Category Archives: Nutrition

11 Worst Burgers in America

By David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding

It’s not the cow’s fault.

For a ruminating herbavore, cows sure get blamed for a lot of things. They got blamed for the Great Chicago Fire. They get blamed for contributing to global warming. And now our poor cud-chewing friends are getting blamed for America’s obesity crisis, too.

Okay, it’s not the cows themselves, but their most popular end product—hamburgers—that get fingered as the perp in our ongoing weight struggles. But like I said, it’s not the cow’s fault. See, burgers used to be healthy!

Back before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the average restaurant burger weighed in at about 333 calories. But today’s typical version weighs in at almost twice that—600 calories on average. (Maybe we should have built a wall in Hamburg?)

So don’t blame the cow. Blame the food engineers in chain restaurant kitchens, who are tricking out the simple burger until it has more fleshy extras than Madonna’s stage show. In fact, burgers can be a healthy and satisfying dose of protein, if you know what to look for—and what to avoid.

In our continuing mission to create a more natural and healthier food supply, Eat This, Not That! uncovers America’s 11 most offensive burgers. Beware of them—or it won’t just be the burgers that wind up with oversized buns.

11. Worst Classic Fast-Food Burger

Burger King Whopper with Cheese
760 calories
47 g fat (16 g saturated, 1 g trans)
1,410 mg sodium

With 200 more calories than a McDonald’s Big Mac, the Whopper is the clear loser in the battle of the burger icons. Blame it on the jumbo patty and globs of mayo (160 calories worth to be exact). And get this: If you add medium fries and a medium coke—a likely scenario—you’re looking at a 1,500-calorie meal. The best way to “have it your way” at BK? Order a standard cheeseburger and call it a day, or tryCook This, Not That! Easy 350-Calorie Meals and save calories, time, and cash.

Eat This Instead!
Burger King Cheeseburger
300 calories
14 g fat (6 g saturated, 0 g trans)
710 mg sodium

10. Worst Burger Kids’ Meal

McDonald’s McDouble Mighty Kids Meal with Fat-Free Chocolate Milk Jug
765 calories
30 g fat (9.5 g saturated, 1 g trans)
1,215 mg sodium

I applaud McDonald’s for its recent move to offset fries with fruit in all its kids’ meals, but—apple slices or not—this “mighty” menu option remains the worst children’s choice at the drive-thru. The chain created the Mighty Kids Meal for “in-be-tweens” (kids aged 8 to 12). Problem is, it packs more fat and calories than an adult’s meal should. A standard Happy Meal is plenty of food for your kid—no matter their age—and chicken nuggets trump burgers any day. (Find hundreds of other tips to help your family eat better in Eat This, Not That! For Kids!)

Eat This Instead!
McDonald’s Chicken McNugget Happy Meal with 1% Low-Fat Milk Jug
405 calories
19.5 g fat (4 g saturated)
555 mg sodium

9. Worst Basic Burger

Five Guys Bacon Cheeseburger
920 calories
62 g fat (29.5 g saturated)
1,310 mg sodium

This burger bomb landed on the list for one reason: false advertising. At Five Guys, regular burgers are doubles and “Little” burgers are singles. And the burgers aren’t the only serving size rip-off the chain serves up. The “regular” fries have 620 calories—double that of most standard fry orders. The takeaway: Go “Little” or go elsewhere.

Eat This Instead!
Five Guys Little Bacon Burger
560 calories
33 g fat (14.5 g saturated)
640 mg sodium

8. Worst “Healthy” Burger

Ruby Tuesday Avocado Turkey Burger
968 calories
61 g fat
1,601 mg sodium

It’s entirely common for restaurants to top their turkey burgers with so many greasy calories that they completely nullify the small savings you get by choosing turkey over beef. Ruby Tuesday’s Avocado Turkey Burger, for example, has more calories than the chain’s Classic Cheeseburger. The lesson: Turkey doesn’t always mean healthier.

Eat This Instead!
Asiago Peppercorn Sirloin
401 calories
20 g fat
1,023 mg sodium

7. Worst Burger Melt

Red Robin All-American Patty Melt
1,254 calories
94 g fat
1,951 mg sodium

Melts are notoriously high in calories, thanks to copious amounts of butter and cheese, and Red Robin takes the diner classic from poor to preposterous by adding 350 calories of Thousand Island dressing. This “All-American” monstrosity is the highest-calorie burger on the menu, but unfortunately, the others are close behind. In fact, the Keep it Simple Burger is the chain’s only burger that falls below 800 calories, which makes it your only sane option.

Eat This Instead!
Red Robin Keep It Simple Burger
569 calories
24 g fat
991 mg sodium

6. Worst BBQ Burger

Chili’s Shiner Bock BBQ Burger
1,300 calories
74 g fat (24 g saturated)
2,840 mg sodium

An average burger at Chili’s packs 1,400 calories, and the Shiner Bock is among the worst of the lot. The burger’s main calorie culprit: crispy onion strings. Last time I checked, deep-fried onions were a side dish—and a shoddy one at that. This dish also comes standard with 380 calories of fries, so all said, you’re looking at nearly a day’s calories in one sitting. If you want to get your red-meat fix at Chili’s, steak’s the only way to go.

