10 Surprising Foods which are Bad for Your Health

To stay healthy we’re now supposed to eat 7 fruit and vegetables a day, we have to exercise regularly, steer clear of takeaways and drink plenty of water. However, even after we’ve followed all the rules and been as careful as we could, there are still foods that we thought were healthy but are actually bad for us. Breakfast can be a source of many problems with so many supposed healthy foods a den of nutritional sins hence there are several breakfast culprits in the list of ten that we’ve selected that you need to be aware of:


1) Fruit juice

Eating an orange is much better than drinking a glass of shop-bought orange juice because not only has the fibre been stripped from the fruit in the juicing process but extra sugars and sweeteners are often added which can make drinking your morning glass of OJ nearly as unhealthy as drinking a fizzy, sugary drink.  So make sure you read the label – products with made from concentrate and nectars should be avoided –but made from freshly squeezed oranges are the best to drink.

2) Flavoured instant porridge

It’s quick and easy to make and many of us think we’re being extra healthy when we cover it with fresh fruit. However, these instant packets contain lots of sugar and sodium that is not present in natural oats – it’s worth just getting up 10 minutes earlier and making the real thing like your granny did – on the hob. Or even better add water to the oats the night before, the soaking process will soften them and ensure they cook quicker.

3) Decaffeinated coffee

“Mine will be a decaff” … is so often heard in cafes but the truth is the process used to decaffeinate coffee beans, tea leaves and cocoa involves chemicals that we don’t want to ingest in large amounts. The beans are steamed and then rinsed with a solvent which is repeated several times until it meets the international standards of 97% of the caffeine removed.  So unless caffeine doesn’t agree with you stick to the real stuff but limit it to 3 drinks per day and replace your cuppa with herbal tea in the evening.

4) Granola

Let’s not kid ourselves something that tastes this sweet is just too good to be true….and it is.  Most granolas are packed with sugar, read the ingredients and sugar is usually the second highest ingredient on the list. Homemade granola made from toasted seeds and a little bit of honey is an excellent breakfast choice but as far as the vast majority of supermarket brands go you’re often eating a product as high in sugar as a bowl of Coco Pops.

5) Breakfast biscuits

My heart sank when I heard the advertising for these a couple of years ago. Why do we need to start eating biscuits at breakfast? These are another con from the cereal manufacturers – more sugar, more energy slumps – there’s nothing healthy about eating a biscuit for breakfast even if it is advertised as being high in oats when the high amount of sugar is omitted from the advertising.  If you need to have breakfast on the run eat a banana with some oat cakes for a sustainable breakfast that will keep you going all morning.

6) Peanuts

Dry-roasted, Thai-sweet chili, barbeque, wasabi flavour…the choice of peanut coatings on display on supermarket shelves is vast. However, whilst they might taste nice, this delicious coating has turned a healthy snack into a very unhealthy one. These coatings are full of additives and ‘flavour enhancers’ that are extremely high in fat and salt content. Plain, unsalted or uncoated peanuts? Snack away.

7) Energy bars

Suffering at work and in need of a boost? Many of us reach for the caffeine or sometimes an energy bar. Bad move. Lots of people eat them before a workout too, which is equally a bad move. These supposedly healthy bars are frequently filled with added sugars, syrup and dried fruit, hence the quick burst of energy followed by a pretty hard slump. If you read the labels the sugar content can be as high as in a chocolate bar.  The energy buzz will be short and sweet (no pun intended) but the following slump will be long and drawn out.

8) ‘Low-fat’

The trend for ‘low-fat’ foods kicked off about 20 years ago and the market has boomed with manufacturers cashing in on our desire to lose weight and get healthy. Unfortunately we’ve been well and truly duped on this one, fat has been demonised and yet we all need certain fats to function physically and mentally. Low fat foods don’t taste good so sugar is added as well as salt to make them more palatable. The last thing that is going to happen is a reduced waist line and lower cholesterol levels.  Beware of low fat foods because what the label should read is high sugar content.

9) Yoghurts

Yoghurt in its original unadulterated form is a highly beneficial fermented food but unfortunately the vast majority of yoghurt found on our supermarket shelves now is far removed from the original product. The label sweet desert would be more appropriate than yoghurt.  Over- produce yoghurt is one of the low fat con foods. If you stick with live, natural yoghurt – then you can add your own fruit.  The worst culprits are the flavoured yoghurts which have as much as 6 teaspoons of sugar added so you might as well eat a chocolate mousse or an ice cream.

10) Prepared salad

“I’ll be healthy, I’ll buy a salad” – how many times have you done that? Prepared salads can be just as bad for you as the tempting-looking BLT next to it on the shelf, especially if there are lashings of mayonnaise and cheese.  The leaf only salads are fine but be careful of the accompanying dressings, especially the creamy ones.

For a more nutritious lunch why not make your own salad at home and save a fortune in the process?
If you’d like help knowing which foods you should be eating that are better for you whilst bearing in mind your food intolerance then make sure to look at our Ideal Weight Programme.