A lot of the food we consider healthy is not actually healthy because people have misconceptions about what is actually healthy. Many people think high-fat foods are very unhealthy, so they replace it with things marked as low-fat. But fat helps makes food taste good. To make low-fat foods taste good, food companies use sugar instead. But sugar is much worse than fat. It causes depression and turns our livers to fat because our bodies cannot process it correctly. It can increase blood glucose levels very quickly which makes it very bad for people with diabetes. It also causes diabetes because it increases insulin tolerance.

Woman biting on a energy bar representing hidden sugary foods

Unfortunately, sugar is everywhere. Even the amount of supposedly healthy foods can be harmful. Here are some foods that are considered healthy but are not really healthy because of the sugar in them.

Energy bars and granola bars

Energy bars and granola bars sometimes have more sugar than certain candy bars and yet they are still marketed as and perceived as healthy. They seem like a convenient and healthy snack for a hike or to take to work, but really they are full of sugar and preservatives. If you are really attached to your energy bars, look at the ingredients. The less unrecognizable ingredients, the better. Some granola bars, like KIND bars, only have nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. Check the nutrition facts as well, to make sure the granola bar contains less than 20 grams of sugar. Otherwise, the bar contains more bad than good.

Bran muffins

Bran is a very healthy fiber by itself, with a lot of nutritional benefits. But bran muffins have an overwhelming amount of sugar in them to make the bran flavor less noticeable. Big bran muffins sometimes have more sugar than donuts. Avoid bran muffins from the store or bakery. If you make them yourselves, cut the sugar in the recipe by at least half and replace it with cinnamon or nutmeg for flavor. But it is better to avoid these anyway.


Oatmeal is actually fine when it is plain. But people generally put a lot of sugar or brown sugar on it. Flavored instant oatmeal has too much sugar in it to be considered even remotely healthy. Even apples and cinnamon flavored instant oatmeal has too much sugar.

Trail mix

Trail mix has a lot of healthy things in it like nuts and seeds. Trail mix can even contain very dark pieces of chocolate are good when they have little to no sugar in them. But even trail mix has hidden sugars in it, like chocolate chips, yogurt-covered nuts, and candied fruit. Keep an eye out for these when choosing your trail mix, or make your own with only nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and cacao pieces.

Baked beans

Beans are healthy, but not when they are used in baked beans. Baked beans are full of sugar, molasses, and syrup. Even though they are a dinner item, they have just as much sugar as desserts. If you want something more than plain beans, then try making black bean burgers, bean soup, or one of the many other excellent recipes with beans that do not include a huge amount of sugar.

Fat is not bad for us, at least not as bad as everyone thinks. We need fat the same as carbohydrates and both are healthy for us in moderation. Sugar is not healthy at all and is the true culprit for a lot of the health and medical problems we face today. Do not fall for marketing campaigns and avoid these pseudo-healthy foods.

For more information about hidden sugars in food, please contact us.


David Michael Gilbertson is the founder and president of 3 Elements Lifestyle, LLC., a Fitness and Weight Loss company that specializes in YOU!. With more than 15 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, David lectures, delivers seminars and gives workshops on the practical skills required to successfully help you with your health and fitness goals. David also helps you build the teamwork, management, and training necessary to open your own fitness center. For more information on Licensing and Consulting Services Visit his Web site at: www.3elementslifestyle.com or email at daveg@3elementslifestyle.com or call 805.499.3030


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