Special Report

20 Foods and Drinks You Only Think Are Healthy

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11. Fruit-only smoothies

They are “horrible,” Treat said. “Way too much fruit at once.” You have to add some vegetables for better nutritional value, Maher added. “Get some protein, too,” she noted. Striking a balance between vegetables, fruits, protein, and fat is key to making the smoothie a healthy one, she explained. A good rule of thumb is to keep it simple — vegetables and fruits, some milk or yogurt for protein, and certainly no ice cream.

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12. Frozen yogurt

A 2015 survey showed that 95% of Americans think frozen yogurt is healthier than ice cream, but they may be wrong. It is actually an empty-calorie treat that’s high in sugar, Treat said. Also, the freezing process may destroy the probiotics, or good gut bacteria, yogurt is known for — though some may be added back after processing. (These are some of the best foods for your gut health in general.) Frozen yogurt may also actually be slightly higher in sugar content than the equivalent ice cream.

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13. Veggie burgers

These may not be red meat, but they rarely contain green vegetables, either. According to Maher, “They are usually made of starch — beans and other grains.” The protein content in veggies burgers can vary greatly, too. In some, the protein source is actually soy protein isolate, which is basically dry soybeans without the sugar and fiber. Veggie burgers are also typically packed with sodium — as much as 500 mg per serving, according to Consumer Reports. One patty should contain no more than 350 mg.

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14. Bottled iced tea

Some 75% to 80% of all tea consumed in this country is iced tea, and Americans consumed about 1.8 billion gallons of the ready-to-drink version in 2018, according to Consumer Reports. But some brands contain as much sugar, artificial color, and flavorings as soda, Maher said.

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15. Canned soups

To begin with, said Maher, choose cans that aren’t made with bisphenol-A (BPA), an industrial chemical that has been linked to birth defects, some cancers, and obesity. Many brands still uses the substance in their packaging. Also, choose salt-free or reduced sodium soups whenever possible. Most of the sodium Americans consume comes from processed foods, canned soups included, according to the CDC. In addition, noted Maher, canned foods normally have a lot of added preservatives, and that makes them less nutritious than homemade soups. These are the top-selling canned foods in America.