Food Frauds That Can Wreck Your Diet
Some foods that we think are healthy can be sneaky little diet wreckers. Take Caesar salad, for example. You might think that because it’s a salad, it’s fine. But just a small bowl has 300-400, thanks to loads of dressing.
That berry blend at a smoothie shop can have a whopping 80 grams of sugar, 350 calories or more, little protein, and often no fresh fruit. Fruit concentrates are often used instead of fresh fruit. And sorbet, ice cream, and sweeteners can make these no better than a milkshake.
Many of these are simply enhanced candy bars with more calories (up to 500) and a higher price tag. Their compact size also leaves many people unsatisfied. A few bites, and it’s gone.
With beans and no red meat, what’s the problem? About 1,000 calories and plenty of saturated fat — cheese, sour cream, and the fat in the jumbo flour tortilla all contribute. And when the burrito is as big as your forearm, the serving is just too big.
Sugar-free food sounds like a no-brainer for weight loss. But it can be a problem if you think you can then have a large order of fries or a big dessert. Upsizing the fries adds nearly 300 calories to your meal. If you eat more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight.
Vitamins are commonly added to bottled water and advertised on the front label. But some brands also add sugar, taking water from zero calories to as many as 125.
Muffins beat doughnuts, but they’re still mainly sugary little cakes of refined flour. One store-bought muffin can hit 500 calories with 11 teaspoons of sugar.
Yogurt is a nutrition superstar, rich in protein and calcium. But many yogurts have lots of added sugar. Some brands add 30 or more grams of fructose, sucrose, or other sweeteners. Compare plain to fruited yogurts to see the difference between the sugars that are naturally in milk and added sugar listed on the nutrition facts panel.
The antioxidants in iced tea don’t make it a health food. Too much added sugar can turn a tall glass into a health hazard. A bottle can have more than 200 calories and 59 grams of sugar.
The word “snack” can be a little misleading on microwave popcorn. One popular brand packs 9 grams of fat into each “snack size” bag.
This popular lettuce is big on crunch but a big “zero” when it comes to vitamins and flavor. And its boring taste leads many people to overdo it on the dressing and toppings.
Processed artichoke hearts, chickpeas, and olives are just a few of the salt shockers lurking on the salad bar. To avoid getting too much sodium, limit anything that comes out of a can. Also pass up cured meats. Choose beans or tuna, but not both.
Cabbage is fine, but coleslaw can be a diet disaster. At one popular restaurant, a small cup has 260 calories and 21 grams of fat — a third of most people’s daily limit — thanks to the mayonnaise.
Deep-fried bananas don’t look greasy, but just one handful has 145 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 8 grams of saturated fat: about the same as a fast-food hamburger.