Special Report

17 'Healthy' Foods That Are Actually Ruining Your Diet

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1. Salad dressing

“Store bought salad dressings are often hard to pick when trying to lose weight,” Rivera said. The problem with them is that they can be very high in calories. “I always recommend making at-home salad dressings, but if I had to recommend a specific store-bought dressing I would [recommend] a yogurt-based dressing.”

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2. Deli meats

“Deli meats are usually not ideal for someone who is trying to lose weight because of [their] high sodium content,” Rivera said. Consumption of high sodium can cause water retention and could cause frustration for the person who doesn’t see the scale moving, she explained. Research has shown that high intake of sodium over time can increase the risk for obesity. In one study, consuming an extra gram of salt each day was associated with an increased risk of obesity in children by 28%. Another study found a link between sodium and more body fat in younger adults, but not in people over 65.

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3. Fruit juice

Fruit juice isn’t ideal for someone trying to lose weight because of its added sugar, Rivera explained. “If the nutrition label is misread, a lot more calories can be consumed without knowing.” Added sugar is the No. 1 ingredient Rivera always recommends her clients to stay away from “[b]ecause it is highly addictive and at times may be a trigger ingredient to [binge on] other foods.” Make sure these foods are not among the unhealthiest items in fast food restaurants.

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4. Cereal

“For all of my weight loss clients I recommend not buying cereals for the simple fact that most have high sugar content,” Rivera said. When sugar is consumed, dopamine (a chemical released in the brain that helps regulate learning and emotional responses among other things) is released. “Research shows that sugar is just as addictive as cocaine,” Rivera added. Though this claim is contested among scientists, high consumption of sugar can increase the risk of health issues such as obesity and diabetes. Also, calories from sugar can add up quickly if a person is not mindful of serving sizes, she noted. There are healthier versions of old school snacks you can choose.

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5. Frozen foods

“Frozen foods are very convenient; however, [they] are usually packed with high amounts of sodium for preservation,” Rivera said. “I recommend my weight-loss clients to opt of no salt added frozen veggies or no sugar added frozen fruits.” Everything else would not be recommended for someone in a weight loss phase, she noted.

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