The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has compiled the 10 worst and 10 best foods (www.cspinet.org, 2012). In brief below are the lists.
CSPI WORST FOODS
1. ARTERY CRUST: Marie Callender's (16.5 oz) Chicken Pot Pie. 1,040 calories, 22 grams of saturated fat (more than a day's worth), and 1,600 mg of sodium (an entire day's worth of salt).
2. TRIPLE BYPASS: Olive Garden's Tour of Italy. Homemade Lasagna, Lightly Breaded Chicken Parmigiana, and Creamy Fettuccine Alfredo - 1,450 calories, 33 grams of saturated fat, and 3,830 milligrams of sodium. Add a breadstick (150 calories and 400 mg of sodium) and a plate of Garden-Fresh Salad with dressing (350 calories and 1,930 mg of sodium) and you'll consume almost 2,000 calories (an entire day's worth) and 6,160 mg sodium (over 3 days worth).
3. SALT'S ON: Campbell's Condensed soup. 760 mg of sodium (half a day’s worth).
4. TORTILLA TERROR: Chipotle Chicken Burrito (tortilla, rice, pinto beans, cheese, chicken, sour cream, and salsa). Think of its 970 calories, and 18 grams of saturated fat as three 6-inch Subway BLT Classic Subs! Skipping the cheese or sour cream cuts the saturated fat to 6 grams, but you still end up with 750 calories and more than a day's worth of sodium.
5. Factory Reject: The Cheesecake Factory Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake. The slab of cake weighs in at three-quarters of a pound. 1,760 calories and 2-1/2 days' worth of saturated fat (50 grams).
6. BURIAL GRANDS: Pillsbury Grands! Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll with Icing has 310 calories and 2 grams of saturated fat plus 2-1/2 grams of trans fat (more than a day's worth) and 5 teaspoons of sugar. Companies are dumping their partially hydrogenated oils left and right, yet Pillsbury still makes most of its rolls and biscuits with the stuff.
7. TRANSGRESSION: Land O'Lakes Margarine. Each tablespoon of the spread has 2.5 grams of trans fat (more than an entire day's limit) and 2 grams of saturated fat. And beware of other trans-filled sticks by Blue Bonnet, Parkay, Country Crock, and Fleischmann's. At least those brands don't imply that a bit of ALA outweighs the harm caused by the margarine's trans and saturated fat. Shopping tip: Look for tub margarines – most have little or no trans fat.
8. STARBUCKS ON STEROIDS: 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 McDonalds Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Few people have room in their diets for the 580 calories and 15 grams of saturated fat that this hefty beverage supplies. But you can lose 130 calories and almost two-thirds of the bad fat if you order it with nonfat milk and no whipped cream.
9. EXTREME ICE CREAM: Haagen-Dazs ice cream. An average half cup serving squeezes half-a-day's saturated fat and a third-of-a-day's cholesterol into your artery walls and makes a nearly 300-calorie down-payment on your next set of fat cells.
10. STONE COLD: Cold Stone Creamery's Oh Fudge! shake (chocolate ice cream, milk, and fudge syrup) starts at 1,250 calories for the "Like It" (16 oz) size. That's more than a large (32 oz) McDonald’s McCafe Chocolate Triple Thick Shake. The "Love It" (20 oz) has 1,660 calories and the "Gotta Have It" (24 oz) reaches 1,920 calories (just about an entire day's worth) and 69 grams of saturated fat (3-1/2 days' worth). That's the saturated fat content of two 16 oz T-bone steaks plus a buttered baked potato, all blended into a handy 24 oz cup.
CSPI BEST FOODS
1. SWEET POTATOES: A nutritional All-Star - one of the best vegetables you can eat. They're loaded with carotenoids, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Bake and then mix in some unsweetened applesauce or crushed pineapple for extra moisture and sweetness.
2. MANGOES: Just one cup of mango supplies 100% of a day's vitamin C, one-third of a day's vitamin A, a decent dose of blood-pressure-lowering potassium, and 3 grams of fiber. Bonus: mango is one of the fruits least likely to have pesticide residues.
3. UNSWEETENED GREEK YOGURT: Non-fat, plain Greek yogurt has a pleasant tartness that's a perfect foil for the natural sweetness of berries, bananas, or your favorite breakfast cereal. It's strained, so even the fat-free versions are thick and creamy. And the lost liquid means that the yogurt that's left has twice the protein of ordinary yogurt - about 17 grams in 6 ounces of plain Greek yogurt.
4. BROCCOLI: It has lots of vitamin C, carotenoids, vitamin K and folic acid. Steam it just enough so that it's still firm and add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and a spritz of lemon juice.
5. WILD SALMON: The omega-3 fats in fatty fish like salmon can help reduce the risk of sudden-death heart attacks. And wild-caught salmon has less PCB contaminants than farmed salmon.
6. CRISPBREADS: Whole-grain rye crackers, like Wasa, Kavli, and Ryvita - usually called crispbreads - are loaded with fiber and often fat-free. Drizzle with a little honey and sprinkle with cinnamon to satisfy your sweet tooth.
7. GARBANZO BEANS: All beans are good beans. They're rich in protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. But garbanzos stand out because they're so versatile. Just drain, rinse, and toss a handful on your green salad; throw them into vegetable stews, curries, and soups; mix them with brown rice, whole wheat couscous, bulgur, or other whole grains.
8. WATERMELON: Watermelon is a heavyweight in the nutrient department. A standard serving (about 2 cups) has one-third of a day's vitamins A and C, a nice shot of potassium, and a healthy dose of lycopene for only 80 fat-free, salt-free calories. And when they're in season, watermelons are often locally grown, which means they may have a smaller carbon footprint than some other fruits.
9. BUTTERNUT SQUASH: Steam a sliced squash or buy peeled, diced butternut squash at the supermarket that's ready to go into the oven, a stir-fry, or a soup. It's an easy way to get lots of vitamins A and C and fiber.
10. LEAFY GREENS: Don't miss out on powerhouse greens like kale, collards, spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, and Swiss chard. These stand-out leafy greens are jam-packed with vitamins A, C, and K, folate, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, lutein, and fiber. Serve with a splash of lemon juice or red wine vinegar.
For more information, go to: