Special Report

Summer Snacks That Are Actually Ruining Your Diet

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11. Store-bought salad dressings

Most salads are a healthy choice not just in the summer. But store-bought salad dressings are often hard to pick when trying to lose weight, Rivera said. The issue with salad dressings is that they can be very high in calories, she noted. “I always recommend making at-home salad dressings.” However, she noted, if she had to recommend a specific store-bought dressing, it would be a yogurt-based dressing.

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12. Sugar-free anything

“I don’t like sugar-free products because they are full of artificial sweeteners,” Rivera said. Sometimes artificial sweeteners can help reduce sugar consumption and maybe lower calorie intake, but for some people this might be a trigger food and can cause binge eating, she noted. “When trying to lose weight or just be overall healthy, it is best to stick with whole and less processed foods.”

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13. Dried fruits

Though fruits have natural sugars, dried fruit often has added sugar, said Jill Maher, a nutrition health coach in Scottsdale, Arizona. Theoretically, there are fewer calories in dried fruit compared with fresh fruit, but there may be significantly more sugar — and you’re missing out on the water content that makes you feel fuller, she noted. You can easily overeat because of their small size and lose the calorie benefit. Most dried fruits, which are a more concentrated source of nutrients, are made up of more than 50% sugar. High added sugar consumption has been linked to obesity.

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14. Sports drinks

Just 12 ounces of a sports drink can have as many as five teaspoons of sugar and a total of 90 calories. Experts at the Nutrition Source and the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health advise that you only have sports drinks “infrequently and sparingly, if at all.”

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15. Pre-packaged sandwiches

Pre-packaged sandwiches are popular for summer picnics, but some have high levels of salt, fat, and sugar. Some sandwiches, especially those loaded with mayonnaise, are basically a high-calorie bomb. Avoid sandwiches with cold cuts, as they are full of nitrates and sodium. Also, pre-packaged sandwiches are often a day or more old.