Eat This, Instead!
Chili’s Custom Combinations Classic Sirloin with Sweet Corn on the Cob and Steamed Broccoli
520 calories
21 g fat (7 g saturated)
1,770 mg sodium

5. Worst Sliders

Applebee’s Cheeseburger Sliders with Applewood Smoked Bacon
1,340 calories
87 g fat (75 g saturated, 3 g trans)
2,550 mg sodium

Sliders are particularly sneaky diet traps. First, despite their diminutive stature, they tend to pack as many—if not more—calories as their full-size brethren. Second, they’re often listed as appetizers, which means you risk wolfing down more than a meal’s worth of calories before you even set eyes on your entrée. My advice: Go with a leaner appetizer like the Grilled Chicken Wonton Tacos—the only Applebee’s option under 600 calories—and consider sharing with a friend.

Eat This Instead!
Applebee’s Grilled Chicken Wonton Tacos
590 calories
24 g fat (4.5 g saturated, 0 g trans)
2,150 mg sodium  

4. Worst Double Cheeseburger

Denny’s Double Cheeseburger
1,400 calories
87 g fat (41 g saturated, 2 g trans)
2,680 mg sodium

Some things are better in pairs: skis, wings, Super Bowl tickets. But burgers? Not so much. An extra patty adds little flavor and costs you big on the bathroom scale. Take this double whammy from Denny’s: double patties, double cheese, double a day’s saturated fat, and 2 grams of trans fat. What do all these twos add up to? Double chins. The 540-calorie Veggie Burger is the chain’s only safe burger option, but if you’re an unabashed carnivore, you’ll appreciate the Prime Rib Skillet.

Eat This Instead!
Denny’s Prime Rib Skillet
585 calories
38 g fat (12.5 g saturated)
1,460 mg sodium

3. Worst Crazy Burger Creation

Friendly’s Grilled Cheese Burger
1,540 calories
92 g fat (35 g saturated)
2,490 mg sodium

American chains are constantly dreaming up wacky dishes designed to get your novelty neurons firing at the speed of light. Perhaps the single best example of this frankenfood effect: the Grilled Cheese Burger from Friendly’s. It’s a giant burger wedged between two grilled cheese sandwiches. Need I say more? If you’re craving grilled cheese, order grilled cheese.

Eat This, Instead!
Friendly’s Grilled Cheese Sandwich
800 calories
37 g fat (14 g saturated)
1,280 mg sodium

2. Worst Fast-Food Burger

Sonic Ring Leader Loaded Burger Double Patty
1,660 calories
120 g fat (44 g saturated, 4 g trans)
1,450 mg sodium

The recent unveiling of this menacing half-pound burger marks a new low for a chain that already suffers from an iffy reputation. The bacon strips and onion rings will receive much of the criticism, but it’s the less flashy components that hold the hidden danger. In fact, the two slices of cheddar cheese and the double slather of mayo account for a third of the fat. (Then there’s the “bun oil” Sonic squeezes on.) If you need a burger fix, there are less perilous ways to get it.

Eat This Instead!
Jr. Deluxe Burger with Bacon and Green Chilies
425 calories
25 g fat (8 g saturated, 0.5 g trans)
705 mg sodium

1. Worst Burger in America

Chili’s Jalapeño Smokehouse Bacon Burger
1,910 calories
126 g fat (43 g saturated)
5,290 mg sodium

This tricked-out number is the worst of the worst of Chili’s’ burger behemoths. It comes saddled with tortilla strips, bacon, cheddar, mayo, and jalapeno-ranch dressing, the combined impact of which is more than 2 days’ worth of saturated fat and as much sodium as you’d find in 6 pounds of McDonald’s French fries.

Eat This, Instead!
Chili’s Margarita Grilled Chicken
550 calories
14 g fat (4 g saturated)
1,870 mg sodium

Original Article:

Fats You Can——and Should— Eat

What is the upside to eating fat?

Kate Lowenstein

It’s just not fair: Fat got a bad rap decades ago because scientists assumed, based on the misinterpretation of a couple of large studies, that eating foods containing fat would lead directly to obesity and heart disease. Fatty foods were made out to be our sole dietary vice, responsible for raising our cholesterol levels, clogging our arteries, and causing us to get, well, fat.

And that made a kind of intuitive sense — —why wouldn’t the fat you consume wind up as the fat you see on your butt and thighs? But “the low-fat diet backfired,” says Frank Hu, MD, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. “America’s obesity epidemic skyrocketed even while our fat intake went down.” So experts are getting off the “fat is evil” bandwagon these days— — and we should, too.

