junk food http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4502/all en-US The High Cost of Cheap Food http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-cheap-food <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-high-cost-of-cheap-food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000040083502_Large.jpg" alt="cheap food has shockingly high costs" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Compared to most Americans, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-finding-food">I spend a lot of money on food</a>, almost $100 per month just for fresh produce. But even my grocery bill pales in comparison to what the rest of the world spends on basic nutrition.</p> <p>Americans spend <em>less </em>money as a percentage of income on food than people of any other country in the world. On average, only <a href="http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/ag-and-food-statistics-charting-the-essentials/food-prices-and-spending.aspx">6% of our household budget</a> goes to pay for food, compared to the French, who eat through 14% of their income, or the Kenyans, who spend 45% of each paycheck on groceries.</p> <p>But even though it seems like we may be saving money on food compared to the rest of the world, what is the real cost of cheap eats? Let's find out.</p> <h2>It Costs Tax Payers 20 Billion Dollars Per Year</h2> <p>Although fresh produce is out of the budget range of many Americans, the sick irony is that food, especially packaged food, is cheaper in the United States than pretty much anywhere else in the world. This is because the cost of crops like corn is kept artificially low by the government.</p> <p>Food in the United States wasn't always this cheap, though. In 1960 our <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/03/02/389578089/your-grandparents-spent-more-of-their-money-on-food-than-you-do">grandparents were spending about 17.5%</a> of their income on food. Then, in the 1970s, Earl Butz, Nixon's Secretary of Agriculture, re-engineered New Deal farm programs that were meant to stabilize the food supply, into a support system for the factory farming of corn and soy.</p> <p>Starting in 1971, crops like corn, soy, and wheat started getting heavily subsidized &mdash; to the tune of 20 billion dollars a year. What this means is that corn farmers can make more money from their government subsidy than they do by actually selling corn. Of course, since farmers have such a wonderful incentive to grow corn, they grow lots and lots of it.</p> <h2>We Pay for Cheap Food Twice</h2> <p>So how do farmers dispose of their artificially cheap product, paid for, in part, by taxpayer dollars? By selling it to food manufacturers as filler, preservatives, and binding agents. Surprise! All those mystery ingredients listed on food packages like citric acid, fructose, sorbitol, dextrose, lactic acid, MSG, malt, and diglycerides are all corn byproducts. And, each of these non-food ingredients contains calories.</p> <h2>We End Up Spending More Money on Health Care</h2> <p>Documentary films like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017JLWVPY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B017JLWVPY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=SRYAPRKLX6ILCMPD">Super Size Me</a> and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002VRZEYM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B002VRZEYM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ILATPAZ6BC255M5L">Food Inc.</a> have spotlighted the health consequences of cheap food, especially on America's poor. But obesity, heart disease, and diabetes are not the only health problems linked to fast food. A Harvard Medical School study also found that <a href="http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/think-fast-when-kids-want-fast-food-201301315846">children who eat fast food</a> three times a week had increased risks of asthma and eczema.</p> <p>U.S. farmers actually produce the equivalent of <a href="http://www.usda.gov/factbook/chapter2.htm">3,800 calories per person</a> per day. This is at least <a href="http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/usda_food_patterns/EstimatedCalorieNeedsPerDayTable.pdf">1,000 calories more per day</a> than is recommended for people who are moderately active. So is it any wonder that Americans are fat?</p> <h2>It Causes Poverty and Hunger</h2> <p>As a result of NAFTA, Mexico has been flooded with cheap, government subsidized corn from the United States. Mexico, which is the birthplace of corn, now imports a third of its corn from America.</p> <p>There are some huge problems with other nations becoming dependent on subsidized American crops. First, Mexican corn farmers who were unable to compete against the artificially low cost of imported U.S. corn were forced out of business. Obviously, when farmers lose their farms, they don't grow food to eat, they don't grow food to sell, and without work, they have no money to buy food. Millions of Mexican farmers lost their jobs due to cheap, imported food. Also, when poor countries become dependent on cheap imported foods, they risk a food crisis when there is a price spike on staple foods. This can lead to widespread hunger, which is what happened in Mexico with corn in 2007 and in the Philippines with rice in 2008.</p> <h2>The Environmental Cost Is Staggering</h2> <p>To quote FDR, &quot;A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.&quot; Farming is difficult and expensive, so many farmers are forced to max out production or go out of business. This 'go big or go broke' behavior is not financially or environmentally sustainable. Monoculture farming, although extremely efficient, burns through resources like water and topsoil. Commercial agriculture is currently <a href="http://modernfarmer.com/2015/07/ogallala-aquifer-depletion/">draining groundwater</a> in the Midwest about eight times faster than rain is putting it back in. This could lead to a second Dust Bowl.</p> <h2>Animals Pay the Price</h2> <p>If you forced a dog to live in a small box for its entire life, you could be arrested for animal cruelty and your neighbors would treat you like a pariah. What most people don't want to think about is that this kind of torture is the typical experience of <a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/feature/belly-beast-meat-factory-farms-animal-activists">factory-farmed chickens, pigs, and cows</a>. Some animals will only see daylight on the day that they are slaughtered. Animal cruelty is the price of cheap meat.