It's the new year and we might be swearing off donuts, greasy pizza, or deep-fried something-or-other. While it is true that these kinds of foods aren’t good for us, there are many foods that join them on the list of unhealthy foods-- and some that may surprise us. Some foods that are typically thought of as “okay” for us or even downright “good” for us are actually just the opposite, sabotaging our efforts to eat healthier this year.

Fruit juice, granola bars, cereal - all considered healthy foods.  Many of these foods and others that we think of as healthy can actually be high in calories, sugar, fat, and carbohydrates. These are common foods,  but we don’t know always pay attention to the ingredients.

To be fair, not all of these products are created equally. There are healthier versions of many of these foods. That is why it is important for us to be educated consumers and always read the food label before we just assume it is good for us and toss it in our shopping cart.  Check out the top eight foods you think are healthy but really aren't.

  • Okea - Thinkstock
    Okea - Thinkstock


    Cereal is a go-to food to eat for breakfast. However, most cereals are actually filled with sugar and refined carbohydrates. These ingredients are especially fattening, and increases your blood sugar.

  • Jupiterimages - Thinkstock
    Jupiterimages - Thinkstock

    Diet Soda

    Who would think diet soda is fattening? It’s better than regular soda- right? Wrong! People move to diet soda because of the amount of sugar that is in regular soda. However, the amount of artificial sweetener in diet soda actually makes people want to eat more!

  • Baiba Opule - Thinkstock
    Baiba Opule - Thinkstock


    If granola is made naturally, then it is a great addition to your diet. However, granola that is sold in many stores contains sugar and other fattening ingredients.

  • Mark Herreid - Thinkstock
    Mark Herreid - Thinkstock

    Fruit Juice

    What can be wrong with fruit juice? It contains fruit so it has to be healthy, right? Actually, that is mostly wrong. A lot of fruit juice is actually just flavored sugar water. Instead of drinking empty calories, eat a piece of real fruit and you will get the benefit of the fiber as well.

  • Bob Ingelhart - Thinkstock
    Bob Ingelhart - Thinkstock

    Salad Dressing

    This one may be the most shocking fattening item on the list. Salads are seen as the pinnacle of healthy eating. When people drown their salads in dressing, however, they are detracting from the benefits of the healthy greens.Many dressings are full of fat and sugar.  Your best bet - make your own with some vinegar and a dash of olive oil (not too much since a tablespoon is 100 calories).

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    Canned Soup

    Who doesn't love soup? The big kicker with store bought soup is that it contains massive amounts of sodium. However, when made correctly, soup can provide a hearty and healthy meal packed full of vitamins and other key nutrients. For this reason, try making homemade soup. That way, we know exactly what is going into it and won’t fall into the high salt trap of the canned varieties.

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    Processed Meats

    Ham, sausage, bologna… okay.  Maybe we knew these weren’t exactly superfoods, but they might be a lot worse for us than we thought. Processed meats are modified to contain nitrates and other chemical additives to help preserve the meat for longer and enhance the color. Some processed meats such as sausages are also made up of leftover, unwanted parts of animals, mixed up with high amounts of salt and fat. Consuming processed meat can also cause health risks including high blood pressure, heart disease, and some forms of cancer.

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    Gluten-Free Snacks

    About one-third of the U.S. population actively tries to avoid gluten. Yet, people often replace healthy, gluten-containing foods with processed junk foods that happen to be gluten-free. These gluten-free replacement products are often high in sugar and refined grains like corn starch or tapioca starch. These ingredients may trigger rapid spikes in blood sugar and are low in essential nutrients. This is not to say that all gluten-free snacks are bad, but being gluten-free does not automatically make food healthy.

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