4. White Chocolate
File this away for : That box of white chocolates isn’t the heart-boosting sweet we’ve come to think of chocolate as (and use as an excuse to eat it regularly). Real contains three must-have components: chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and cocoa solids (often in addition to other ingredients). But the white kind lacks chocolate liquor and cocoa solids—which means it’s also missing , the antioxidants that give the authentic stuff nutritional benefits. In fact, in 2004 the Food and Drug Administration that in order for a product to be called “white chocolate,” it has to contain at least 20 percent cocoa butter and no more than 55 percent sugar or other sweeteners. (This was to stop many manufacturers from using cheaper fats like vegetable oil instead of including cocoa butter).
The Need-to-Know:Despite the FDA ruling, there are still some imposters out there, so look for high-quality white chocolate with cocoa butter, which has an ivory—not pure white—hue. Even better, switch to .
5. Pomegranate Juice
Studies suggest that drinking juice may help prevent certain health conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and congestive heart failurePomegranate juice: a heart-healthy fruit juice. Basu, A., Penugonda, K. Nutrition Reviews. 2009. Jan;67(1):49-56.. Sound too good to be true? It might be if you’re not picky about which bottle you grab. A number of in the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention’s Food Fraud Database found that juices claiming to be pomegranate were actually made of grape juice and grape skins. And in 2014, Pom Wonderful successfully sued Coca-Cola for false advertising after its Minute Maid Pomegranate Blueberry blend turned out to be made almost entirely from apple and grape juice, with only 0.1 percent pomegranate juice.
The Need-to-Know:Since there is some science that points to pomegranate's superfood qualities, you don't have to give it up entirely. Just take this as another reminder to read labels (fun as that is, we know) to be sure your drink is 100 percent pomegranate. Or learn and reap all the health benefits in your own kitchen.
6. Breakfast Syrup
Whipping up a batch of waffles (or even better, ) this weekend? You may want to think twice before adding your toppings. Most breakfast syrups found at the grocery store are nothing like traditional maple syrup, which . Instead of the real stuff from maple trees, lots of are made of two types of corn syrup along with a ton of artificial additives and zero nutritious value (sorry, Aunt Jemima).
The Need-to-Know:Try to avoid the colored corn syrup and go for a bottle that lists 100 percent pure maple syrup as its one and only ingredient. Not only is it a sweeter way to top your flapjacks, but it also contains nutrients like , which helps support your immune system, Roussell says.
7. Bacon Bits
From to and even , bacon continues to be all the rage. But fans of the fatty pork product won’t be too pleased to know that those “” are ! Lacking any animal products, these crispy bites are made of artificially flavored textured soy flour and other ingredients including caramel color, maltodextrin, yeast extract, and flavor enhancers called and .
The Need-to-Know:Whether you eat meat or not, you want to skip this fake food. If you want bacon on your potato, simply chop up a slice of the real thing and sprinkle it on—one tablespoon of bacon isn't going to hurt you, Roussell says. Or try some of to top your spuds with actual food instead.
8. Veggie Burgers
A vegetable-based patty certainly sounds like the better-for-you option over a juicy, medium-rare burger. The problem is that veggies masquerading as meats are usually made of few, if any, actual vegetables! Instead they’re often filled with over-processed ingredients, including wheat gluten, soy, and vegetable oil. A also found that some patties contain hexane, a potentially toxic by-product of gasoline refining. (What?!) As if that’s not enough, some veggie burgers are packed with sodium (as much as 400-plus milligrams—more sodium than a single-serving bag of potato chips—per patty).
The Need-to-Know:Make your own at home. Or opt for gluten-free, soy-free versions like the ones from or Beyond Meat.
9. Popcorn “Butter”
You know that liquid that squirts out of a canister at the theater? No spoiler alert here: It is (dangerously) far from the real, grass-fed deal. This “” (as it’s called on manufacturers’ websites) is typically made mainly from hydrogenated soybean oil (a trans fat), artificial flavoring, beta carotene for color, and preservatives. One tablespoon of the topping delivers nine grams of saturated fat—half a day’s limit—plus half a gram of naturally occurring , the really bad stuff that lowers “good” HDL cholesterol and raises “bad” LDL cholesterolEffects of Dietary Fat Intake on HDL Metabolism. Yanai H., Katsuyama H., Hamasaki H. J Clin Med Res. 2015 Mar;7(3):145-9.. Even more: One common flavoring agent is diacetyl, a toxic substance that has been associated with lung disease.
The Need-to-Know:You’re much better off popping and flavoring your own corn at home (try one of these ). You didn't hear it from us, but if you pack your homemade snack inside a shoebox, no one will suspect anything (except that you scored a new pair of kicks before coming to the theater).
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