With all of the different foods on the market that claim to be good for you, if can be tough to tell which ones are telling the truth.
Even many of the self-proclaimed health foods are not always what they seem. Most of the time, we opt for these items in search of a healthy alternative that is still quick and convenient when compared to recipes with longer prep times.
However, many of these foods are hiding dangerous ingredients that can be hazardous to your health, or at least to your efforts of living a healthier lifestyle.
About The 21 Most Dangerous Foods in Your Kitchen
Nutrigrain Health Bars
Many of us turn to health bars as a snack item that offers low calories in options that are whole grain, gluten free, or made with real fruit.
Among the many brands out there, Nutrigrain is among the most popular. Unfortunately, one of the primary ingredients in Nutrigrain snack bars is enriched flour.
Enrichment is a process in which artificial preservatives are added to the flour, many of which the body can’t even digest.
Enrichment causes flour to be treated differently in the body, causing you to not feel full and desire more to eat.
The filling of these snack bars isn’t much better and usually contains high fructose corn syrup. The fruit puree inside many varieties also contains added sugar or sweeteners. After all of that, each bar contains about 11 grams of sugar.
Granola is a delicious topper that many people add to yogurt, ice cream, or cereal to give an extra little crunch of goodness, and most people assume that it’s quite good for them.
However, adding granola to your snack can single-handedly increase or even double the sugar content of your next snack.
Granola is made by forcing oats and grains to stick together into little clumps, which is achieved by adding various forms of sugar.
Homemade granola is usually made with honey or maple syrup, and those recipes contain about 21 grams of sugar per serving.
Store bought varieties run fairly close to this high sugar content, and you don’t even know exactly what’s in them.
Next time you’re craving granola on a cold treat, try plain nuts instead.
When you purchase fruit cups, what you’re looking for is a pre-sliced, convenient alternative to fresh fruit.
However, fruit and fruit juices are not the only ingredients in most fruit cups. Companies usually add preservatives and added sugar.
You can find selections which are listed as containing only fruit and water, and these are the only ones that are anywhere near as good for you as fresh fruit. If you must buy your fruit canned or jarred, remember to check the label.
Whether you’re making sandwiches, hot dogs, or burgers, you’re probably going to need bread. Unfortunately, the go-to selection for most shoppers these days is white bread.
You may be surprised to find out that even though it is a starchy grain that is high in carbohydrates, white bread contains almost no fiber.
This is evident when using it, as it becomes soggy very easily and when added to a liquid such as soup it practically melts away.
This is because the main ingredient in white bread is enriched flour. Many of the white bread products on the market today also contain added sugar, so next time, reach for whole wheat instead.
Frozen yogurt, or froyo, is a common treat that most people thoroughly enjoy. Yogurt is a popular health food item because it contains probiotics, the good bacteria that help to restore and maintain gut health.
However, studies have shown the process used to make yogurt actually destroys most of the probiotics contained within its ingredients.
In addition, many frozen yogurts contain as much or more sugar than you would find in ice cream. In the end, most frozen yogurt isn’t much better for you than ice cream.
If frozen yogurt made it onto this list, you can guarantee that regular yogurt will be as well. When you break yogurt down and look at its nutritional values, the calories and sugar content are far too high to consider it a truly healthy snack.
This is especially true of fruit flavors, which have even more added sugar than other varieties.
When you add this to the fact that it often has far fewer probiotics properties than most people assume, it’s best to just leave this treat be.
This is one of the most counter-intuitive items o this list. The primary ingredient of most nut butter is simply the nut they were made from, which usually contain rich deposits of proteins and oils that are quite good for you.
However, during the process of creating nut butter, most of these proteins and oils are lost. In exchange, manufacturers add hydrogenated oils, sugar, or molasses and ruin the nut’s health benefits entirely.
Veggie chips are healthy, right? They’re made from veggies, after all.
Unfortunately, veggie chips usually contain just as much sodium and fat as regular potato chips. In fact, they usually contain even more sodium than regular chips.
Potato flour and potato starch are both used as primary ingredients, so the whole point of not eating regular chips is completely lost.
For a truly healthy alternative, thinly slice sweet potatoes at homes and bake them in the oven until they are crisp enough for your own homemade chips.
Most people assume that pretzels are another alternative that is healthier than potato chips, the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.
While pretzels are a baked treat and not a fried treat like chips, they are made with enriched flour.
As we’ve already discussed, enriched flour just isn’t good for you, and certainly isn’t as good for you as potatoes.
Dried fruits are easily a favorite treat for most health-conscious Americans, the most common of which being raisins.
This treat is made by drying out the fruit itself and then adding preservatives and artificial flavors. The first downside to this snack is that anything which has been dried out will rob your body of liquids and can lead to dehydration.