The upside of eating fat

Like carbohydrates and protein, fat is an essential nutrient. This means that your body requires it for key functions, such as absorbing the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. “Fat is also an important energy source and is vital for keeping your skin and hair healthy and smooth,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, author of Read It Before You Eat It.

Even more surprising: Research is revealing that eating the right fats can actually lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, and improve your cholesterol levels. That’s because all fats are not created equal, Dr. Hu points out. It’s not the total amount of fat in your diet that affects how much you weigh or whether you’re at risk for heart disease, according to rigorous studies from the past decade. What matters is the type of fats you choose (and, when it comes to dropping pounds, the total number of calories you eat). Here’s a breakdown.

Good fats

Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs):  Found in plant foods like nuts, avocados, olive oil, and canola oil, and in poultry

MUFAs can actually lower cholesterol levels, and, in doing so, your risk of heart disease. In fact, a Journal of the American Medical Association study showed that replacing a carb-rich diet with one high in monounsaturated fats can do both, and reduce blood pressure, too.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs): Found in fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, and corn and soybean oils

Like MUFAs, PUFAs have been shown to improve cholesterol levels and reduce heart disease risk. One type is the omega-3 fatty acid, which is plentiful in some kinds of fish— — not to be confused with omega-6 fatty acids, found in meats, corn oil, and soybean oil. Some research finds that Americans eat about 20 times more omega-6 than omega-3; we should be aiming to get closer to four times as much. To do so, Dr. Hu says, sub in fish for meat when you can.

Ok-in-moderation fat

Saturated fat:  Found in meat and dairy products such as cheese, butter, and milk

We’ve been warned for decades to eat less saturated fat — —after all, it raises “bad” (LDL) cholesterol levels, and thus, it was assumed, ups your risk of heart attack and stroke. Lately, though, research has begun to vindicate it. For instance, a 2010 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition review of 21 studies was unable to find a link between saturated fat consumption and heart disease or stroke. Some types have been entirely exonerated: “Stearic acid, found in dark chocolate, is clearly non-harmful,” says David L. Katz, MD, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. The same may be true of lauric acid, a type of saturated fat abundant in coconut oil, but there’s not enough evidence to say for sure, Dr. Katz says.

While some experts, like Dr. Katz, say there’s no downside to cutting out saturated fats, others believe keeping them in the mix helps us avoid getting too many bad-for-you refined carbohydrates instead. Bottom line: You don’t need to ban them. Just make sure most of your fat intake is unsaturated, eat red meat only once or twice a week, and use olive oil instead of butter when possible.

Bad fat

Trans fat:  Found in some fried foods, shortening, and packaged snacks like crackers and desserts

Trans fat gained notoriety several years ago when one state and a handful of cities banned the artificial kind— — found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oil— — from restaurants. (Trans fats also occur naturally in small amounts in some foods.) Research has found that artificial trans fats raise LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol—and a high LDL/low HDL combination can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. Still, partially hydrogenated oil remains a fairly common ingredient in processed foods, in part because adding hydrogen to vegetable oil gives it a longer shelf life.

Experts agree that you should cut out trans fat altogether— — and thankfully, that’s not so hard to do. “Limit your intake of processed foods, commercial snacks, and fast food, and you’ll avoid trans fat,” Dr. Katz says. Don’t assume you’re in the clear if your packaged snack says “0 trans fats” on the label. “Food manufacturers are allowed to put ‘0 trans fats’ in the nutritional information if the item has up to 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving,” says Taub-Dix. “Look at the ingredient list: If you see the word ‘hydrogenated,’ then the food has trans fat and you should skip it.”

Eat fat, lose weight

We know what you’re thinking: How do you control calories if you’re downing chocolate, olive oil, and nuts? After all, fat packs 9 calories per gram, compared to 4 cals per gram of carbs or protein. Well, for one thing, when you eat a food that contains some fat, you’re likely to feel satisfied faster than when eating something fat free. That means you’ll consume less of it and will likely be less tempted to snack later on. Some studies have also indicated that certain fats work to help you stay slim: For instance, Harvard researchers found that people who ate nuts regularly gained less weight over a four-year period than those who didn’t. Plus, foods labeled “reduced fat” or “fat free” can actually contain more calories than their full-fat counterparts, because the fat has been replaced with sugar, starch, and other fillers with little to no nutritional value to add back flavor.

As for dairy, we’ve all heard that drinking milk (and eating yogurt) can boost bone health and even lower blood pressure and promote weight loss. If you’re getting the multiple servings of milk you should each day, consider making some of it low fat to keep saturated fat and calories down. When it comes to cheese, Dr. Hu recommends indulging in the full-fat stuff occasionally; it has more flavor than low-fat cheese, so a little goes a long way.

So how much “good” fat you should get? The American Heart Association recommends that unsaturated fats make up 18 to 28 percent of the calories in our diets, with no more than 7 percent of our daily calories coming from saturated fat. But here’s an easier rule of thumb: “I just make sure that the fats I eat come from healthy food sources— like vegetable oils, fish, legumes, nuts, and other plant-based foods,” says Dr. Hu. “If you do that, then there’s no need to count.”

