Eating healthy can be easier said than done. Sure, you’ve heard about eating colorful meals full with fruits and vegetables of a wide variety. At the same time, you consciously avoid fatty meats, excess carbohydrates, and sugary drinks. But despite your best efforts, food marketers don’t always have your personal health in mind. In fact, so-called health food developers may purposely mislead you in order to turn profits.

 

As you shop for healthier meals, stay away from labels claiming things like “sugar-free,” “natural,” and “organic”. Unfortunately, these have all become gimmicky buzzwords that draw buyers in but oftentimes fall short of their promises.

 

Here is a list of those deceptive health foods that should really be avoided at all costs.

 

Fruit Juice

 

This first one may come as a big surprise. After all, many people opt for fruit juice under the impression that they’ve chosen one of the healthier beverage options. However, there are a couple reasons why this logic doesn’t hold true. For starters, most of these juices available at your local grocery have been pasteurized. This means that most all the vitamins and nutrients found in fruit and all natural juices has been eliminated. Not only is fructose added in its place, but you’re also robbing your body of those vitamins and nutrients.

 

If you love the taste of something sweet to drink, you’re not at a total loss either. Simply manage how your juices are made by learning how to make them at home. You can rest easy knowing that that “all-natural” label really does apply when it comes to your daily diet. Not only is the fruit such an important part of your daily eating habits, but the water content is as well.

 

Keep in mind the importance of diet variation. Excessive fruit intake can cause extreme glucose fluctuation and even lead to hypoglycemia.

 

Microwaveable Popcorn

 

Although this might not have the same shock value as fruit juice making the list, it may not be the kind of news you wanted to hear. Sure it makes for the perfect nighttime snack, picnic tagalong, or movie muncher, but the carcinogens found in popcorn should definitely raise some red flags. It’s not just the popcorn itself, but their coated bags that contains PFOAs, a possible cancer-causing agent.

 

Fake butter flavoring is another reason to second guess this easy snack, or at least, rethink the butter, which contains a compound called diacetyl. And if you just can’t wean yourself off completely, there are organic and butter-free versions that are far less damaging to your health.

 

Conventional Meat

 

Genetically modified meat is pervasive in the American diet especially. Pre-packaged and ready-to-cook meat alternatives—even so called “lean meats” will set you on the fast track to a myriad of health issues. It really is true that what livestock consume, in a roundabout way, you will too. So while you might think of terms like “grass-fed” and “organic” as simple marketing catch phrases, you can start to think instead about what that means for your personal health.

 

The best lifestyle change you can make is buying your meat from a local food source. As close as you can get to the source of the meat products, the better—to know where they come from and how they’re made.

 

 

Margarine

 

People have been making this claim for years, but somehow, it still gets thrown around for debate. The main reason why margarine is so harmful for your body is because it contains trans fats. These fats clog arteries and can lead to serous heart problems including cardiovascular disease. Type II diabetes is also a potential risk.

 

On the other hand, butter also contains fat (of course), but saturated fat, which is said to come along with a long list of healthy vitamins. A great source of vitamins A, E, and K2 can all be found in your average stick of butter.

 

 

Artificial Sweeteners

 

The same butter versus margarine argument rings true when debating sugar versus artificial sweeteners. And in fact, the same logic plays out: feed your body natural vitamin-rich foods, not foreign, fake substitutes.

 

For one, artificial sweeteners have been linked to diabetes, but the list is long. Allergies, breast cancer, headaches, leukemia, seizures, and weight gain have all been linked to overuse of artificial sweeteners.

 

 

So whether you’re on a new health fad or in it for the long run, maintain a healthy way of life by staying far away from these pseudo health foods so that you can reap the long term benefits too.