that, in general, wheat breads with grains got the “healthy” stamp of approval. Not necessarily so. From an article I read on “‘Whole grain’ and ‘whole wheat’ are excellent options, but ‘multigrain’ can be something quite different. ‘Whole wheat’ and ‘whole grain’ indicate that the entire kernel is used in the bread. ‘Multigrain’ indicates that more than one grain was used, but in most cases, only part of the grain, thereby removing some of its nutrient content.” Crazy, right? This is a classic case of successful marketing that doesn’t really have our best interests in mind.

3. Trail Mix: When I think of trail mix, I think of hiking, on a trail, being healthy and active, and eating trail mix to refuel along the way. Unfortunately, I think the reality is that quite a bit of trail mix is actually consumed off-trail, on road trips, while you’re sitting in the car, not burning any real calories. And, unless you’re making your own healthy mix, a lot of the pre-made mixes come with a disproportionate amount of chocolate and other goodies, which aren’t as healthy as the nuts, seeds and dried fruit elements of the mix. My suggestion: Make your own! In fact, I have a great recipe for “Nutty Mix” that you can try. Just adjust the nut-to-chocolate ratio in favor of the nuts to up the health factor.

4. Tuna Salad and Chicken Salad: Let’s be honest. These types of prepared salads are often merely vehicles for eating tons and tons of mayonnaise. If you’re ordering out, try to limit your portions. But, if you’re making your own, try using low-fat mayonnaise or skipping the mayo altogether and just tossing the tuna or chicken in some olive oil and chopped up veggies. Delish!

5. Smoothies: Here’s the thing with smoothies. Some smoothies are extremely healthy, but there are a lot of smoothies being sold out there that are really more of a dessert. Just be mindful of the ingredients going into your smoothie and avoid the recipes that contain ice cream and sorbet. For your reference, this kale banana smoothie recipe is definitely on the healthier side. Try it!

Were you surprised by any of these unhealthy “health” foods? What are some other foods that might fall into this category? Chime in below!


Photo: “Dijon-Cilantro Tuna Salad on Whole Grain Bread” by is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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