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6 "Healthy" Ingredients You Should Never Eat

Agave Nectar

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Find it: Long touted as an "all natural" and healthy alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners, it turns out the agave nectar sold in stores, including "blue," "natural," and "organic" varieties, has more fructose than even high-fructose corn syrup and is far more processed than plain table sugar.

Fix it: Training your palate to crave less sweetness would be ideal, but in a world of frosted cupcakes and ketchup sometimes it makes more sense just to try to stick to the least processed sweeteners you can find such as raw, local honey, real maple syrup, dates, and even plain white sugar.

Microwave Popcorn

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Find it: Popcorn is a whole grain that is as delicious as it is fun to eat, but the microwave varieties—even those labelled as "healthy"—are a causing a stir among scientists. Here's why: Microwaving can cause chemicals in the lining of the bag, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), to vaporize and leach into your popcorn. According to a recent study from UCLA, PFOA;s are part of a "class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans."

What's worse, PFOA’s at a certain level cause cancer in laboratory animals, so there is concern that these chemicals could similarly build up in humans and cause cancer.

Fix it: Pop your snack the old fashioned way by putting plain kernels in an air popper or pan. If you are set on the convenience of a microwave, a plain brown lunch bag works almost as well.

Canned Tomatoes

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Find it: Tomatoes are a fabulous healthy food, and the cooked varieties are full of goodies like lycopene and vitamin C. The problem is in the packaging. Manufacturers line cans with a plastic resin full of BPA and other carcinogens. The acid in the tomatoes breaks down the lining, making this canned food even more dangerous.

Fix it: At the moment there is no brand of canned tomatoes that does not use a plastic resin, so look for tomatoes in glass jars or wax-coated boxes.

Butter Spreads and Substitutes

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Find it: Most butter substitutes are made with cheap vegetables oils, artificial flavorings and colorings, preservatives, and lots of salt. But even worse is how many still have trans fat, even those that say "0g trans fat".

Fix it: Go for real butter from grass-fed cows and not only will you ditch all the weird ingredients, but you'll get a healthy dose of omega-3 fats, CLA, B12, and other goodies.

"BPA Free" Plastic

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Find it: Getting rid of the carcinogen bisphenol A, often found in hard plastics, is a great step, but there are still plenty of problematic toxins in plastic, including estrogenic compounds that can mess with your hormones.

Fix it: While using a plastic baggie to carry your sandwich is probably not a big deal, be careful not to cook anything in a plastic container or covered with plastic wrap, even if it is "BPA free," as heat releases the chemicals into your food. Use glass whenever possible.


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Find it: This fake fat, famous for causing "anal leakage", is still found in many processed foods as a way to reduce calories and/or fat. But according to a June 2011 study from Purdue University, eating the calorie-less fat may make you gain weight, not lose it.

"Fat substitutes can interfere with the body's ability to regulate what it eats, and that can result in overeating," Susan Swithers, lead author and psychology professor at Purdue University, said in an interview with ABC News.

Fix it: If you are craving a certain snack like potato chips, just eat one portion of the real thing. It'll taste better and you won't ruin your diet (or your undies).


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