8 foods you might think are healthy but they aren’t

8 foods you might think are healthy but they aren’t

Added sugar is the problem in most of the foods below

Granola cereal and granola bars

Granola cereal

On average, 1/2 cup of granola cereal has 12 grams of sugar and 300 calories.

Compare this to 1/2 cup of uncooked oats which only has 0.4 grams of sugar and 104 calories. This means that almost all of the sugar in granola is added.
How to spot added sugar in your food?

Granola bars

On average, a granola bar has 12.4 grams of sugar and 113 calories.

  • Nearly half of these calories come from sugar!
  • 12.4 grams of sugar x 4 calories per gram = 49.6 calories of sugar

Common granola bar additions include honey, chocolate, dried cranberries, maple, brown sugar, and other sugary ingredients.


If you eat flavored oatmeal, (for example, ‘apples and cinnamon’) you’re probably getting as much added sugar as the granola mentioned above.

Add your own fresh apple slices and ground cinnamon to plain oatmeal for a much healthier option with zero added sugar.

Most cereals in general contain a lot of added sugar.
13 quick, healthy breakfast ideas

Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits

  • Vanilla yogurt (8-ounce serving) can have up to 34 grams of sugar, and nearly 2/3 of that sugar (23 grams) is probably added!
  • Plain yogurt in comparison contains only 11 grams of sugar, and it is all naturally occurring (not added).

Granola is commonly added to parfaits and will contains at least another six grams of added sugar.

Combine these six grams of added sugar to the 23 grams of added sugar already in the vanilla yogurt and you could be getting more than the recommended limit for an entire day!
How much sugar can I have in a day?


Some smoothies contain as much as 80-90 grams of sugar! Common ingredients in smoothies are:

  • Added sugar and/or syrup
  • Flavored yogurt or frozen yogurt
  • Ice cream or sorbet
  • Juice

The fresh fruit in smoothies is not the problem. The problem is all the added sugar from the syrup, yogurt, juice, concentrates, and/or ice cream mixed in with the fruit.


If you order a salad to cut calories, you might be surprised to learn that many salads have more than 1,000 calories!

  • A tostada salad with chicken (and without dressing) can be 1500 calories!
  • A Santa Fe chicken salad without dressing can be 900 calories.
  • The creamy ranch dressing on either salad can add another 270 calories!

Most restaurants have menus and nutritional information online. Look up the calorie count for your favorite salad or other meal.

Tricks to eat healthy and save calories at a restaurant

Tuna salad, chicken salad, and egg salad

The problem with these or other “salads” isn’t the tuna, chicken, or eggs. It’s the mayonnaise. Every ounce (two tablespoons) of mayonnaise has 180 calories.

On average:

  • A tuna sandwich (5 oz.) has 679 calories
  • An overstuffed tuna sandwich (7 oz.) has 771 calories


Eat fresh fruit instead of fruit juice.

  • A 15.2 ounce bottle of grape juice can have 72 grams of sugar, some of which is from added sugar.
  • In comparison, one cup of grapes has 23 grams of sugar, and it’s all naturally occurring.

Even light (or lite) juices contain a lot of added sugar. The first two ingredients are oftentimes water and sugar.


Stephanie's Certifications and Experience
About the Author
Stephanie Averkamp

About the Author was created by Stephanie Averkamp, a recognized health and fitness professional and sole-author of the content on this website. Stephanie's approach to weight loss emphasizes making small, realistic, and permanent lifestyle changes. Read more...

Stephanie Averkamp

Our Approach: Short-term solutions (like dieting) are unrealistic and ineffective because at some point they end. As soon as a diet or program ends, so do the results. Permanent weight loss is a journey; it's not a race or competition and there is no finish line. Read more...