Sunday, 22 January 2017

10 "Healthy" Foods that Are Worse for You Than a Cheeseburger

Dieting is hard enough without being misled by these supposedly good-for-you items. Steer clear. 

Gluten-free anything 
If you're anything like the pedestrians Jimmy Kimmel recently interviewed, you may think that cutting out gluten is healthy--without knowing exactly what gluten is. "If you swap out foods for their gluten-fee alternatives, you may actually be depriving yourself of key nutrients while adding on more calories and fat," says registered dietitian and Healthy Habits author Laura Cipullo. Take frozen pizza: Half a gluten-free personal pizza, like Udi's three-cheese pizza, has more saturated fat and cholesterol and significantly less fiber and protein than Kashi's four-cheese pizza, its gluten-containing frozen pizza counterpart.

 
Greek frozen yogurt

Sure, it's having its moment in the sun, er, ice cream aisle, but you may want to hold off before diving spoon-first into a pint. A serving of Ben & Jerry's Banana Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt has 40 less calories and half the fat of the brand's vanilla ice cream, but 6 more grams of sugar and double the sodium. It's one example of the practice of replacing fat with sugar--and that's proven not to be good for anyone. Instead, stick with regular probiotic-rich Greek yogurt and top it with fresh fruit or shaved dark chocolate when you're hankering for a cool dessert.

Asian chicken salads 
"Don't be fooled by the word 'salad' and think this is a low-calorie dish," says registered dietitian and nutritional therapist Limor Baum. Asian chicken salads are usually topped with fried wonton noodles and peanut-based dressings, both of which are huge calorie punches. And since many national food chains serve salads that are two to four times the appropriate portion size, the dishes are truly soaked in bad-for-you dressing.

Fruit smoothies 
When made right, smoothies can provide tons of healthy antioxidants and cancer-fighting phytochemicals. But if you're not careful, they can also trigger a blood sugar roller coaster. The key, says Cipullo, is to distinguish between snack smoothies and meal smoothies. For example, Jamba Juice's medium Strawberry Surf Rider Smoothie, with 430 calories and a whopping 93 g sugar, is basically a meal. The chain's Strawberry Whirl Smoothie is more of a snack--a medium contains 300 calories and 64 g sugar. But beware that despite their calorie counts and natural ingredients, smoothies won't satisfy you in the same way a balanced meal does, which explains why cravings often kick in an hour or two later. 
Fish sandwiches Before you pat yourself on the back for ordering fish instead of beef, consider whether your filling is grilled or fried. "Many fried fish sandwiches have more than 700 calories and 40 g fat," says Karen Ansel, M.S., coauthor of The Calendar Diet. "What's more, because they're super-size, one contains more than a day's worth of sodium." A grilled fish taco on a corn tortilla is the smartest choice, but if that's not an option, go for a grilled fish fillet on an open-face bun and substitute cocktail sauce for the creamy, fat-laden tartar variety.
Vegetarian dishes at Chinese restaurants
Veggies and tofu sound like safe bets, but at Chinese spots, they're often doused in oil--meaning one order has more than 1,000 calories. The stir-fried eggplant at P.F. Chang's, for instance, contains 1,010 calories, 88 g fat, and 3,350 mg sodium. To cut your calorie intake in half, Ansel suggests ordering Buddha's Feast steamed vegetables with a side of steamed dumplings.
Chipotle's burrito bowl
At first glance, a burrito bowl sounds like your best bet--after all, there's no white-flour-based wrap or taco shell involved. But even if you opt for brown rice, chicken, beans, salsa, and guacamole and skip the cheese and sour cream, you'll end up with an 800-calorie meal that contains 36 g fat and over 1,500 mg sodium, more than McDonald's Bacon and Cheese Quarter Pounder. Instead, registered dietitian Amy Shapiro suggests ordering a salad bowl, choosing either beans or rice, and topping it with salsa rather than guac, sour cream, or cheese. As a rule of thumb, Baum advises choosing one carbohydrate (rice, beans, or corn) and one fat (avocado, cheese, or sour cream)--and holding the chips. 

Tomato soup 
A tomato-based, meat-free soup sounds pretty harmless, but the problem lies in its sugar content. "Tomato soups are usually loaded with sugar to balance out the tartness of the tomatoes," says Shapiro. "Cream is also often a main ingredient, even if the name doesn't admit to it." Panera's vegetarian creamy tomato soup with croutons will set you back 450 calories and 32 g fat, 18 of which come from bad-for-you saturated fats. Instead, try its low-fat garden vegetable soup with pesto or low-fat chicken noodle soup, both of which are broth-based and have less than 150 calories per bowl.

Baked potato

Spuds are rich in important nutrients like vitamins C and B6 and potassium, but like most things, you're much better off making one at home. "In restaurants, baked potatoes are often rolled in oil, butter, or Crisco to make the skin crunchy," says Baum. And sour cream, cheese, and bacon toppings add not only calories but artery-clogging fats, too. "Ask your server to top potatoes with beans, avocado, or Greek yogurt," adds Baum.
Omelet
Eggs are one of nature's best foods, and whether you eat them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, omelets provide high-quality protein and essential fatty acids. Many restaurants, however, make omelets using at least three eggs, raising the calorie and cholesterol count fast. "And fatty cheeses like cheddar and blue can drive fat content to an impressive high," warns Baum. Opt for an egg-white omelet with soft cheeses like feta or mozzarella and load up on the spinach and mushrooms, or split a whole-egg version.

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