Original Article:

5 Foods to Prevent Your Arteries from Clogging

You can add years to your life by keeping your heart healthy. Caring for your ticker can be as easy as knowing what to eat! Discover 5 powerful foods that serve as weapons to fight clogged arteries.

Like any plumbing system, your arteries can get clogged up. When you have high blood pressure, inflammation causes cholesterol to stick to the walls of your blood vessels, forming a plaque. The following foods are powerful enough to prevent this dangerous clogging.

Kiwi and Cantaloupe

These antioxidant-rich foods work by reducing toxic LDL cholesterol, which is formed by a rusting process in your arteries. They can help stop the “rust” in its tracks and even prevent it from spreading. Eat 1 cup of cantaloupe or 1 kiwi a day to unclog your arteries.


Despite being a source of cholesterol, shrimp can be helpful for your heart. They contain taurine, an amino acid, which acts like plastic wrap so fats can’t cross the intestinal wall and get into your arteries. Try having 5 medium-sized steamed or grilled shrimp twice a week. Be sure to avoid the cocktail sauces.

Red-Skinned Grapes and Cranberry Juice

These foods strain the fat out your arteries. Instead of having fat build up in your blood vessels, these foods improve your cells’ ability to absorb the fat and use it for energy production. Drink a glass of cranberry juice three times a week or eat 1 cup of grapes per day to unclog your arteries.

Original Article:

The 9 Nastiest Things in Your Supermarket

Think pink slime is gross? Wait ’til you see what other unappetizing secrets lurk within your grocery store.

By Leah Zerbe & Emily Main

“Pink Slime”

The Gross Factor: The meat industry likes to call it “lean finely textured beef,” but after ABC News ran a story on it, the public just called it what it looks like—pink slime, a mixture of waste meat and fatty parts from higher-quality cuts of beef that have had the fat mechanically removed. Afterwards, it’s treated with ammonia gas to kill Salmonella and E. coli bacteria. Then it gets added to ground beef as a filler. Food microbiologists and meat producers insist that it’s safe, but given the public’s reaction to the ABC News report, there’s an “ick” factor we just can’t overcome. The primary producer of pink slime just announced that it’s closing three of the plants where pink slime is produced, and Kroger, Safeway, Food Lion, McDonald’s and the National School Lunch Program (among others) have all pulled it from their product offerings.
Eat This Instead: Organic ground beef is prohibited from containing pink slime, per National Organic Program standards, so it’s your safest bet. If you can’t find organic, ask the butcher at your grocery store whether their products contain the gunk.

Vet Meds in Beef

The Gross Factor: Hankering for a burger? Besides a hefty dose of protein, a 2010 report from the United States Department of Agriculture found your beef could also harbor veterinary drugs like antibiotics, Ivermectin, an animal wormer linked to neurological damage in humans, and Flunixin, an anti-inflammatory that can cause kidney damage, stomach and colon ulcers, and blood in the stool of humans. Still hungry? We didn’t think so.
Eat This Instead: Look for beef from a local grass-fed beef operation that rotates the animals on fresh grass paddocks regularly, and inquire about medicine use. Typically, cows raised this way are much healthier and require fewer drugs. The meat is also more nutritious, too. If you’re in the supermarket, opt for organic meats to avoid veterinary drugs in meat.

Heavy Metal Oatmeal

The Gross Factor: Sugary and calorie-laden, those convenient instant-oatmeal packets all have one thing in common. They’re sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which, according to tests from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, may be contaminated with mercury. The group tested 55 samples of HFCS and found mercury in a third of them at levels three times higher than what the average woman should consume in a day.
Eat This Instead: Buy yourself some instant oats, which cook in less time than it takes to microwave a packet of the sugary stuff, and add your own flavorings, like fresh fruit or maple syrup. And buy HFCS-free versions of other foods, as well. The artificial sweetener lurks in seemingly all processed foods.

Filthy Shrimp

The Gross Factor: Food safety experts refer to imported shrimp as the dirtiest of the Seafood’s Dirty Dozen list, and it’s not hard to see why when you consider the common contaminants: Antibiotics, cleaning chemicals used in farmed shrimp pens, residues of toxic pesticides banned in the U.S., and pieces of insects. Less than 2 percent of all imported seafood is inspected—clearly, that’s a problem.
Eat This Instead: Look for domestic shrimp. Unfortunately, 70 percent of domestic shrimp comes from the Gulf of Mexico, and the recent oil spill may have long-term impacts on its shrimp stocks. But shrimp can be purchased from Texas, the East Coast, Maine, and the Carolinas, so you still have options.

