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The 9 Most Overrated Foods

Updated: Dec 20, 2021

Here is the list you've been waiting for. Or maybe you haven't been. But it's here nonetheless.

We find at Quizzify that it is much easier to change employee behavior through knowledge rather than lectures, and through specifics rather than generalities like "eat a healthy breakfast." Knowledge and specifics are what this list is all about. (Most major wellness vendors couldn't get specific even if they wanted to, because they service processed food companies. Quizzify refuses to sell to companies whose products are laden with sugar. That means we can, uh, take appellations and kick posteriors.)

Note that “overrated” doesn’t mean “unhealthy.” Plenty of things are unhealthier than these. Yet “overrated” may be worse than "unhealthy," because an overrated food is one you think is healthy, but is just the opposite. So you eat much more than you should...and feel really good about yourself as a result.

(1) Kellogg’s Smart Start with antioxidants

An health risk assessment advises you to “eat a healthy breakfast.” But what does that mean? It turns out that even some of the most popular healthy cereals are full of added sugars. Kellogg’s Smart Start with Antioxidants, sounds very healthy and is clearly targeting the “eat a healthy breakfast” segment of the market.

Unfortunately, it is also on Eat This Not That’s list of 20 Worst 'Good-for-You' Cereals.

Like most cereals, a serving is mostly carbs, including 14 grams of added sugar. That's a fair amount of added sugar in an absolute sense...and it's a huge amount for a "heart-healthy" cereal, given that sugar itself contributes to heart disease. Added anti-oxidants are also among the most overrated, non-evidence-based ingredients on earth.

Once again, focus on the word "overrated." Smart Start is a big step up from Captain Crunch, but simply would not qualify as a health food. Not even close.

(2) Granola bars

These are Quizzify's go-to bad boys of overrated processed foods. We feature Quaker's Quinoa Granola Bar on our home page quiz, as an example of how the food companies make the first ingredient sound healthy, and then "sprinkle" the sugars throughout the ingredients label, often using synonyms instead of the word "sugar" itself.

Clif Bars do list a sugar as a first ingredient, but paid extra to source a sugar that sounds healthy:

Curiously, in a pending lawsuit over the sugar content, the Clif Bar people are arguing that everybody knows energy bars are full of the same time they are actively disguising it.

Nut-intensive Kind Bars are a nutritional step up from most other energy bars, though part (not all) or the reason they contain less sugar is that they are smaller. An even healthier alternative would be protein bars. Much less sugar and much more protein. Most Americans get plenty of protein already, but substituting it for sugar is a good idea.