4 Surprisingly Unhealthy Foods You Might Want to Avoid

Veggie patties
A diet staple for those trying to cut back on meat, veggie patties can be healthy. But many of the processed, frozen versions have more fillers—used to create that burger-like texture—than actual vegetables, dietitian Lona Sandon told WomansDay.com. To ensure your burger is packed with real good-for-you greens, Sandon suggests checking to make sure vegetables are listed at the beginning of the ingredient list.

Energy bars
Praise the marketing geniuses who figured out a way to sell foods that contain more sugar and calories than certain candy bars as healthy. “Protein bars are all just processed chemicals,” Garth Davis, MD, a bariatric surgeon at The Davis Clinic in Houston, Texas and author of The Expert’s Guide to Weight Loss Surgery, told iVillage.com. If you’re going to eat them, pick ones with fewer than 200 calories and 20 grams of sugar per serving, recommends WomansDay.com. Also key: Read labels to choose bars with as few ingredients as possible. Some bars from brands like KIND and Larabar contain just nuts, dried fruit, and seeds.

Flavored instant oatmeal
It’s a whole grain, a healthy grab-and-go breakfast choice, and easily topped with other healthful sides like berries, flax, and nuts. So what could possibly be bad about oatmeal? Well, flavored packets have more sugar and sodium than regular rolled or steel cut oats, notes Prevention.com. A better option: Dress up regular oatmeal with fresh fruit or a small amount of honey.

Reduced-fat peanut butter
Repeat after us: The fat from nuts is good for you! A recent Harvard study found that people who ate an ounce (a small handful) a day had a 20 percent lower risk of dying than people who didn’t. What’s more, when you compare labels of regular and reduced-fat peanut butter, you’ll see that calories are roughly equal. The difference, notes CookingLight.com, is that reduced-fat versions add more sugar to make up for the lack of fat. So choose the regular kind, and stick to 1 to 2 tablespoons per serving.