Health

'Healthy' Foods Dietitians Refuse to Eat

Yogurt with strawberry
meaofoto/Shutterstock

Everyone has a unique definition of "healthy." For some, it means a kale-infused green juice every morning and no carbs after 2pm; for others, it means limiting burger runs to just once a day. 

But what about those foods that trick you into thinking you're eating healthy, but in reality you would have been no worse for wear if you'd eaten that burger? Those foods are total dicks. To find out which ones are masquerading as "good for you," a trio of registered dietitians shared the supposedly healthy foods they don't eat. 

Whole-grain pasta 

"This goes for whole-grain bread, rice, cereal, etc. We've also learned that carbs (even if they're whole grain) can lead to weight gain and high cholesterol. Your body obviously needs carbs -- but choose smart. Consider squash, steamed carrots, sweet potatoes as your carb option." -- Nicole Hermosilla, registered & licensed dietitian, Yale New Haven Hospital
 

Vegan baked goods

"Sure, they don't contain animal products -- but they are loaded with sugar. And sugar equals fat. Duh!" --NH
 

Yogurt 

"Specifically, yogurt that is not plain or unsweetened. It's loaded with unnecessary sugar, even if that means ‘fruit on the bottom.’ That bottom is, in a sense, a pit of sugar shame. Greek yogurt is the best option due to its high protein content, making it satisfying and a great addition to your breakfast or snack. Look for yogurts that contain less than 8g of sugar per one-cup serving." -- Monica Auslander, registered & licensed dietitian, founder of Essence Nutrition Miami 
 

Protein bars

"Like granola bars, protein bars, although high in protein (obviously), may also be very high in sugar and also loaded with messy, dirty, synthetic ingredients like protein isolates, fat substitutes, stabilizers, etc. For the purpose of a snack, or even a quick on-the-go meal, choose a bar, whether it be a protein bar, granola bar, or general food bar, that is high in protein, high in fiber, adequate fat, and lower in sugar. I like Raw Evolution bars, Nature’s Chemistry bars, and KIND bars (but only the types that have less than 5g of sugar)." -- MA

Juices

"Juice is for babies and for cocktails... [it]'s a concentrated source of sugar which has stripped the fruit of its fiber. Not only does it provide a sugar bath for your teeth, it spikes your blood sugar, and has way more calories than a fresh whole fruit from the earth. You are better off eating four raw oranges than drinking 12oz of juice." -- MA
 

Anything "low-fat" or "fat-free"

"These foods are not from this planet. They are alien foods. They have undergone a significant amount of processing in order to create this altered state of fat which often has to be replaced with sugars, fillers, stabilizers, and sacrifices flavor. Not to mention dietary fat is not what makes us fat; it’s added sugars and refined carbohydrates (which usually occur in these alien food creations) that does." -- MA
 

Flavored oatmeal

"Dinosaurs are extinct; so why does oatmeal come flavored with explosive pink dinosaur eggs? Flavored oatmeal is full of salt and sugar. Opt for plain, rolled, or steel-cut oats if you want a nice morning dose of fiber, beta-glucans (they bind to cholesterol), B vitamins, and some protein." -- MA

Protein shake with dumbbell
Nickola_Che/Shutterstock

Protein shakes

"Most people, even athletes, get an adequate amount of protein from a regular diet. I don’t believe that protein shakes are necessary as a protein supplement." -- MA
 

Dried fruit

"This is essentially candy; virtually all the nutrients have jumped ship during the drying process and what's left is purely sugar." -- MA

Baked pita chips

"Yes, they are baked and may be low in fat, but guess what? Just one serving (and let’s be honest, who eats just a few chips?) has 400mg of sodium! That much salt will make you retain fluid, which will make you feel bloated. If you like pita chips, make your own by adding your favorite spices and a little sea salt to fresh pita, and voila!" -- Rocio Garcia, registered and licensed dietitian
 

Pretzels

"So many people love those pretzels. And yes, they’re healthier than chips, but they still contain some yucky ingredients and a whole lot of sodium. Bye-bye abs!" -- RG

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Liz Newman is a freelance writer for Thrillist who's saddened by the appearance of baked pita chips in this article. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @lizn813.