Surprising “healthy” foods you should be avoiding

The majority of us know the obvious food items to stay away from, including junk food, soft drinks, processed foods and deep fried foods, but what about other foods that are marketed to us as ‘healthy’, yet are the exact opposite?

We wanted to set the record straight and reveal some surprisingly unhealthy foods that you should be avoiding, and provide better alternatives so you can make the swap today.

  1. Dried fruit – Although dried foods are advertised as a great source of fibre, they are also very high in sugar. In addition, when these fruits are dried, the water is removed and therefore any fibre left in the fruit is very difficult for our bodies to digest. Another way to look at it is: compare how many fresh grapes you would consume in one sitting in comparison to sultanas? It would be quite challenging to consume 100 fresh grapes at one time, but you could very easily consume 100 sultanas. This huge intake of fructose will wreak havoc on your digestion, ceasing fat burning and causing unwanted symptoms such as bloating and gas.

What do we recommend? We always refer back to real food here at TNN so stick to 1-2 pieces of fresh fruit daily and the best time to consume your fruit is straight after a workout to restore your muscle glycogen.

  1. Muesli bars – The next time you go to bite into that delicious muesli bar take a second to look at the label and read the sugar content. Often they are packed with hidden sugars, that may be disguised on the label as fruit juice concentrate, high-fructose corn syrup or evaporated cane juice just to name a few. Not to mention the large list of preservatives that most of us can’t even pronounce!

What do we recommend? To know exactly what you’re consuming and to avoid any nasty additives, make your own homemade muesli bars. Don’t know where to find a healthy recipe? Try our No Bake Energy Bars here.

  1. Low-fat dairy – When fat is removed from dairy products such as milk and yoghurt, sugar is often added in place. Low-fat products do not offer the fantastic blood sugar control and prolonged energy and fullness that full fat versions do.

What do we recommend? Full fat, unpasteurized organic milk from grass-fed animals is the way to go, and if you love your yoghurt stick to full fat Greek yoghurt. Alternatively, opt for an organic unsweetened almond or coconut milk for a healthy lactose free option.

  1. Margarine – margarine is made of refined and hydrogenated oils that are highly inflammatory, which contributes to premature ageing and detrimental conditions such as heart disease. Margarine is about as far from real food as you can get.

What do we recommend? Organic grass-fed butter, which contains almost no lactose and good levels of healthy fats. Importantly, butter contains minimal ingredients and is perfect for all cooking and especially high temperatures as the fat remains stable.

  1. Supermarket dressings and sauces – Further culprits of large amounts of added sugar, preservatives and hard to pronounce ingredients are supermarket dressings and sauces. To put this into perspective, approximately 1 tablespoon of tomato sauce will contain over a teaspoon of sugar! There’s a reason why these products last for months on end on the supermarket shelves and in your fridge. Bin it!

What do we recommend? Homemade dressings are a fantastic option. For salad dressings, it’s as simple as a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil with some fresh lemon or apple cider vinegar. And if you love your tomato sauce, try our Sugar Free Tomato Sauce here.

  1. Wholemeal bread – “Wholemeal” may sound healthy and claim to contain nutritious whole grains but in actual fact, are made from refined grains that have no nutritional benefit at all. If you want to be sure about this, simply read the nutrition label and see what flour is used, more often than not it will state ‘unbleached enriched wheat flour’ and contain refined oils such as vegetable oils.

What do we recommend? The store-bought bread option is sourdough, as it undergoes the process of fermentation making it easier for our bodies to digest. Please keep in mind that this is not gluten free, and still considered a “sometimes food”. An even better alternative is making your own homemade bread, such as our Almost Paleo Vegie Bread.

If you would like your current diet assessed or need help setting nutrition and body composition goals, with an effective plan to follow, please book your appointment online here or contact for enquiries.


  1. Helen

    Loving your recipes and suggestions

  2. Elyse Lagos

    Thank you Helen, I’m so glad to hear!

  3. nyree anderson

    reinforcing healthy habits, you do an amazing job

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