MRSA in the Meat Aisle

The Gross Factor: Hard-to-treat, antibiotic-resistant infections are no joke. Superbug strains like MRSA are on the rise, infecting 185,000 people -and killing 17,000-people annually in the U.S. Thought to proliferate on factory farms where antibiotics are overused to boost animal growth, a Jan. 2012 study from Iowa State University found that the dangerous organisms wind up in supermarket meat, too. The dangerous MRSA strain lingered in 7 percent of supermarket pork samples tested. The bacteria die during proper cooking, but improper handling could leave you infected. The spike in superbug infections is largely blamed on antibiotic abuse in factory farms that supply most supermarkets.
Eat This Instead: The Iowa state researchers found MRSA in conventional meat and store-bought “antibiotic-free” meat likely contaminated at the processing plant. Search to source meat from small-scale producers who don’t use antibiotics or huge processing plants.

Pregnancy Hormones in a Can

The Gross Factor: Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that acts like the hormone estrogen in your body, is used to create the epoxy linings of canned food. What food processors don’t tell you is that the chemical was created over 70 years ago as a drug that was intended to promote healthy pregnancies. Though it was never used as a drug, the food industry saw no problem adding this pregnancy drug to a wide range of products, including canned food linings and plastic food containers. “Low levels of BPA exposure has been linked to a wide range of adverse health effects, including abnormal development of reproductive organs, behavior problems in children, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic changes that result in altered insulin levels, which leads to diabetes,” says Sarah Janssen, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. And its use in canned food is the number one reason why 90 percent of Americans have it in their bodies.
Eat This Instead: Look for products in glass bottles or aseptic cartons. Canned food manufacturers are in the process of switching over to BPA-free cans, but because those cans are produced in facilities that also produce BPA-based can linings, there’s no way to keep BPA-free cans from becoming contaminated.

Bacteria-Infused Turkey

The Gross Factor: Turkey marinated in MRSA? It’s true. A 2011 study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that half of the U.S. supermarket meat sampled contain staph bacteria, including potentially lethal MRSA. Turkey was the worst offender: Nearly 80 percent of turkey products samples contain staph bacteria. Pork (42 percent) was next in line in terms of bacterial contamination, followed by chicken (41 percent), and beef (37 percent). Researchers ID the overuse of antibiotics as the culprit.
Eat This Instead: If you serve meat for Thanksgiving, invest in an organic, pastured turkey, such as one from Ayrshire Farm in Maryland.

Moldy Berries

The Gross Factor: If pregnancy hormones in your canned fruit isn’t enough to make you turn to fresh, consider this: The FDA legally allows up to 60 percent of canned or frozen blackberries and raspberries to contain mold. Canned fruit and vegetable juices are allowed to contain up to 15 percent mold.
Eat This Instead: Go for fresh! When berries are in season, stock up and freeze them yourself to eat throughout the winter. To freeze them, just spread fruits out on a cookie sheet, set the sheet in your freezer for a few hours, then transfer the berries to a glass jar or other airtight, freezer-safe container.

Rocket Fuel in Lettuce

The Gross Factor: Lettuce is a great source of antioxidants, and thanks to the great state of California, we can now eat it all year long. However, much of the lettuce grown in California is irrigated with water from the Colorado River. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Colorado River water is contaminated with low levels of perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel known to harm thyroid function, and that perchlorate can be taken up inside lettuce plants. A separate study from the Environmental Working Group found perchlorate in 50 percent of store-bought winter lettuce samples.
Eat This Instead: Perchlorate is hard to avoid, but some of the highest levels in the country have been found in California’s agricultural regions. If you eat locally and in season, you can ask your local farmers whether it’s a problem in their irrigation water supply.

Original Article:

5 Habits of Highly Successful Dieters

Habits of Highly Successful Dieters

By Heidi Grant Halvorson, PhD

          Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Eat less, exercise more. That’s the recipe for losing weight, and we all know it by heart. So if we want to get slimmer, and we know the formula, then why can’t we do it?

Commitment is important—in fact, it’s essential—but it’s only the beginning. The key to successful dieting is bridging the gap between what you want to do and actually doing it. The desire is there; you just need a plan.

The scientifically proven tactics detailed in this slideshow will help you do just that. I say that with confidence—not only as a social psychologist who studies motivation, but also as someone who has benefited from these tricks firsthand. Each one—especially #2—helped me lose almost 50 pounds after my son was born three years ago.

Strategy #1: Be very specific

When we make goals that are vague, like “I want to lose weight,” we set ourselves up to fail.

Motivation happens when your brain detects a difference between where you are and where you want to be. When you are specific about your goal (I want to lose 10 pounds), that difference is clear, and your brain starts throwing resources (attention, memory, effort, willpower) at the problem. A clear target looks something like this: “I want to weigh 135 pounds. I weigh 155 now, so that’s a difference of 20 pounds.”

Being specific gives you clarity because you’ve spelled out exactly what success looks like. That means more motivation—and better odds of success.

Strategy #2: Create an OK-to-eat plan

Faced with unexpected temptations—the dessert menu, the catered work lunch—we end up eating things that sabotage our weight-loss goals. The best way to guarantee you make the right choices is to create an “if-then” plan:

“If the dessert menu arrives, I’ll order coffee.”

