11 Health Food Imposters to Avoid

Every time you walk into a grocery store, you face a daunting task: picking the healthiest, most nutrient-packed foods to fuel your active lifestyle from thousands of choices. But colorful packaging, deceptive claims, and hidden ingredients confuse even the savviest shopper. Though they may seem like healthy options, here are 11 items that you should steer your cart away from the next time you go shopping.

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Presliced packaged fruit Slicing ahead of time exposes more surface area, raising the risk for nutrient loss from oxygen exposure. And the packages are more expensive than whole fruit.

Iceberg lettuce One of the most popular vegetables is also one of the least nutrient-dense. In general, the darker the leafy green, the bigger the nutritional bang.

Bottled smoothies Many are sweetened with sugar or nutritionally poor juices like apple or pear. Plus, they almost always cost much more than making your own.

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Yogurt-covered nuts and pretzels This fake yogurt covering is made with added sugars and unhealthy fats.

Salted nuts and seeds Eating too many will put you into calorie and sodium overload.

Sweetened dried fruits
Some dried fruits (e.g., cranberries) are bathed in extra sugars. Scoop unsweetened.

Fat-free dressings "Fat is often replaced with sugars or other fillers," says Taub-Dix, "so these dressings may contain nearly as many calories as regular versions." Plus, you need some fat--it helps your body absorb vitamins and antioxidants.

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Vegetable oils Made from corn, soybean, or cottonseed, these heavily refined oils are high in inflammation-causing omega-6 fatty acids.

Fruit-on-the-bottom yogurts are loaded with sugars, syrups, flavorings, and artificial ingredients.

Liquid egg whites
lack the vital nutrients in an egg, including vitamin D and the brain-boosting compound choline.

Vanilla soy milk is packed with added sugar. The best choices are unsweetened and fortified with calcium and vitamins.

Now that you know which foods to skip during your next trip to the supermarket, learn which ones you should pick instead in our Ultimate Supermarket Shopping List.

TELL US: Are you guilty of purchasing one or more of these items? If so, what made you decide to buy them?

--by Matthew G. Kadey, M.Sc., R.D., Runner's World

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