(Illustration by Matt Chase)
Anyone who cares about their health already knows to purge the cupboard of refined carbohydrates and added sugars—your white breads, your Tropicanas. And yet many of us live with a rising dread that we are accidentally ingesting terrible things that we don’t even know are terrible, or that are more terrible than we’d allowed ourselves to believe. So we canvassed a panel of experts, from coaches to nutritionists, and asked them to pick one thing you should cut out of their diet if you want to eat healthier and drop weight.
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Abby Calcutt, registered dietitian/nutritionist and health-and-wellness coach (Boston)
"Cut out Arizona Iced Tea. It’s a nice example of a beverage loaded with more sugar than you need in a day, masked with the healthy and healthful label of’ ‘iced tea.’ And while you’re at it, eat foods with more fiber in them: fruits, veggies, beans, and whole grains."
* What You’re Missing: One 24 oz. bottle of Arizona Iced Tea (with lemon flavor) is loaded with 59 grams of sugar.
Stacy Sims, Stanford Exercise Physiologist (San Francisco)
"If I had to choose one food thing, I would choose low/nonfat fruity Greek yogurts. There is such a buzz about Greek yogurt being so great for you, and it’s one of the fastest growing categories in the dairy aisle. But now it has gone overboard with pre-blended granola in it, dessert-like flavors (chocolate anyone?), the sugar content and additives have pushed all the goodness out of Greek yogurt."
* What You’re Missing: Chobani’s Blackberry Fruit on the Bottom Greek Yogurt has 120 calories and, with 15 grams, more sugar than Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
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Lori Zanini, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Los Angeles)
"Flavored coffee creamers! Most coffee creamers seem so innocent because they are added to our coffee in small amounts. What we usually don’t realize is that the majority of coffee creamers contain hydrogenated oils, which are trans fats that can actually harm our heart health by lowering our good cholesterol and increasing our bad cholesterol—while providing additional, empty calories. Since this is likely a daily habit, with multiple cups of coffee, the small amounts can add up to a big health risk. Skip the creamer and drink your coffee black to make your diet healthier today."
* What You’re Missing: One serving of Coffee-mate Extra Sweet & Creamy—and we know you’re putting in more than that one tablespoon—packs 40 calories, nine percent of your daily saturated fat, and six grams of sugar.
Chris Bennett, Nike+ Running Global Head Coach (New York City)
"Stop drinking soda. That includes diet soda, too! It hurts me to even say this, because I love soda. My personal preference is a classic, specifically Coca-Cola Classic. I’ll even tell you how I like it—in a red aluminum can, not a plastic bottle. Regardless, it’s the worst. But soda (any kind of soda) is the easiest thing to take out of your diet because it’s so easily replaceable. And the best part is that it’s replaceable with something extraordinary—water. I am not a big fan of people trying to live Spartan lifestyles, nor am I a believer in fad diets and crash weight-loss plans. But if guys knock soda out of their daily routine and just replace it with water, they will lose weight. They will have more energy. They will be better hydrated. They will recover better. They will look better. They will be doing less damage to their teeth, their bones, their liver, and their kidneys. They will simply be better.
* What You’re Missing: One 12 oz. can of Coca-Cola Classic has 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar.
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Jim White, dietitian and gym owner (Virginia Beach, Virginia)
"Sweet cereals: As delicious as Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Reese’s Puffs cereal may sound, I suggest only consuming these cereals on occasion. That is if you have the self-control to keep these in the cabinet and not eat the whole box. Otherwise, choose high fiber cereals with eight grams of sugar or fewer per serving. Many cereals advertise well by appearing healthy with ‘fresh fruit’ and ‘healthy whole grains,’ but will typically be loaded with refined sugars with little-to-no benefit for your body. Look for whole grains on the ingredient list, not just the front of the box, and at least three grams of fiber per serving. Add a handful of fresh fruit, a few raw almonds, or one tablespoon of ground flaxseed to help fully satisfy you instead of doubling up the serving size."
* What You’re Missing: One serving of Cinnamon Toast Crunch—again, assuming you don’t eat the whole goddamn box—has 130 calories and nine grams of sugar (without milk). Reese’s Puffs will set you back 120 calories and 10 grams of sugar.
Brandon McDaniel, Los Angeles Dodgers strength and conditioning coach
"The biggest thing I see is guys reaching for a granola bar or fruit bar because they have been told that grains are healthy for them. These bars typically have a lot of poor ingredients, high amounts of sugar and are highly processed. I always push our guys towards a real food option that has a balanced amount of carbs, fat and protein."
* What You’re Missing: Remember those Nature Valley Granola Bars you ate as a kid? Well two bars have 190 calories and 12 grams of sugar.
By Bill Bradley
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