“If I am at a business lunch, I’ll have a salad.”

Studies suggest that coming up with safe-to-eat plans makes you two to three times more likely to reach your diet goals.

Strategy #3: Track your success

To stay clear about that gap between where you want to go and where you are now, monitor your progress. Keep getting on that scale; mark the days you exercise on a calendar.

Another thing: When you think about the progress you’ve made, stay focused on how far you have to go, rather than how far you’ve come. If you want to drop 20 pounds, and you’ve lost 5 so far, keep your thoughts on the 15 that remain. When we dwell too much on how much progress we’ve made, it’s easy to feel a premature sense of accomplishment and start to slack off.

Strategy #4: Be a realistic optimist

As much as we want to believe otherwise, losing weight isn’t easy. It turns out that it’s important to accept this.

Believing you will succeed is key, but believing you will succeed easily (what I call “unrealistic optimism”) is a recipe for failure. Take it from the women, all obese, who enrolled in a weight-loss program in one study. Those who thought they could lose weight easily lost 24 pounds less than those who knew it would be hard. The successful dieters put in more effort, planned in advance how to deal with problems, and persisted when it became difficult.

So don’t try to tamp down your worries—they can help prepare you for shape-up challenges.

Strategy #5: Strengthen your willpower

The capacity for self-control is like a muscle: It varies in strength from person to person and moment to moment. Just as your biceps can feel like jelly after a workout, your willpower “muscle” gets tired when you overtax it.

To strengthen it, pick any activity that requires you to override an impulse (such as sitting up straight when your impulse is to slouch), and add that to your daily routine. And take baby steps. Instead of going junk-free overnight, begin by eliminating, say, those chips you eat by the bag, and substitute them with a fruit or vegetable.

Hang in there, and sticking to your diet will become easier because your capacity for self-control will grow.

Original Article:


6 Hidden Fat Traps on Restaurant Menus

By | Healthy LivingFri, Mar 30, 2012 12:44 PM EDT

Sneaky Salads

You order the dressing on the side, but this calorie-saving tactic can backfire. Chefs like to keep dressing to a minimum–too much can make a salad wilty, says Mike Schwartz, chef instructor for the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) and founder of BAO Food and Drink. A restaurant’s usual drizzle of salad dressing will barely cover the bottom of a 4-ounce ramekin, though, and that looks cheap, so Schwartz says chefs will almost always send out extra. Take two large spoonfuls and mix in with your greens, then set it out of reach. Picking around deep-fried tortilla strips, Chinese noodles and croutons are no-brainers, but those other crunchy bits (like sunflower seeds and banana chips,) are often roasted in oil or salt. Even good-for-you ingredients can multiply at restaurants. Tracy Gensler, RD, a Best Life nutritionist, says she recently measured out a cup and a quarter of walnuts in her take-out dinner salad–that’s a full cup more than a typical serving size, and an extra 980 calories, just nuts.

Delicious Language

We know better than to fall for “creamy,” but not all unhealthy code words are so blatant. “Crispy” meat, fish and vegetables are usually fried in oil; “crusted” entrees often involve lots of butter, cheese or oil (that’s what helps the breadcrumbs, almonds and flour stick); “rich,” “velvety” and “gooey” can signify sky-high amounts of fat; “sizzling” food sizzles because of (you guessed it) oil. Detailed descriptions make food sound even more appealing: In one study by Brian Wansink, PhD, author of Mindless Eating, diners were 27 percent more likely to get dessert when it was called “German Black Forest double-chocolate cake” instead of “chocolate cake. Try to read between the lines of unusual techniques like “oil-poaching,” which involves submerging food in oil and cooking it slowly over low heat. From a health perspective, that’s closer to frying than water-poaching.

Pictures That Are Worth a Thousand Calories

Some items that increase the restaurant’s bottom line can have the same effect on yours, says William Poundstone, who analyzed restaurant marketing tricks in his book, Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It). He says pictures are powerful motivators, so photos on menus at chain restaurant and illustrations at more upscale places (often in the upper right-hand corner, where eyes automatically go first), as well as borders and frames, highlight the items the restaurant is eager to sell. People pay the most attention to whatever gets the most space on the menu, says Poundstone, so when you see three pages of appetizers, this sends the message, “Ordering extra food before your meal isn’t excessive; it’s the normal thing to do.” And while tossing together inexpensive veggies in a side salad is one way to make them more profitable (salads involve relatively little labor), deep-frying them as appetizers is another. It involves just a few ingredients, is quick to prepare, and can be very hard for diners to resist.