The drying process also greatly reduced vitamin reserves inside the fruit, particularly vitamin C. Many dried fruits are candy coated or sugar coated. Too much sugar can lead to diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and even cancer.
Often store-bought dried fruits have an added preservative called sulfite. These added little buggers are used to prevent discoloration and make the fruit more appealing.
Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup
When you are feeling down or have a nasty case of the sniffles, nothing tastes better than a nice bowl of Campbell's chicken noodle soup.
Unfortunately, every little can is loaded with a crazy amount of sodium (about 870 mg to be exact). The reduced sodium variety contains 429 mg, which is still about 32% of your daily serving as recommended by the American Heart Association.
The reason sodium is such a bad factor when it comes to your health is the effect it can have in dehydrating your cells.
When too much sodium is in your blood stream, water from tour cells rushes to dilute it. This damages not just blood cells but all other types of cells as well, even brain cells.
Fish are well known as one of the healthiest meats available, due mostly to the fact that they contain high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 has a multitude of health benefits and is known to prevent cancer, treat arthritis, and help to stave off Alzheimer's.
You may be surprised to learn that the size of a fish actually has a significant impact on whether or not that fish is healthy for you to eat.
This is due to differences in diet. The problem arises when connoisseurs seek out larger fish, such as sharks, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish.
Large fish don’t eat the same diet as smaller fish and instead eat the smaller fish themselves.
This changes the makeup of their flesh, and they are known for having higher levels of mercury in their bodies, enough to become toxic to humans when consumed in large quantities.
The best method to avoid this is to stick to smaller fish such as catfish, salmon, sardines and anchovies.
Another issue with some fish products is that they contain added preservatives such as sulfite to keep them from spoiling, molding, or yeasting. Sulfite, while not dangerous in smaller quantities, can be harmful once it reaches certain levels.
Lastly, you there may also be a need for concern depending on where your fish is originally from, as it may have originated from contaminated waters or farms.
Fish from these sources generally contain diseases and toxins from the food they eat. Fish from farms are also more prone to diseases due to the lack of swimming space and are often given antibiotics while they are raised.
The best solution to avoid health risks when eating fish is to ensure that your fish is fresh, locally caught in clean waters, and of a variety that does not consume other fish as a major part of its diet.
If you try to imagine what is widely considered the healthiest meal possible, you will probably think of salad.
In fact, salad is so widely accepted as a healthy food item that many who aren’t health conscious consider it ‘rabbit food’. Unfortunately, most salads are made with iceberg lettuce, which consists of absolutely no nutritional value.
Despite containing fiber, even this one upside is quite negligible. On top of this, we add ingredients like bacon bits, dressing, and croutons.
Bacon bits aren’t even real meat! The primary ingredient of bacon bits is soy flour dressed up with salt, food coloring, and artificial flavoring. The dressings we use are full of oils, fats, and added sugars.
Croutons are re-baked bread with added flavors, oils, and butter to give them their crunch and taste.
While salad can be a great healthy meal, most of the salads we actually consume are far from it. They can easily hit astronomical calorie levels, up to 1000 or more for just one salad.
The good news is that we can easily change any salad back into the healthy meal most people already believe it to be.
Simply skip the dressing and replace those unhealthy toppers with simple olives or other similar, healthier alternatives.
Nothing strikes home for weight loss or healthy eating like the words ‘sugar-free’. However, this usually means that the sugar has been replaced with other ingredients in order to preserve a desirable flavor.
Most of the time, these ingredients include extra fats or other sweetening ingredients like corn or cherry tomatoes, which ultimately break down into sugars again once digested.
Many of these sugar-free dressing will tell you directly on the label that they are not a low-calorie food. In the end, these alternative ingredients still contain sugars or carbohydrates that break down into the simple sugar known as glucose.
Trail mix is a tricky snack as there are many mixtures and variety out there on the market. Regardless of which one your select, it’s most likely to contain a ton of sodium and sugar. Most varieties include nuts and dried fruits in the form of raisins.
Some even have M&Ms in them. The nuts generally come loaded with a ton of salt added and the breads mixed into it are generally made from enriched flour and coated in salty seasonings.
Dried fruits in these mixes are nutritionally weaker than their fresh fruit counterparts. They are stripped of some of their vitamins and minerals in the process of being dried and generally have extra sugar added to them.
Fruit juices contain lots of sugars, both added and natural, and most of the time they are not even 100% real juice.
Even unsweetened juices like apple juice (24g), cranberry juice (31g), and grape juice (36g) have a ridiculous amount of natural sugars per cup.
That same cup has between 115 and 150 calories. A 12 ounce can of Coca-Cola has 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar.
