What Not to Eat: 10 Foods to Avoid
Food Day is October 24. To help fulfill the day’s promise to inspire Americans to make changes for the better in their diets, nutritionists here at the Center for Science in the Public Interest decided to identify 10 foods that represent the worst America’s food manufacturers and restaurants have to offer. Are there 10 that are probably worse than these? Sure. (In fact you could likely find 10 things at The Cheesecake Factory that are worse than all of these). But these are the types of foods—high in some combination of calories, saturated fat, sodium, white flour, and sugar—that are contributing to America’s obesity, diabetes, and heart disease problems.
1. Artery Crust
Judging by the label, Stouffer's Satisfying Servings (16 oz.) White Meat Chicken Pot Pie has "only" 590 calories, 13 grams of saturated fat, and 930 mg of sodium. But those numbers are only for half a pie. Eat the entire pie, as many people do, and you're talking 1,180 calories, 26 grams of saturated fat (more than a day's worth), and 1,860 mg of sodium (over a day's worth).
2. Five Fleshy Guys
Think Five Guys is better than fast food burger joints? The Hamburger (with no toppings) has 700 calories and a day's worth of saturated fat (20 grams) and makes a McDonald's Big Mac (520 calories) look wimpy. The Bacon Cheeseburger (sans toppings) hits 920 calories and 1 1/2 days' worth of saturated fat (30 grams). Add 950 calories for the regular fries or 1,310 calories for the large. A large McDonald's Fries has "only" 500 calories.
3. Liquid Salt!
An average cup of Campbell's regular Condensed Soup has 810 mg of sodium. But most people eat the whole can of soup, which contains 2,030 mg of sodium - more than most adults should consume in an entire day! Look for Campbell's Healthy Request soups with sodium in the 400s (still a lot if you eat the whole can). Better yet, choose reduced-sodium soups by Amy's, McDougall's, Health Valley, Imagine Foods, Pacific Foods, Tabatchnick, and Trader Joe's.
4. Tortilla Terror
Interested in a Chipotle Chicken Burrito (tortilla, rice, pinto beans, cheese, chicken, sour cream, and salsa)? Think of its 1,020 calories, 16 grams of saturated fat, and 2,400 mg of sodium as six Taco Bell Chicken Soft Tacos! Lose the flour tortilla and order a Burrito Bowl or Salad instead to drop the calories to around 500 to 700.
5. Factory Reject
People don't expect low-calorie desserts at The Cheesecake Factory. But the Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake kicks things up a notch. If it weren't served on its side, this one would stand over six inches tall. And upright or not, the slab of cake still weighs in at three-quarters of a pound. What do you get for all that heft? Just 1,900 calories and 3 days' worth of saturated fat (62 grams), mostly from chocolate, sugar, cream, white flour, and butter.
Mac and cheese, a classic comfort food, is back. Uno Chicago Grill's Deep Dish Macaroni & 3-Cheese hits 1,980 calories (a day's worth), 71 grams of saturated fat (3 1/2 days' worth) and 3,110 mg of sodium (2 days' worth). It's like eating a Family Size box of Stouffer's Macaroni & Cheese (serves five) with a stick of butter on top.
7. Triple Bypass
Can't decide what to pick from a restaurant menu? No worries. Now you can order not just one entree, but two... or three... all at once. Olive Garden's Tour of Italy - homemade lasagna, lightly breaded chicken parmigiana, and creamy fettuccine alfredo - comes with 1,450 calories, 33 grams of saturated fat, and 3,830 mg of sodium. Add a breadstick (140 calories and 370 mg of sodium) and a plate of Garden-Fresh Salad with dressing (150 calories and 760 mg of sodium) and you'll consume 1,740 calories (nearly a day's worth) and 4,960 mg of sodium (3 days' worth) in a single meal!
8. Starbucks on Steroids
The Starbucks Venti (20 oz.) White Chocolate Mocha with 2% milk and whipped cream is more than a mere cup of coffee. It's worse than a McDonald's Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Few people have room in their diets for the 580 calories, 14 grams of saturated fat, and 11 teaspoons of added sugar that this hefty beverage supplies. But you can drop the calories to 270 and saturated fat to 3 1/2 grams if you get a Tall (12 oz.) made with nonfat milk and no whipped cream.
9. Extreme Ice Cream
An average half-cup serving of Häagen-Dazs ice cream squeezes half a day's saturated fat into your artery walls and 300 calories with 4 1/2 teaspoons of added sugar into your fat cells - if you can stop at a petite half-cup!
10. Stone Cold
Cold Stone Creamery's Oh Fudge! shake (chocolate ice cream, milk, and fudge syrup) starts at 820 calories for the small "Like It" (12 oz.) size. That's about the same as a large (22 oz.) McDonald's McCafé Shake. The larger "Love It" (20 oz.) size reaches 1,360 calories and 52 grams of saturated fat (2 1/2 days' worth). That's the saturated fat content of two 14-oz ribeye steaks plus a buttered baked potato, all blended into a handy 20-oz cup.