8 Unhealthy Foods you Thought were Healthy - THE FIT MUM FORMULA

8 Unhealthy Foods you Thought were Healthy

unhealthy foods cereal

Funny how foods and diets go in and out of fashion. People just can’t seem to make their minds up what are unhealthy foods and what are good for you after all.


Each week brings new research and science, so slowly we are increasing our knowledge of what’s really good for us.


But this is an ongoing process, we certainly won’t know the perfect balance in my lifetime!


But there are a few ‘healthy’ or ‘diet’ foods that, it transpires, aren’t so healthy after all.


Take a look at these and see if you’ve ever chosen them because you believed they were the healthiest option, then next time try and swap the for something better…



Diet Coke.

Calorie free so not fattening in itself, artificial sweeteners appear to make cravings  for sugar worse in some people, which in turn will make resisting sugary treats harder.


Swap for:

Good quality coffee, green or black tea for a pick me up. Fizzy water flavoured with lemon or lime as a thirst quenching drink.

Diet yoghurts.

Added water and cornstarch to reduce calories without becoming watery, so not as much yoghurt in each pot as you might think. Artificial sweeteners and possibly sugar added too, colours and flavour extracts which don’t even come close to real fruit.


Swap for:

Low fat plain yoghurt (or even better strained Greek yoghurt for extra protein), with stewed fruit.


Rice cakes:

Fashionable in the ‘low fat’ era these are pure high GI (quickly digested) starchy carbs that send blood sugar soaring and don’t keep you full at all.


Swap for:

High fibre oatcakes or flax crackers for fibre and healthy fats; one topped with a little peanut butter and an apple is a good snack.


Pasta with tomato sauce.

A quick meal to knock up, but there’s no decent protein here, which makes it a meal easy to eat a lot of calories’ worth in one sitting without it keeping you sustained for very long.


Swap for:

A smaller portion of pasta & sauce, and add some protein such as leftover chicken or some prawns mixed in. Add a side salad for veggies.


Fruit juice.

Concentrated sugar without the fibre. It takes more fruit to make a glass of juice than you would normally eat in one sitting, hence the high sugar and calorie content per typical serving.


Swap for:

Whole pureed fruit (including skin when edible), added to smoothies. Stick to one portion of fruit plus 2 portions of veg (e.g. raspberries with spinach & beetroot).

Many healthy ingredients can be found on buywholefoodsonline here, use code POLLY-IMZB to get 5% off all orders!


Dried fruit.

concentrated sugar, since most if not all of the water has been removed, making dried fruit high sugar and calorie without being satisfying.


Swap for:

Whole fresh fruits and vegetables, including peel where edible, as most of the fibre is in the peel and many nutrients directly under it.


Read this afterwards too > Are You Overeating Healthy Food?


Soy everything.

Soy is difficult for a lot of people to digest (it can cause bloating and other symptoms), and phytic acid inhibits nutrient absorption, and certain compounds mimic oestrogen so can disrupt both male and female hormone balance. Unfermented soy is also thought to affect thyroid functioning. A little soy (soy sauce, tofu etc.) is ok, but don’t go overboard, especially if you are vegan or vegetarian so may be relying on soy for protein.


Swap for:

Use tempeh; fermented soy beans with a similar end product to tofu which can be used in much the same way in cooking, and traditionally fermented soy sauce. Fermenting soy lowers the negative side effects considerably.


Low fat cereal flakes with low fat milk.

Ah that archetypal ‘shape up’ TV commercial. Do you know what commercially reared piglets are fed to fatten them up? Grains with fat free milk! It doesn’t satisfy them, so they keep eating and eating, getting fatter and fatter….


Swap for:

If you like a bowl of grains in the morning try oats or oatbran, preferably only a small bowl with some additional protein and fibre such as an egg or protein powder and an apple alongside, or mix the oats with low fat Greek yoghurt and berries.

Marketing and labelling is so confusing. But sometimes tiny, easy swaps are all you need to get dramatically different results to your health. I’ve got a good video that shows you how to put meals together that are satisfying and healthy but super easy – you can view it here.

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