10 Overrated Foods That Don’t Live Up To The Nutrition Hype

By Alexandra Caspero on November 30, 2023

Eating healthy can be hard work. We’re constantly bombarded with messages about the latest superfoods or health foods that promise to improve our well-being. However, some of these so-called “healthy” foods don’t actually live up to the hype. Many are overpriced and overrated when it comes to their actual nutritional value.

To help cut through the noise, we asked nutrition experts which health foods aren’t worth buying.

Nut Milk

Don’t get me wrong, occasionally you’ll find me using almond or coconut milk in my kitchen. However, most nut milks often have a long ingredient list and are filled with gums, fillers, and added vitamins and minerals. There are brands that don’t use these, however, they are 2 or 3x the price! These can be good options if you have a dairy allergy but I don’t believe they are worth the hype.

Stefani Stewart RDN, CLT

Fat-Free Salad Dressing

Fat-free salad dressing

Fat-free salad dressings can frequently disappoint as they often lack flavor. In an attempt to compensate for this, food companies often incorporate ingredients like sugar, sodium, and various additives.

Fat-free salad dressings may be less filling, potentially leaving the individual unsatisfied and increasing the likelihood of overeating later in the day.

Moreover, dietary fat plays a crucial role in facilitating the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are abundant in vegetables commonly found in salads, like carrots, spinach, broccoli, and peppers.

Sarah Harper MS, RD, LDN, Nursing Home Dietitian and the creator behind The Addy Bean: A Flexitarian Food Blog

Greens Powders

Green Powders - Shutterstock
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Greens powders have become increasingly popular in recent years, with many people turning to them as a way to supplement their diets with extra vitamins and antioxidants. While greens powders can be a convenient way to help you reach your daily recommended vegetable and fruit intake, they may not be as effective as eating whole foods. Additionally, some green powders contain fillers, synthetic dyes, artificial sweeteners, and emulsifiers that could leave you feeling bloated and fatigued. It’s important to check the label and ensure that the greens powders you consume only contain greens and maybe a few additions like probiotics. While greens powders can be a good source of nutrients, it’s important to remember that they should not replace a healthy diet that includes a variety of whole foods.

Wan Na Chun, MPH, RD, CPT of One Pot Wellness


Kale - Shutterstock
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

I think Kale is very overrated. Granted it offers great nutrition; however, its texture makes it hard to blend it in smoothies/soups, and it has a distinct taste that many may not like. I feel like Spinach is a better alternative.

Moushumi Mukherjee, MS, RDN, Dietitian Moushumi

Pre-Packaged “Diet” Meals

Pre-packaged “diet” meals - Shutterstock

Pre-packaged “diet” meals are often misleading. They are often focused on restricting calories, often limiting the variety of nutrients offered in the pre-packaged meal. Because these meals are calorie-restricted, they are often not filling or satisfying and could benefit from additional fiber and protein. Additionally, pre-packaged diet meals can be expensive and high in sodium.

Sarah Harper MS, RD, LDN, Nursing Home Dietitian and the creator behind The Addy Bean: A Flexitarian Food Blog

Protein Bars

Protein Bars -Shutterstock
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

There are hundreds of types of protein bars on the market today. Ones boasting all-natural ingredients, nutrients to fuel an active lifestyle, amazing flavors, etc. However, the consistency and ingredients in many of these protein bars fall incredibly short of meeting taste and quality expectations. This is not to mention the grainy mouth-feel, “artificial” taste, and the fact that they can be harder to bite through than leather. 

If you look at their ingredient lists, you’ll find that they have artificial sugars or sugar alcohols, or coatings that are made with palm oil. These coatings can also leave a greasy feeling on the roof of your mouth, not very pleasant. 

Instead, you’re better off eating a piece of fruit and a Greek yogurt or a tuna or egg salad sandwich, which will have a reasonable amount of protein and carbs for energy and, more importantly, will be SATISFYING. 

