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8 “Healthy” Foods and Drinks that Are Surprisingly Bad For You

There are lots of folks who have their own opinions about which foods are good for you. Nutritionists are routinely weighing in and recommending ways to maintain a healthy diet. It sometimes feels like you’re being bombarded with information. It can be difficult to know what you should and shouldn’t be eating. For instance, you’ve been told for the longest time that dark chocolate is a must, but in reality it only has a neglectable effect on your health. There are other examples of foods that you always thought were great for you, but actually cause harm. With that in mind, here are 8 surprisingly unhealthy foods that you should avoid along with healthy alternatives.

1. Sports Drinks

Gatorade and Powerade are some of the most popular sports drinks that athletes use to replenish themselves. However, they are chock full of sugar. In fact, a 32-ounce bottle contains a whopping 52 grams of sugar, which is more than the recommended daily intake! And let’s not even get into the artificial dyes!

Replace it with: water. Simple as that. If your goal is to hydrate yourself and get enough electrolytes, pure water does the trick.

2. Instant Oatmeal

When you think “oatmeal” you immediately assume it must be wholesome and healthy. You aren’t necessarily wrong, but it all depends on how you’re eating it. If it’s 100% oatmeal from a container, that’s indeed one of the best foods you can eat for breakfast. It reduces blood pressure and contributes to a healthy heart. But if you’re consuming the instant variety, you could be taking in 21 grams of sugar, which is 40% of your daily intake for what you thought was a healthy meal!

Replace it with: regular, unsweetened oatmeal. Toss in a few raw almonds and a touch of honey and you’ll be set!

3. Fruit Juice

Oranges and cherries are healthy, so why wouldn’t a glass of orange or cherry juice be good for you? First of all, you’re just consuming pure sugar with none of the fiber that you’d get from eating a piece of fruit. In fact, drinking a glass of orange juice contains just as much sugar as a can of soda! And don’t be fooled by the “no high fructose corn syrup” boasts. Sugar is sugar no matter the form.

Replace it with: fresh fruits. Think of it this way: if you eat an apple or orange, it will contain enough fiber for you to feel full. But if you’re just drinking the juice, you’re basically eating several oranges or apples with absolutely zero of the fiber.