- Soda. Soda is loaded with calories, steeped in sugar, overflowing with artificial ingredients – and without any nutritional benefit. Soda is the ultimate example of “empty calories.” Just how much sugar is in a can of soda? About 40 grams – the equivalent of TEN packets of sugar! Yet the average American drinks 51 gallons of soft drinks each year. If we could cut that number in half (and replace the 25.5 gallons of soda with water), it would add up to more than 30,000 calories (the equivalent of 8.7 pounds of fat). It would take 57 hours on the treadmill to have the same effect.
- French fries. I recently requested the nutrition information for the “Aussie Cheese Fries with Ranch Dressing” at the Outback Steakhouse. I was shocked; it contains 2,900 calories (much more than a day’s worth) and 182 grams of fat (65 grams is the typical recommendation for an entire day). Potatoes on their own are bad enough – they rate low on the gylcemic index. Their simple sugars are absorbed very quickly by the body. Once deep fried, their trans fat content goes through the roof. Avoid this gastrointestinal disaster at all costs! Opt for a salad, some rice – or pretty much anything else on the menu (and whatever you do, don’t smother them in cheese and ranch dressing).
- Chips. Traditional potato or corn chips face the same trans fat issues as french fries. Fortunately, the times are changing and some companies are making healthier alternatives – even baked chips. I do my best to substitute chips with carrot sticks; you get the same crunch but without the heart disease and clogged arteries.
- Mozzarella sticks. “Mozzarella sticks” is just another way of saying “fat fried in fat.” Cheese is full of fat. Deep fried, it’s even worse. Sure, there is some calcium in the cheese (and Mozzarella cheese is one of the lighter cheeses), but you’re much better off eating some spinach or yogurt to get the same calcium intake.
- Doughnuts. What’s worse than starting your day with a bowl full of sugary cereal? Reaching for a doughnut. High in trans fat and sugar, doughnuts are a true artery clogger devoid of nutritional benefit. Yet the average American consumes 35 doughnuts each year! Doughnuts are the one food that you will NEVER catch me eating – I just can’t justify it!
- Ice cream. I love ice cream, and it pains me to include it on this list. But did you know that a serving of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream can contain as much as 30 grams of fat? And who eats just one serving (half a cup)?! There is no saving grace for ice cream, save some calcium. Timing also comes into play – most of us eat ice cream just before bed, which is obviously the worst time possible!
Now didn’t that just ruin your day?