Kiran Campbell, RD K Campbell Nutrition

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil - Shutterstock
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Coconut oil is much more expensive than regular cooking oils like sunflower or olive oil. It’s higher in saturated fats than these oils too. Oils like sunflower and olive oil are higher in monounsaturated, aka heart-healthy fats.

It’s also lower in certain nutrients compared to other oils. Olive oil has around 160 times more vitamin E, and 120 times more vitamin K than coconut oil.

Shannon Western, Repair Your Cycle

Brown Rice

Brown Rice - Shutterstock
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

I always see brown rice recommended for health benefits, but overall, the nutritional content is not much better than white rice. For example, 1 cup of brown rice only has about 3 grams more fiber compared to white rice. Unfortunately, brown rice also retains more arsenic than white rice. Plus, most people prefer the taste and texture of white rice, and it can be included in a healthful diet in moderation. 

Jennifer Wilhite, MS, RDN, LDN, CDCES, Cardio Metabolic Wellness 

Expensive Gold Shavings

Expensive Gold Shavings - Shutterstock
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Anything with expensive gold shavings! It may look pretty, but often it’s more expensive and carries no nutritional benefits.

Katie Schimmelpfenning, RD, Eat Swim Win

Truffle Oil

Truffle Oil - Shutterstock
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Truffle oil is an overrated food in my book. Many use it with the intention to add the flavor of truffles (a type of fungi) to dishes but end up cooking with it. Authentic and quality truffle oils should be used as a finishing oil to top off and garnish dishes. With its low smoke point, truffle oil loses flavor quickly when exposed to high heat during cooking. Real truffles are a delicacy with a unique, subtle flavor. On the other hand, many truffle oils sold at high cost may actually be synthetic and can have an overpowering, artificial taste, compromising the value it can bring to a dish. 

Jamie Lee McIntyre MS RDN CD-N, Dietitian, Nutrition Expert

The World’s Longest-Living People Eat These 7 Foods Every Day

Happy senior women drinking red wine at bar restaurant - Mature people having fun hanging out on city street - Life style concept with older friends smiling and laughing together
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

There are five places in this world where the healthiest and longest-living people gather. These places are Okinawa (Japan), Sardinia (Italy), Nicoya (Costa Rica), Ikaria (Greece), and Loma Linda (California). These places that assembled the highest concentrations of centenarians are known as The Blue Zones.

Ever wonder how the elders in the five Blue Zone countries maintain their youthful lives? While exercise, purpose, and community are also central tenets of the Blue Zones, food and diet play a large role.

These are the 7 staple foods of the Blue Zones.

35 Speedy and Simple Meals for Busy Nights

Easy Vegan Drunken Noodles

These recipes are ideal for hectic weeknights. Whether you prefer pasta dishes or stir-fries, these flavorful and effortless-to-prepare meals will allow you to unwind and relish your evenings without sacrificing taste.

35 Speedy and Simple Dinner Recipes

The 15 Best Store-Bought Snacks for Healthy Eating, According to Dietitians

Young Asian woman eat potato chips on pink background
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Snacking can seem like a slippery slope when trying to eat better. While nutritious, balanced snacks can curb appetite and help you eat less, those choices are often harder to find. The snack aisle is typically filled with highly processed snacks– chips, cookies, candy, and cheese puffs, not exactly items most of us should be eating more of. 

Having dietitian-approved snacks on hand can make sticking to your health goals much easier when hunger hits. With minimal prep and portion control, these snacks offer an easy way to curb cravings and give your body the fuel it needs.

These are the best store-bought, dietitian-approved snacks.

The 19 Healthiest Foods You Should Be Eating More Of, Say Dietitians

salmon poke bowl (avocado, salmon, carrot, cucumber, red cabbage, radish and rice), top view
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

From nutrient-dense vegetables to protein-packed superfoods, these dietary recommendations are not only delicious but also scientifically proven to promote good health. These are the 19 superfoods that nutrition experts want you to eat more of.

These are the 19 Healthiest Foods You Should Be Eating More Of, Say Dietitians

The Ultimate Plant-Based Protein Cookbook + Course

(Includes 40+ recipes!)


(no comments) leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.