Monday, September 19, 2011

7 Diet-Food Rip-offs

Hey fitness peeps! Question: "What if you could lose all the weight you wanted to without having to buy high-priced “health” foods?" To some reading this I may sound impossible to you right? Well, it's not. In fact, I've discovered that I really don't have to deprive myself of anything. How is this done? It's easy! Simple, smart swaps. And here’s another secret you need to know: Many high-priced health foods are more likely to add fat to your body than to strip it away. This is why it helps to beware of health-food ripoffs. We're about to talk about some of the worst offenders in the supermarkets and on restaurant menus, and I'll also give you some simple swaps that will help you strip away the pounds. Let's go!

7 Diet-Food Rip-offs 

1. Worst Hot Cereal:  
Quaker Instant Raisin & Spice (1 packet)
150 calories
2 g fat (0 g unsaturated)
14 g sugars

Sure, it's low in saturated fat and cholesterol, but it's absolutely filled with sugar. One bowl has more sugar than a scoop of Edy's Slow Churned Rocky Road Ice Cream! Your best bet is to stick with Quaker's old-fashioned oats and sweeten it yourself with fruit, but if you're set on the single-serving packets, go with the Lower Sugar variety. It provides just as much fiber with a mere fraction of the sugar.

Eat This Instead:
Quaker Lower Sugar Apples & Cinnamon (1 packet)

110 calories
1.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated)

6 g sugar

2. Worst Yogurt:  
Yoplait 99% Fat Free Strawberry (1 container, 170 g)
170 calories
1.5 g fat (1 g saturated)
27 g sugars

Just look at the ingredient list to see the true picture. After milk, sugar is the next ingredient. (Quick Nutrition Tip: Ingredient labels always list the ingredients in order of quantity, so in other words, if listed first, that's the ingredient that food has the most of.) Scroll down the list a little and you'll find high-fructose corn syrup, too. So sure it's "99% fat free," but it also has more sugar than an entire Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar. Fage's is plenty sweet, but more of its sugar comes from real fruit. Plus it justifies the sugar with 17 grams of protein—more than 3 times as much as you'll find in Yoplait's yogurt.

Eat This Instead:
Fage 2% Strawberry

130 calories
2.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated)
17 g sugars

3. Worst Reduced-Calorie Ice Cream Novelty: 
Breyers Carb Smart Almond Bar (1 bar)
180 calories
15 g fat (10 g saturated)
5 g sugars

The fact that this bar has only 5 grams of sugar is commendable, but the fact that it contains half your day's saturated-fat limit is not. Instead, look for a treat like Slim a Bear that puts a cap on both sugar and fat. Not only does that protect your heart, but it also diminishes your calorie impact.

Eat This Instead:
Klondike Slim a Bear No Sugar Added Ice Cream Sandwiches (1 sandwich)

100 calories
2 g fat (1 g saturated)
3 g sugars

4. Worst Nutrition Bar: 
PowerBar Energize Berry Blast (1 bar)
210 calories
3.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated)
24 g sugars

Not only does it contain virtually zero fiber, but the first ingredient is evaporated cane juice, otherwise known as sugar. Switch to Kashi's GoLean Crunchy! and you'll earn a touch more protein and a ton more fiber. Plus, you'll drop your sugar load by almost half.

Eat This Instead:
Kashi GoLean Crunchy! Chocolate Caramel (1 bar)

150 calories
3 g fat (2 g saturated)
14 g sugar

5. Worst Wheat Bread: 
Arnold Whole Grains Health Nut (2 slices)
240 calories
4 g fat (0 g saturated)
4 g fiber

Don't blow your calories on the bread; save them for the nutrient-dense stuff you're going to stuff inside. Arnold's Whole Grains Health Nut earns the Worst Bread distinction by being high in calories and carrying a load of refined flour. Make your sandwiches on Nature's Own Double Fiber Wheat instead and you'll eliminate 140 calories and double your fiber intake.

Eat This Instead:
Nature’s Own Double Fiber Wheat (2 slices)
100 calories
1 g fat (0 g saturated)
10 g fiber

6. Worst Smoothie: 
Smoothie King Banana Boat (40 oz)
1,048 calories
24 g fat (12 g saturated)
154 g sugars

Truth be told, you can do A LOT of damage in a smoothie shop. Case in point: Smoothie King's Banana Boat. It sounds healthy enough, but it's made with ice cream and served from a mammoth-size cup. It also packs in more sugar than 8 Twinkies! Make it a rule to never drink out of anything bigger than Smoothie King's 20-ounce cup, and then do yourself a favor by ordering the Youth Fountain.

Eat This Instead:
Smoothie King Youth Fountain (20 oz)
253 calories
0 g fat
54 g sugars

7. Worst Salad: 
T.G.I. Friday's Santa Fe Chopped Salad
1,830 calories
29 g saturated fat
3,450 mg sodium

It's time to shake the belief that as long as it's green, it's healthy. So not true! Sure, leafy vegetables are good for you, but not when they're encumbered by fried tortilla strips and a reckless deluge of ranch dressing. In the 15 minutes it takes you to eat this salad, you'll take in a day-and-a-half's worth of sodium and saturated fat along with nearly a full day's worth of calories! It's just not worth it.

Eat This Instead:
Southwest Wedge Salad
253 calories
0 g fat
54 g sugars

Well that's it! Hopefully you haven't been the victim of any of the "diet-food" ripoffs, but if so, know that you are not alone, and secondly, don't sweat it! Now you know, so now you can do better! It's that simple!