7 “Health” foods that are actually bad for you

Wednesday, 14 October 2015


Are you sabotaging your diet with “health” foods that are really junk foods in disguise? Here are the worst offenders.

1. Yoghurt-covered nuts
The sweet coating may be yoghurt flavoured, but it’s about as close to the real thing as a strawberry milkshake is to the actual fruit. It’s mostly sugar, dried milk powder and yoghurt powder, to which hydrogenated vegetable oil is added to stiffen the mixture. The result is a confectionery that’s high in kilojoules and low in nutrients.

2. Muffins
We all know that muffins are not as healthy as, say, Golden Delicious apples, but we still tend to consider them as good alternatives to cupcakes. Unfortunately we are mistaken. Take into account the high sugar and fat content and it’s clear that muffins are little more than cakes without icing. Look at the greasy, fat-soaked wrapper they come in and read the nutritional information. You’ll be in for a nasty surprise.

3. Sushi
There’s a world of difference between the sushi served in top Japanese restaurants and the sushi available in supermarkets and all-you-can-eat buffets. For a start, cheaper varieties consist predominantly of short grain white rice, a high-GI food that causes a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. They are also high in salt and low in protein – with only a sliver of fish for show – and certain ingredients are highly processed. There’s no need to avoid sushi altogether, but don’t regularly snack on store-bought varieties. Instead, save it for special occasions at reputable restaurants.

4. Chicken sausage
Most store-bought chicken sausage has a high salt content and contains rusks, additives and other nasty ingredients that disqualify it as a health food. Think of it as regular sausage, the fact that it contains chicken instead of beef is neither here nor there.

5. Low-fat yoghurt
Sure, it contains less fat than full-fat yoghurt – but it contains a substantial amount of sugar and additives, which are far worse for your health. Don’t fall for the low-fat ruse – fat is an important component of a healthy diet; it fills you up so you aren’t tempted to snack on junk and it improves the taste and texture of food. Opt for Greek yoghurt; it’s high in protein and low in sugar and sodium, and it tastes so good you won’t miss the sugar.

6. Dried fruit
Dried fruit is basically concentrated fruit, so it’s naturally high in sugar and it contains preservatives to keep from spoiling. It also tends to stick to your teeth where it feeds the bacteria in your mouth, leading to bad breath and tooth decay.

7. Vegetable crisps
We want to believe that these are healthy, we really really do. But as the saying goes, the truth will set you free, and the truth is that while they do contain small amounts of nutrients, the fat and sodium content are sufficient to kill any health notions. That said, they are still better than potato chips, so if it’s one of those days when you must have chips or else, then a handful of veggie chips is the way to go.

Other articles you may be interested in:
The pros and cons of detoxing
Can dairy products make my skin flare up?
Which sugar alternatives are safe?
Five foods to eat when you are feeling stressed
Why we’re a little nutty for peanuts

Written by

Candice is a health and beauty writer who is passionate about wellness, sunshine, macadamia nut butter, good coffee and great conversation. She believes that kindness is a superpower and that the best experiences in life are found in the least likely places.

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  1. AndreaM

    oh man i just love bad foods, all these options are bad & i love them.

    4 years ago •

  1. Pseudo_kate

    My absolute weakness is dried mango strips. I can say no to many treats but that’s something I just indulge in. But yes, very true on the high sugar thing.

    4 years ago •

  1. Joey

    Everything in moderation, you can’t stuff your face with these things everyday and sip on coke light and think hmmm why aren’t I loosing weight haha

    4 years ago •

  1. Chantelle Thompson

    Thank goodness I don’t eat any of these. You can make your own vegetable crisps with a food dehydrator and can do without most of the other things in the list. If you are a sushi lover you can learn how to make cauliflower sushi which replaces the rice, much healthier

    4 years ago •

  1. Bianca Welgemoed

    Great read! Even though some of these are more ultimate favourites :(

    4 years ago •


    This article makes a lot of sense. I can see how sugar and sodium can turn a healthy food into something completely unhealthy.

    4 years ago •

  1. Crystal Anne Anthony

    If you are trying to lose weight, fresh fruit and yoghurt with a cup of green tea for breakfast is quite amazing! I wouldn’t eat any of the above for ‘healthy eating’.

    4 years ago •

  1. Gervase

    LOL, is it a good or bad thing that I dont really like any of these items? :blushing:

    4 years ago •

  1. Salmaa Moosa

    I always knew that low fat yogurt wasn’t as healthy as they say! Thanks for the confirmation.

    4 years ago •

  1. Mark Parr

    What a shocker. Always thought Dried Fruit and Low Fat Yoghurt was healthy.

    4 years ago •

  1. Kariwo

    Yup, these foods aren’t as healthy as one would think. But, as they say… everything in moderation. A few Yoghurt-covered nuts aren’t toooo bad.

    4 years ago •

  1. Cookie Nandlall

    I am always hoping for low- fat products assuming it is a better alternative not realising the sugar and additive content.

    4 years ago •

  1. Nixxi

    Aaaaaw this just proves that everything that tastes nice is unhealthy, bummer :(

    4 years ago •

  1. Pravina

    This is an eye opener. I actually had no idea about the low-fat yoghurt and yoghurt covered nuts. Its Greek yoghurt for me from now on. I have been staying away from dried fruit and muffins since my teens and it definitely made a difference to healthy living. Sushi! Totally agree find the restaurants that are “sushi savvy” if I can put it that way and a treat now and again is forgivable.

    4 years ago •

  1. Ingrid Peters

    I totally agree that muffins are no better than cake unless you have bran that taste of sawdust and any processed supermarket deli meats and sausages are not great. I do think vegetable crisps may be a better option for a savoury snack though I personally prefer good old cheap popcorn. Dried fruit isn’t all bad and adds fibre especially mixed with some nuts sans fake yoghurt and low fat, sugar free yoghurt you have a pretty balanced, healthy snack or light meal.

    4 years ago •

  1. Tanya Lawrence

    So much for sushi, I am a sushi addict. On a bit of different noted but still related I have started dieting – I have cut out carbs and I have dropped from 86kgs to 81kgs in 5/6 days. I must admit the craving for sugar is driving me nuts but I am taking it one day at a time. My craving for sushi has increased but now after reading this no more shelf sushi, Sakura here I come.

    4 years ago •

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