The Worst Food and Unhealthiest Drinks in America Exposed

The 20 Worst Foods in America

Restaurant food is bad for us. You may assume that anything you order at a drive-thru is less than sterling in a nutritional sense, but, in fact, the majority of what we eat at restaurants — even ones with helpful waiters and real tablecloths — is worse for us than we might ever imagine.
A study from the University of Arkansas that found the average diner in this country underestimates his or her caloric intake by up to 93 percent when eating out. Translation: Every time you eat at a restaurant, you’re probably eating twice as much as you think.

The scariest part is that it isn’t our fault. By expanding portion sizes, spiking our foods evermore with added sugars and dangerous fats, and slapping misleading labels on menus, the restaurant industry has made it nearly impossible for consumers to accurately gauge the caloric heft of, say, a plate of spaghetti and meatballs or a tropical fruit smoothie.
Some studies even show that nutritionists — the PhD-packing “experts” — can’t get their calorie counts right. So how can you be expected to?

In researching our book “Eat This, Not That,” and to help combat the problem and give people a better idea of how perilous a simple dinner out can be, we spent months reading nutritional info, analyzing food, inspecting menu boards, and, yes, even eating some of these industrial-strength calorie bombs to come up with a list of the restaurant industry’s worst individual offenders. Our primary criterion? Sheer caloric impact. After all, it’s the top cause of weight gain and the health problems that accompany it. We also factored in other key nutritional data, such as excessive carbohydrates and fat, added sugars, trans fats, and sodium.
The result is our first annual list of the worst foods in America.

Worst Drink
Jamba Juice Chocolate Moo’d Power Smoothie (30 fl oz)
900 calories
10 g fat
183 g carbs
166 g sugar

Jamba Juice calls it a smoothie; we call it a milk shake. In fact, this beverage contains more sugar than 2 pints of Ben and Jerry’s Butter Pecan ice cream.

Worst Supermarket Meal
Pepperidge Farm Roasted Chicken Pot Pie (whole pie)
1,020 calories
64 g fat
86 g carbs

The label may say this pie serves 2, but who ever divided a small pot pie in half? Once you crack the crust, there will be no stopping.

Worst Mexican Entree
Chipotle Mexican Grilled Chicken Burrito
1,179 calories
47 g fat
125 g carbs
2,656 mg sodium

Despite a reputation for using healthy, fresh ingredients, Chipotle’s menu is limited to football-size burritos, overstuffed tacos, and gigantic salads — all of which contribute to a humongous waistline.

Worst Kids’ Meal
Macaroni Grill Double Macaroni ‘n’ Cheese
1,210 calories
62 g fat
3,450 mg sodium

It’s like feeding your kid 1½ boxes of Kraft mac ‘n’ cheese.

Worst Fish Entree
On the Border Dos XX Fish Tacos with Rice and Beans
2,100 calories
130 g fat
169 g carbs
4,750 mg sodium

Perhaps the most misleadingly named dish in America: A dozen crunchy tacos from Taco Bell will saddle you with fewer calories.

The Worst Food in America
Outback Steakhouse Aussie Cheese Fries with Ranch Dressing
2,900 calories
182 g fat
240 g carbs

It’s the caloric equivalent of eating 14 Krispy Kreme doughnuts, before your dinner arrives. Even if you split this “starter” with 3 friends, you’ll have downed a meal’s worth of calories.

For a complete list of the 20 Worst Foods in America, and details on how to disarm the restaurant industry’s weapons of mass construction, check out these rankings and nutrition secrets.

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America’s Unhealthiest Drinks Exposed

Americans have a drinking problem, and not the type you might think. After posting a blog a few weeks ago called “Belt-Busting Beverages,” we received hundreds of comments from the Yahoo community claiming they had no idea the stuff they drink could be so hazardous to their waistlines.

Here’s a typical refrain voiced by one disturbed drinker: “I know a lot of people that are battling with their weight, and they tell me all the time, ‘I don’t eat that much, and I still can’t lose weight.’ “

Whether you are a desperate dieter or just someone looking to drop another few pounds in time for beach season, here’s a tough stat to swallow: According to the FDA, the average American takes in 82 grams of added sugars every day. That’s 20 teaspoons, which contribute an empty 317 calories to our already calorie-saturated diets.

Sure, some of that comes from soda, but even if you’ve traded regular Coke for diet, whole milk coffee drinks for low-fat lattes, and you barely touch the booze, you could still be taking in 20 percent or more of your calories from beverages. Add a few of those other indulgences in — or consume one of the liquid disasters listed here — and you can suddenly be sucking in a few days’ worth of calories through a straw!

(You read that last sentence right.)

To give you a better idea of the drinks most responsible for sabotaging your health, fitness, and weight-loss goals, we created a list of America’s Unhealthiest Drinks. Read up, then sip responsibly.

Worst “Healthy” Drink
Glaceau VitaminWater (any flavor; 20 oz bottle)
130 calories
33 grams sugar

Vitamins and water might sound like the ultimate nutritional tag team, but what the label doesn’t say is that a bottle of this stuff carries nearly as much sugar and calories as a can of Coke. Makes sense, though, since this so-called functional beverage is produced by our often-sugar-crazy friends at The Coca-Cola Company.

Worst Juice Imposter
Arizona Kiwi Strawberry (23.5 oz can)
360 calories
84 g of sugar

These hulking calorie cannons (5 percent juice, 95 percent sugar water) are sold at gas stations and convenience stores across America for the low, low price of 99 cents, making this quite possibly the cheapest source of empty calories in the country.

Worst Smoothie
Jamba Juice Peanut Butter Moo’d Power Smoothie (30 oz)
1,170 calories
169 g sugars
30 g fat

Jamba Juice calls it a smoothie; we call it a milkshake, with more sugar than an entire bag of chocolate chips. (Note: We’re pretty sure this is the drink Hollywood actors rely on when looking to put on 20 pounds for the role as a heavy!)

Worst Summer Cocktail
Pina Colada
625 calories
75 g sugars

Made from a blend of sickly-sweet pineapple juice and fat-riddled coconut milk, pina coladas may be this summer’s biggest beach-body saboteurs. In fact, the only redeeming part of this drink is the garnish — that lonely chunk of pineapple hanging from the rim. Try a lime daiquiri or a mojito instead and save up to 400 calories a drink.

The Unhealthiest Drink in America
Baskin Robbin’s Large Heath Bar Shake (32 oz)
2,310 calories
266 g sugar
108 g fat (64 g saturated)

Let’s look at America’s Worst Drink in numbers:

73: The number of ingredients that go into this milkshake.
66: The number of teaspoons of sugar this drink contains.
11: The number of Heath Bars you would have to eat to equal the number of calories found in one Baskin Robbins Large Heath Bar Shake.
8-12: The average number of minutes it takes to consume this drink.
240: The number of minutes you’d need to spend on a treadmill burning it off, running at a moderate pace.

To discover a dozen other drinkable disasters — along with their healthy and delicious alternatives — click here.

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~ by redspyda on May 20, 2008.

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