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6 Health Foods That Aren't Healthy At All


Nutrition bars and low-fat cookies must be good for you, right? Well, just because something sounds healthy doesn't mean it actually is. Many of the products marketed as nutritious involve more hype than health. How can you weed through the claims to separate fact from fiction? Read on to uncover six "health foods" that really aren't that healthy after all.

1. Reduced-Fat Foods. Perhaps they should change the label to "Less fat than the original, which had tons of fat." According to a spokeswoman from the American Dietary Association (ADA), "Reduced-fat foods are heavily marketed, and the marketing works. You only think it's healthy." But the truth is, most reduced-fat products are still high in fat. For this reason, the ADA encourages consumers to read reduced-fat food labels very carefully.

2. Pretzels. What a great snack, right? Actually, pretzels are high in sodium and low in fiber, which is why people can eat a lot of them and still not feel satisfied. According to the ADA, pretzels serve as a filler, but they don't add anything nutritious to your diet. Instead, try replacing them with a sandwich, fruit, or raw vegetables—foods that curb hunger and add nutrients to the body.

3. Cheese Crackers. As with pretzels, people generally consider cheese-flavored crackers a fairly healthy snack. But they're generally low in fiber and high in sodium, according to the ADA. What's more, the cheesy flavor is almost always artificial.

4. Granola Bars. They seem so wholesome, but according to the ADA, their main ingredient is usually sugar. Oftentimes, these treats are also high in fat and coated in chocolate. For these reasons, the ADA recommends replacing them with lower-sugar options, like a bowl of cereal or a bag of trail mix.

5. Energy Bars. These power-packed treats might seem like a sensible snack or meal replacement, but the "energy" touted on the label usually means a whole lot of calories, along with artificial flavorings and preservatives. In some cases, they may even contain trans fats. For a healthier alternative, try low-fat yogurt or a piece of fruit.

6. Sports Drinks. It's tempting to think that by guzzling down a sports drink, you'll become the next Tom Brady or Serena Williams. But according to the ADA, the electrolyte replacement in these drinks is designed for people who exercise rigorously. So unless you work out like a sports hero, you'll wind up consuming a lot of unnecessary calories. For mere mortals, a half-cup of water every 15 to 30 minutes is sufficient during workouts.

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