Special Report

20 Foods and Drinks You Only Think Are Healthy

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6. Store-bought pre-packaged salads

“I would say pre-packaged salad are a last resort,” Rivera said. If they have deli meat included, I would recommend to double check the expiration dates and to try to limit the salad dressings, which are usually packed with calories, she noted. Pre-packaged salads are also a sanitary concern. Bacteria and fecal contamination are not uncommon, according to Consumer Reports. Poor sanitation has resulted in some of the worst food recalls of all time.

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7. Salad dressings

Sometimes, in terms of calorie intake, eating a salad with certain dressings it’s equivalent to eating a cheeseburger and fries, Jill Maher, a nutrition health coach in Scottsdale, Arizona. Many commercial dressings contain corn syrup, which offsets other possible healthy ingredients in the salad, she noted. Many of these dressings are also packed with artificial flavors and colors and sodium-rich preservatives.

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8. Pita chips

“I don’t usually recommend pita chips to my weight loss clients,” Rivera said. The problem is that it’s all too easy to eat a lot of them, packing in the calories. “They are also highly processed and usually high sodium,” she said. It’s probably better to steer clear or choose the baked kind, as the fried ones are usually fried in partially hydrogenated oil (read trans fats), which have been linked to an increased risk of heart problems and diabetes. (These are 10 warning signs you might have diabetes.)

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9. Granola bars

Physically active people love these quick snacks. They have even been marketed as meal replacements. They can be healthy, but that depends on their ingredients. Many commercial versions are high in calories, and depending on the brand, can contain the wrong oils (such as hydrogenated oil), according to San Antonio clinical nutritionist Sarah Treat. Granola bars contain nuts, which have healthy fats, but many also have added oils, as well as sugars in the form of honey, sweetened chocolate, and different kinds of syrup.

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10. Low-fat and non-fat products

It sounds appealing. Fat is usually a bad word and nobody wants to consume a lot of it. Many companies process their products to remove the fat, but the problem is that much of the flavor is lost, too — so they make them taste better by filling them with artificial sweeteners or sugar, Maher said. Flour and other thickeners, which can add calories, are often added as well. Read the labels. If you see a lot of sugar and additives, put the product down and walk away.

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