That’s fewer calories and not much more sugar than our unsweetened cup of juice and a cup of juice is only 8 ounces. Unsweetened orange juice sits at 21 grams of sugar and 111 calories, and unsweetened grapefruit juice contains 22 grams of sugar and 96 calories.
The only redeeming quality of these juices is that the sugars they contain are simple sugars and each juice can provide you with anywhere from 3% to 158% of your daily vitamin C.
A cup of OJ in the morning is great, but the 8 by 8 rule for water should be followed. The 8 by 8 rule states that you should have 8 glasses of water every day, each being about 8 ounces. Dehydration is a silent killer. If you're thirsty, then you're already dehydrated.
Cereal is one of the most popular breakfast foods for both children and adults. There are many cereals on the market that claim to be a healthier alternative to their sugar-filled competitors, but are they?
Many of these cereals are packed full of sugars such as corn syrup or are made with corn flours.
Even multi-grain cereals include everything from whole wheat, which is good for you, to corn flours or rice flour, which are abundant in sugars and starches.
There are some cereals available that are made with natural sugars, but just because they are made from the sugar that naturally occurs in fruit does not mean that they contain any of the nutritional value that fruit provides.
In addition to the cereal itself, most people eat their cereal with milk. Milk is definitely good for you, and having a glass each day is important for healthy bone structure.
However, the good qualities in milk can be found most readily in its fat-free, skim, 1%, and 2% varieties. These forms provide the value without all the full doses of fat and sugar that whole milk provides. Unfortunately, whole milk is the most popular variety by far.
Diet TV Dinners
The first frozen meal was developed in 1945, and TV dinner soon became the marvel of the 1950s. They have since been changed and redeveloped over the decades.
Nowadays, we even have diet and light varieties of TV dinners designed for people on the go who still want to eat healthier.
But are they really healthy at all? The process of cooking meats and other foods actually damaged proteins and other vitamins in the foods, stripping some of those essential nutrients from the food.
A TV dinner takes that a step further and then freezes the food, which also damages proteins and vitamins.
After all that’s said and done, the dinner then has to be reheated by the consumer. By this point, there is almost no food left in your food.
The nutritional value of the TV dinner is all but nonexistent, as the proteins, vitamins, and even minerals have been virtually destroyed.
Many people use tuna to achieve a high protein diet with a fairly low calorie intake, and one of the most popular recipes we use to prepare tuna is tuna salad.
However, most tuna salad recipes use mayonnaise as a main ingredient. That alone doubles or triple the amount of calories you would normally get from just eating plain tuna.
After this, other ingredients are often added to the tuna salad, such as pickle, relish, or mustard.
While mustard and pickle relish alone do not add very many calories, they still make their own contributions to the calorie count of the entire meal, bringing tuna from a low-calorie meal to a high-calorie disaster.
The best way to turn tune salad into a good healthy alternative is to use less mayo or substitute just enough extra virgin olive oil to meet your texture needs.
Despite the targeting of their commercials, the majority of people who drink Gatorade are not athletes.
Though the drink is advertised to keep you hydrated and replace electrolytes, it does pretty much the opposite.
Drinking high amounts of Gatorade can dehydrate you by putting too much salt and sugar into your body. In a 32 oz. bottle of Gatorade, there are around 56 grams of sugar. All that sugar is also bad for your teeth.
According to a study by the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry Gatorade is worse for your teeth than Coca-Cola. That same 32oz bottle of Gatorade has 200 calories, which you’d have to walk 2 miles just to burn off.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin and is harder to get out of your body. In large quantities it can cause hypervitaminosis A.
This will leave you with a headache, blurred vision, nausea, and fatigue. That same bottle of Gatorade has 800 mg of sodium, which by itself is one-third of your recommended daily intake.
Too many salts in your diet can lead to high blood pressure. Gatorade also puts unnecessary strain on your kidneys as they filter out all of the extra unnecessary additives this sports drink contains.
Whole Grain Pastas
While whole grains are definitely better for you than eating your typical white flour or enriched flour versions of pasta, you still need to be careful with pasta in general. They contain ridiculously high levels of carbohydrates.
A 2 ounce serving of whole wheat angel hair pasta contains 41 grams of carbohydrates, so having a high intake of whole grain pasta can lead to serious weight gain and blood sugar issues.
Whole wheat pasta is better for you than other forms, but that doesn’t make it healthy. Good substitutes for pasta include zucchini, squash, and eggplant.
Most of these foods are originally and traditionally healthy when made at home by someone who knows what they are doing and who can add the correct ingredients.
Some of them are sold to us under misleading names that sound like they are healthy, when in reality that couldn’t be further from the truth.
At the end of the day, it is up to you to pay attention to the types of food you purchase for yourself and your family.