If you’re trying to get healthier and watching your diet, there are pitfalls and snare traps ahead. You’ll often see foods listed gluten free or vegetarian, indicating they’re good for you. Instead, many of the foods you go out of you way to eat because they’re good for you, are really healthy foods you should be avoiding. Ah, the magic of advertising doing its best to trick you, either through packaging and presentation or smart ad campaigns. Here are a few foods that really look good for you, but when you read the ingredients, find they fall short of your goal for healthy eating.

Sports drinks aren’t always necessary.

While people that workout for hours each day, run marathons or workout in the heat may need to boost their electrolytes, most people who workout in the gym or just sweat, don’t. Sport’s drinks are loaded with extra sugar to add flavor. Extra sugar means extra calories that aren’t good for you or necessary. Rather than grabbing that bottle of your favorite sport’s drink, grab a bottle of water. It rehydrates you without the calories and is a far healthier addition to your diet.

Power/energy bars and granola bars look like they have the right stuff.

Fruit, nuts, seeds and grains seem healthy enough, but wait! Read the ingredients. Many of these bars are loaded with sugar and chemicals that are difficult to pronounce. In most cases, if the word power is attached, it usually means sugar and chemicals are somewhere at the top of the list on ingredients. If you need a healthy snack, look for granola bars or energy bars that contain just a few ingredients and make sure they’re whole foods like nuts and fruit. Read the labels carefully to make sure it’s healthy for you, not just for the company’s sales and profit margin.

Multi-grain bread doesn’t always tell the whole story.

There are some good multi-grain breads, such as Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain bread, Dave’s Killer Bread Thin-Sliced Whole Grains and Seeds, Oroweat 100% Whole Wheat and The Baker 9-Grain Bread. While you can’t eat a loaf of these and expect to lose weight or be healthier, you can include a slice or two in your meal plan. Most bread that tout the labels “7-grain” or “multigrain” actually contain very little of those ingredients, but instead the first ingredients are actually refined flour and grains with a touch of sugar. Check out ingredients and if the word “unbleached enriched wheat flour” or “bleached wheat flour” is at the top of the list, choose another option!

  • To ensure you make the smartest choices, read the label before you buy or better yet, choose whole foods. If you are hungry for a snack, a piece of fresh fruit or handful of raw nuts.
  • Oatmeal is healthy and good for blood sugar control, as well as filling you up with fiber, but those packets of flavored instant oatmeal contain high amounts of sugar and sodium to negate those benefits.
  • Dried fruit and fruit juice may seem like a super healthy addition to your diet, but both are missing something important. Dried fruit is missing water, stripping it of water soluble nutrients and causing you to overeat. Fruit juice doesn’t give you the fiber to fill up and can also boost your calorie count.
  • Low fat peanut butter? Not so good. Eating regular peanut butter with no added ingredients is a healthier way to go. Not all fat is bad, particularly if the low fat alternative has added sugar to make it more palatable.