Dishes You’ve Never Really Stopped to Think About

Unless you’re a knowledgeable cook, there are probably a few dishes that you always order without knowing how to make them, what’s in them, or what exactly they are. Here’s your cheat sheet: Miso is high in sodium (986 mg in one cup; 251 mg in a tablespoon), and “tempura” is Japanese for “we borrowed this dish from the Portuguese, and that’s why it’s so fattening” (kidding; it signifies “deep fried”). Pork belly, the popular boneless meat, has 16 times more saturated fat than pork tenderloin and 10 times more saturated fat than pork chops. You may be pleasantly surprised to discover pork belly’s country cousin, bacon, in sautéed vegetables and sauces…until you realize that sweet-smoky flavor is also supremely fatty-salty. Then there’s confit. French women may not get fat, but you will if confit becomes your go-to bistro dish. This meat-preserving method, which involves cooking meat submerged in its own rendered fat (or in duck fat), traditionally involves duck or goose and was justifiable in the time before refrigerators. But it’s cropping up on menus these days as chefs try it with pork, lamb, turkey and even fish.

Nude Foods That Are Hiding Something

Wonder why vegetable purees at restaurants always taste richer than the ones you blend at home? Schwartz from ICE says that it’s usually due to cream (or sour cream, in the case of some cold soups). To suss out dairy, he suggests asking if the soup is vegan. Schwartz sees patrons passing on the potatoes and ordering rice instead, but he says it’s common for Western-style chefs to add oil or butter for extra flavor and to keep grains from clumping (he advises requesting it “steamed plain”). “Grilled” suggests a flaming charcoal grill with open bars to allow fat to drip away, but Schwartz says diners and some chain restaurants tend to use flattop grills, which means the food sits in a pool of grease and soaks up fat. Ask your server if the restaurant uses a flame or flat-top grill, and then decide if you’d rather have your meat cooked another way, says Schwartz.

The “Better Choice” Dessert

If you’ve decided to order a treat, don’t compromise. You’ll not only feel as if you missed out on what you really wanted, but you may accidentally order something even more fattening. Let’s say you’re dying for a piece of flourless chocolate cake but you feel like the pear tart would be healthier (it’s got fruit, right?). Gensler found an example of a slice of chocolate cake with 234 calories and 11 grams of fat, compared to a pear tart with 340 calories and 17 grams of fat (the tart was bigger, and most likely made with more butter). If you’re craving ice cream but wonder if flan or gelato would be wiser, go with your gut: 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream has 145 calories and 8 grams saturated fat, and the same amount of flan has 220 calories and 6 grams of fat. Gelato also has less fat than ice cream–but more calories. This is a numbers game that’s not worth playing, so satisfying your cravings with just one creamy, velvety scoop.

10 Overrated Health Foods


Like it or not, we tend to believe whatever we are exposed to in the media and in advertisements. In nutrition, this usually means that as a society we all follow the same diet fads, glorifying some foods over others in the quest for better health. (It’s okay, I love salmon and coconut water as much as you do.)

Problem is, though, more often than not the news or the health claims made by food manufacturers vastly overstate any potential health benefits, because it makes a more compelling story and sells more products. Our own confirmation biases tend to make us believe what we’re told, we confidently share our insight with our friends, and suddenly our grocery stores are filled with health foods that really aren’t all they are cracked up to be.

Here are my 10 picks for the most overrated health foods.

1. Yogurt

There is nothing innately wrong with yogurt, the natural product. But the real stuff is not nearly as easy to find as the hyper-sweetened dessert versions filling supermarket shelves. Though yogurt can contain beneficial probiotics, friendly bacteria are also present in other fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi and miso. And if you are worried about acne, dairy is probably not your best choice.

Oh, and the overratedness is doubly true of frozen yogurt.

If you’d rather keep yogurt as your breakfast staple (something I’m certainly not opposed to), go for plain yogurt that is either full or low-fat. Don’t fall for the vanilla trap, it is not plain and has even more sugar than most fruit versions. You need some fat in your yogurt so you can absorb the fat-soluble vitamin D added to most milk-based products.

2. Soy

Soy is another one of those foods that can be perfectly healthy, but can also be processed into oblivion until it’s an unhealthy product. Hydrogenated soy oil is among the most common sources of trans fat. Processed products are often touted as healthy just because they contain soy, but evidence suggests soy is not exactly the health panacea it is often made out to be. For a healthier version, stick to fermented soy products like miso, natto or tempeh.

3. Egg Whites

It baffles me that Americans continue to vilify the most nutritious part of the egg while glorifying the less impressive half. Sure, egg whites are a good source of protein on their own, but you’re probably not lacking protein and would likely benefit from the rich nutrients of the entire egg.

4. Margarine

Why we need a manmade source of processed oils when there are so many naturally healthy sources of fat is beyond me — that is, assuming you can even find margarines that do not contain hydrogenated oils/trans fats. If you really want more stanols and sterols in your diet, try eating more nuts, avocados and vegetables.

5. Bananas

Though I have a bit of a reputation for picking on bananas, I really don’t think they’re all bad and they definitely taste yummy. My biggest problem with them is that they are one of the most calorie-dense fruits you can buy, and most of us don’t need all that extra sugar from a “health” food.

