16 Foods Nutritionists Never Ever Eat

foods nutritionists won't eatWe're all familiar with the expression "You are what you eat," but have you ever looked down at your food and truly wondered, "What's in here anyway?" or "Should I really eat this?" We asked nutritionists to reveal the foods they'd never consume and the reasons they shun them.


While some foods on the "No List" were to be expected, others are a bit of a surprise! Check out their top picks and see if you'll be crossing these items off your grocery list.

1. Artificially-colored anything:

"I don’t even want to think about the amount of artificially colored stuff I ate when I was a kid," says Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, nutrition expert, mom of three, and author of Eating in Color. "While there’s no proven link between artificial food dyes and ADHD or other behavioral issues, I’d rather have my family stick to foods that contain naturally derived colors. And these days there are so many for companies and consumers to choose from!"

2. Juice:

Chelsea Fuchs, MS, RD, CDN regards juice as "empty calories and loaded with sugar!" 

"In fact, just one cup of orange juice has around 110 calories and 20 grams of sugar. The added sugar in OJ is stored as fat. There is also little protein or fiber, meaning that if you’re hungry, juice won’t help to hold you over. Instead of juice, I recommend patients have the whole fruit instead. It delivers more nutrition -- think fiber and antioxidants -- and there is no added sugar like there is in that glass of OJ, meaning your body will burn energy instead of storing fat."

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3. Dippin Dots:

"Kids love this stuff," Largeman-Roth says. "They always sell it at zoos and amusement parks. It’s ice cream that’s been cryogenically frozen into little beads. No thanks, I’ll take the regular stuff that has to be scooped any day."

4.  Peanut butter:

"Peanuts are highly allergenic and not the kind of nuts I encourage you to eat," explains Gabrielle Francis, naturopathic doctor, chiropractor, acupuncturist, and author of The Rockstar Remedy. "Most peanut butter is filled with ingredients like corn syrup and hydrogenated oils -– it’s like a tub of peanut-flavored Crisco. If you must eat peanut butter, buy (the) all-natural variety or go to a store where you can grind it yourself –- but try to make the switch to all-natural almond butter."

5. Breadsticks and cheese dip combo packs:

Sofia Abdelkafi, nutritionist. R.D. Bsc says any package with the words "made with real cheese" scare her.

"For me, not real cheese or not real food is not even an option. Then, the list of ingredients is huge: preservatives, emulsifiers, artificial flavor, colors, hydrogenated. This list is a nightmare," she says.

6. Lunch meats:

"Even if you aren’t vegetarian or vegan, avoid lunch meats," Francis advises. "If you can’t live without your salami or charcuterie, buy brands that contain zero nitrates and nitrites. They may be labeled as 'uncured' or 'nitrate-free.'"

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7. Highly-processed hot dogs & sausages

"Ultra-processed animal food usually disgusts me," Abdelkafi says. "High high chances they use animals ‘living’ in extremely bad conditions and the ingredients are really shady. If the meat is from a butcher no problem."

8. Non-dairy creamer:

"Non-dairy creamer is total junk, a concoction of gross high fructose corn syrup, mono- and diglycerides, and straight trans fat," says Michelle Davenport, PhD, RD.

9. Artificial sweeteners:

"They contain aspartame, saccharin, or sucralose," Francis says. "Basically, they’re chemicals in a pretty little packet. Try natural sugar alternatives like local raw organic honey or agave."

10. Diet soda:

"Diet soda is full of artificial ingredients. Artificial sweeteners are just one of the ingredients in diet soda which I avoid," notes Lisa D. Ellis, MS, RDN, CDN, LMSW, CEDRD

11. Maraschino cherries:

"These things are full of sugar, artificial dyes, and are nothing like the natural fruit when it comes to nutrition," Davenport says.

12. Energy bars:

"There’s a fine line between energy bars and savvy marketing that puts a healthy-sounding twist on what’s essentially a Snickers," notes Francis. "If you’re looking for a great alternative bar, look for brands that contain at least 10-15 grams of protein coming from hemp, nut butters, whey protein, or pea or rice proteins. The junk to avoid: soy isolates, chemical sweeteners, preservatives, artificial colors or flavorings casein, which is cow’s milk, and anything hydrogenated. Ideally, keep the carb count less than 25 grams. Better yet? Switch to all-natural raw protein bars, which are high nutritious energy boosters."

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13. Conventionally-grown strawberries:

"I love strawberries, but when they're grown conventionally, the risk isn't worth the reward. Strawberries are so absorbent that they retain pesticides even after washing. Stick to organic strawberries," Davenport says.

14.  Stick margarine

"(Stick margarine) is loaded with trans fat –- yes, that’s the bad type of fat the increases LDL cholesterol and can increase one’s risk for heart disease," Fuchs says. "I actually like to use algae oil in place of margarine. Algae oil is a new trendy cooking oil that has a super high smoke point, so it can be used in a wide variety of applications, in place of margarine. It has unprecedented levels of monounsaturated fats (the good fats!) and low levels of saturated fat, so it’s a great choice for anyone looking to move the needle toward a healthier diet."

15. Microwave Popcorn:

"It's a processed food that is loaded with fat and sodium and even worse, the bag lining has diacetyl in it," notes Rebecca Lewis, in-house RD for HelloFresh. "This chemical gives popcorn it's buttery flavor, however, it is also toxic when heated!"

16. Soy sauce:

"It's ridiculously high in sodium -- one tablespoon equals 920mg of sodium -- and contains MSG, which is something many are sensitive to (and has been) linked to headaches, ringing in the ears, bloating, among other symptoms," Lewis says.

If you want to eat like a nutritionist, or even just a bit healthier, here's a great starting point!

foods nutritionists won't eat

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