It's summertime, and the living is easy-but eating healthfully can be hard. Some of the season's most popular foods, like potato salad and fried chicken, contain massive amounts of calories and fat, while others, such as hot dogs, boast ingredients that may be downright dangerous. How can you avoid the most frightening hot-weather fare? Read on as we reveal the seven scariest foods of summer.


Summer Food Shockers

These seasonal staples are all positively calorific, and some could even put diseases on your menu (thanks to scary ingredients like sodium, trans fats, and nitrates).

Potato Salad. It's a favorite at picnics and backyard barbecues, but don't let the name "salad" fool you-this creamy side dish is more fattening than most summer entrées and desserts. The standard mayo-and-potato variety packs over 350 calories and 20 grams of fat per cup, and its culinary cousins (macaroni, chicken, tuna, and egg salad) are every bit as diet-deadly.

Fried Chicken. Just a few pieces of this seasonal classic pack a staggering amount of calories and fat. While fast-food versions are outrageously fattening (a thigh and drumstick at KFC contain a total of 520 calories and 40 grams of fat), homemade varieties aren't much healthier. What's more, fried chicken generally contains stratospheric amounts of sodium, which can increase your risk for hypertension (high blood pressure).

Hot Dogs. They're fixtures at state fairs and little-league fields, but these handheld delights are hardly light summer fare (the bun alone usually contains about 100 calories). Even worse, like many processed meats, hot dogs are often loaded with carcinogenic preservatives called nitrates, which have been linked to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

Grilled Corn. It's hard to believe that corn could sabotage anyone's diet. But while the boiled variety is low in calories and fat, grilled versions are slathered in butter, which can translate to hundreds of additional calories and more than 10 additional grams of fat per ear. Plus, all that butter can increase your risk for high cholesterol.

Snow Cones. This cool, colorful treat may look low-calorie (after all, it's basically a big chunk of ice), but looks can be deceiving. Thanks to the sugary syrup and flavorings, snow cones contain a whopping 550 calories per 12-ounce serving-and they're devoid of any nutritional value. Other empty-calorie summer culprits include taffy, cotton candy, and fried dough.

Cool Whip. With only 25 calories and 1.5 grams of fat per serving, this ubiquitous dessert topping has a reputation for being diet friendly. But look a little closer at the label, and you'll find that it's far from nutritious. Cool Whip actually contains both high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated vegetable oil (that's code for "trans fat"), an ingredient that could increase your chances of developing coronary artery disease.

Daiquiris. These refreshing libations may seem like a good way to cool down on a hot summer's day, but a single daiquiri packs more than 300 calories and loads of sugar. If you're looking for slimming summer cocktails, opt for wine spritzers or sangria-and steer clear of other diet-deadly drinks, like piña coladas, Long Island iced teas, and wine coolers.