6. Fake Meat

Next time you get a chance, check out the ingredients in your favorite meat substitute. It’s usually a lot of gluten, some processed soy, canola oil, corn starch, and a few bizarre ingredients like “natural vegetarian flavors” (mmm…. vegetarians). Call me crazy, but real meat sounds a lot more appealing.

7. Protein Bars

Remember back in the day when PowerBars tasted like crap? Well they would all still taste that way if manufacturers didn’t fill them with sugar or fake sugar substitutes. Look at the ingredients, the vast majority of protein bars are the same processed junk that’s in everything else, just with a few more vitamins, some added soy protein and possibly some added fiber. Adding nutrients to junk food does not a health food make.

8. Whole Grain Flour

Ah, whole grains, how controversial be thy name. Though I’m not as anti-grain as some folks, I don’t pretend that highly processed “whole wheat flour” is actually good for me. Grains that don’t look like grains are not your friends.

9. Low-Fat Salad Dressing

Yes, fat contains more calories than protein or carbohydrates, but it also enables you to absorb more vitamins from the foods you eat and makes your meals more satisfying. Fat-free dressings do not make you healthier, they make your salad less nourishing.

10. Fruit Juice

Juicing fruit concentrates the sugar while stripping out the filling fiber. When you remember that one 450-mL bottle of orange juice is equivalent to six whole oranges, you can start to see where the problem is.

Original Article:


Is sugar toxic?

(CBS News) Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, believes the high amount of sugar in the American diet, much of it in processed foods, is killing us. And as Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports, new scientific research seems to support his theory that sugar is toxic, including some linking the excess ingestion of sugars to heart disease. Gupta’s report will be broadcast on 60 Minutes Sunday, April 1 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Americans are now consuming nearly 130 pounds of added sugars per person, per year. Those include both sugar and high fructose corn syrup. And while many vilify high fructose corn syrup and believe it is worse than sugar, Dr. Lustig says metabolically there is no difference. “They are basically equivalent. The problem is they’re both bad. They’re both equally toxic,” he says.

Dr. Lustig treats sick, obese children, who he believes are primarily sick because of the amount of sugar they ingest. He says this sugar not only leads to obesity, but to “Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease itself.” Something needs to be done says Dr. Lustig. “Ultimately, this is a public health crisis…you have to do big things and you have to do them across the board,” he tells Gupta. “Tobacco and alcohol are perfect examples,” he says, referring to the regulations imposed on their consumption and the warnings on their labels. “I think sugar belongs in this exact same wastebasket.”

A recent study supports the idea that excess consumption of high fructose corn syrup is linked to an increase in risk factors for heart disease by increasing a type of cholesterol that can clog arteries. The University of California, Davis, study also indicated that calories from added sugars are different than those from other foods. Subjects had 25 percent of their caloric intake replaced with sweetened drinks. Nutritional biologist Kimber Stanhope was surprised to see that after only two weeks, “We found that the subjects who consumed high fructose corn syrup had increased levels of LDL cholesterol and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease,” she tells Gupta. “I started eating and drinking a whole lot less sugar.”

What happens says Stanhope, is the liver gets overloaded with fructose and converts come of it into fat, which gets into the bloodstream to create “small dense LDL,” the kind of LDL that forms plaque in arteries. The irony here is that for precisely that reason – avoiding heart disease – a government commission in the 1970s mandated that we lower our fat consumption. “When you take the fat out of food, it tastes like cardboard,” says Dr. Lustig. “And the food industry knew that, so they replaced it with sugar…and guess what? Heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and death are skyrocketing,” he tells Gupta.

And other scientific work shows that sugar could also be helping some cancer tumors to grow because sugar stimulates the production of the hormone insulin. Nearly a third of common cancers such as some breast and colon cancers, contain insulin receptors that eventually signal the tumor to consume glucose. Lewis Cantley, a Harvard professor and head of the Beth Israel Deaconess Cancer Center, says some of those cancers have learned to adapt to an insulin-rich environment. “They have evolved the ability to hijack that flow of glucose that’s going by in the bloodstream into the tumor itself.”

What does the sugar industry have to say about this? Gupta spoke with Jim Simon, a member of the board of the Sugar Association. “To say that the American consuming public is going to omit, eliminate sweeteners out of their diet, I don’t think gets us there,” he says. Simon points out that the science is “not completely clear” and it’s wrong to single out one food because the real emphasis should be on long-term reduction of calories, balanced diet and exercise.

Original Article:

Buffalo Wild Wings Nutritional Information

So yesterday we went to BWW for lunch and I asked for the Nutritional Information and they didn’t have it in store so I went to the website and it wasn’t there either but I did find something that said you have to email them. So I emailed them and and received it right away. So I didn’t think anything of not being able to get the nutritional info until I saw it.  It is outragous and I believe that they are one of the reasons this country is in such bad shape health wise.  I have never seen nutritional info this bad before.

Buffalo Wild Wings Nutritional Info PDF