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Dr. Oz: Shocking supermarket secrets and belly-flattening weight loss snacks

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Dr. Mehmet Oz exposed the dirty little secrets supermarkets are hiding on the July 11 episode of the Dr. Oz Show. Dr. Oz said many supermarkets are breeding grounds for bacteria due to unsanitary conditions and poor food handling.

Dr. Oz's guest was Councilman Peter DeLucia, a health commissioner in Westchester County, New York. DeLucia said most supermarket shopping carts are dirtier than a public toilet, with most of the germs collecting on the handle and the seat where children usually sit. Studies found germs and even fecal matter in these areas, USA Today reported.

The best way to protect yourself is to wipe the cart down with an antibacterial wipe and use a shopping cart cover for small children. A study by the University of Arizona found that 72 percent of supermarket carts had a positive marker for fecal bacteria, and a shocking 50 percent tested positive for E. coli.

Old Meat and Stale Eggs

Another shocking secret is that a lot of the beef you see at supermarkets is older than it looks, making you vulnerable to pathogens like salmonella, E. coli, and staph.

Supermarkets use a practice called atmospheric packaging, which injects carbon dioxide into the packaging, preserving the beef's red color (which makes it look fresher than it really is). To avoid getting sick from old meat, you should pay close attention to the expiration dates and to avoid buying beef that looks discolored, brownish, or just otherwise odd.

Another cringeworthy supermarket secret is that many supermarket vegetables and fruits — especially lemons and limes — are contaminated with bacteria and fecal matter, so you should wash them as soon as you get home, preferably in a solution of vinegar and water.

Finally, DeLucia said many supermarkets don't properly store eggs. When buying eggs, don't buy cartons above the "cold line," where temperatures are too high to ensure freshness. "Cold eggs are going to last longer and they’re going to taste better,” said DeLucia.

Fat-Burning Weight Loss Snacks

On a separate segment, Dr. Oz revealed fat-burning snacks that he claims curb hunger and promote weight loss. They include figs, which are high in fiber and have been known to suppress appetite. Figs are also rich in potassium, have anti-aging omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, and have been shown to help improve skin elasticity.

Fenugreek, an antioxidant-rich Egyptian plant, is another fat-burning snack that has been shown to lower blood sugar. Fenugreek is great for managing diabetes, as it slows down carb digestion, preventing insulin and blood-sugar spikes.

Nuts in general have been shown to boost weight loss and longevity, according to several recent studies. Dr. Oz recommended pistachios, which are high in protein, and pine nuts because they are rich in polyunsaturated fats and help you burn more calories. Dr. Oz said pine nuts also add a nice crunchy texture when sprinkled on top of soups and salads. He recommends consuming two tablespoons three times a week.

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