</p> <h2>The Working Conditions Are Terrible</h2> <p>Animals aren't the only ones that subsidize low food prices with their bodies. Last year an investigation by The Guardian revealed that much of the <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/10/supermarket-prawns-thailand-produced-slave-labour">shrimp that the U.S. imports from Thailand</a> was the work product of slaves. But slave labor doesn't just happen in the Third World. Thousands of farm workers in the United States work in very poor conditions. More than 1,200 people have been rescued from <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/08/26/139972669/the-unsavory-story-of-industrially-grown-tomatoes">agricultural slavery rings in Florida</a> alone.</p> <h2>You Risk Sickness</h2> <p>While Chipotle is blaming its multistate <a href="http://www.eater.com/2016/2/5/10922434/chipotle-e-coli-beef-australia">E. Coli outbreak on Australian beef</a>, it's frankly shocking that this type of mass food poisoning doesn't happen more often.</p> <p>For starters, it is common practice in the United States to <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/12/we-feed-cows-chicken-poop">feed cows chicken poop</a>. Also, in order to cut costs, some slaughterhouses have managed to speed up their kill lines by 50%. Not only does this massive increase in volume result in more <a href="http://foodsafety.news21.com/2011/safety/inspection/feces/">food contamination from fecal matter</a>, but also more animal abuse and human rights violations. Stool run-off from factory farming, or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in agribusiness parlance, <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1817674/">pollute the water table</a> and create <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/28/AR2010022803978.html?sid=ST2010030100323">dead zones</a> in oceans and rivers.</p> <h2>We're Funding the Zombie Apocalypse</h2> <p>One of modern life's existential horrors is the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria caused by antibiotic overuse. So, while parents are becoming more selective about dosing their kids for minor illnesses, these same moms and dads are unaware that livestock in the United States &mdash; because the animals are constantly sick from a diet of garbage and from standing in their own waste &mdash; is pumped full of antibiotics. In fact, the FDA has confirmed that <a href="http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/02/fda-confirms-80-percent-of-antibiotics-used-in-animal-ag/#.Vx-nJqMrKRt">animal agriculture consumes 80% of all antibiotics</a> used in America. While meat producers argue that they are not breeding superbugs along with their livestock, a team of researchers from the <a href="http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/04/14/cid.cir181.full.pdf">Translational Genomics Research Institute</a> discovered that one in four packages of meat and poultry in the United States contains multidrug resistant staph bacteria.</p> <h2>What Can One Person Do?</h2> <p>Ugh. All of this is terrible. Is it actually possible to eat responsibly without going broke or supporting human trafficking? Here are some things to consider.</p> <h3>1. Don't Waste Food</h3> <p>When food goes to waste, you not only waste money, you waste all the water, fertilizer, and labor that went into growing the food and transporting it to your plate. So, even if you don't know if your food is ethically produced, you don't have to be the weakest link.</p> <h3>2. Eat Healthy on a Budget</h3> <p>Eating a really <a href="http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/3/12/e004277.full?sid=820d6e1a-280e-47a6-b8c5-498bfa4657e3">healthy diet costs $1.50 more per day</a> than eating an unhealthy diet. And $550 per year is a steep cost for many people, but compared to diet-related health costs, this is chump change. Every effort to eat healthy is a reward to your body, so just do as much as you can afford.</p> <p>Luckily, even people on food assistance can eat healthy. Leanne Brown created <a href="https://8b862ca0073972f0472b704e2c0c21d0480f50d3.googledrive.com/host/0Bxd6wdCBD_2tdUdtM0d4WTJmclU/good-and-cheap.pdf">Good and Cheap</a>, a free online cookbook for people living on the SNAP budget of $4 per day for food. The book is beautifully photographed and the recipes are delicious. Brown's recipes encourage flexibility &mdash; because staying on budget means cooking with what's on sale and available. She has made it easy to substitute ingredients and still prepare yummy meals.</p> <h3>3. Eat Less Meat</h3> <p>Livestock accounts for 18% of greenhouse gases. So one simple thing that everyone can do to slow down global warming is to eat less meat. Personally, my husband and I <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-finding-food">save a ton of money</a> by eating lower on the food chain. We are &quot;domestic vegetarians,&quot; who eat meatless, homemade meals during the week.</p> <h3>4. Drink Less Sugar</h3> <p>A recent study of school children in my neighborhood revealed that 40% of their calorie intake came from sugary beverages. (It should come as no surprise that childhood obesity is at epidemic levels in my area.) When this fact was brought to light, a number of families were able to make one healthy dietary change that also saves them hundreds of dollars every year: they started drinking tap water instead of soda.</p> <h3>5. Shop Seasonally</h3> <p>Buy in-season produce. If you see peaches at the grocery store in December, you can pretty much assume that fruit was grown outside of the country. You will pay extra for the shipping costs of your food, and the planet will pay the cost of the transport in the form of more pollution.</p> <p>Also, from a straight-up foodie standpoint, produce that must be transported is bred for shipping, not for flavor, which is why store-bought tomatoes are tasteless. In-season produce, which has been allowed to ripen on the plant or in the field, not only taste better than produce that was picked green, but is more nutritious.</p> <h3>6. Shop Locally</h3> <p>Support your local growers. It costs a lot of money to grow high quality food, sustainably. Even if you cannot afford to buy all your food locally, every little purchase counts, and all that money goes back to your own community. Also, it pays to ask around. I literally get tons of free backyard fruit donated to me every year by neighbors who can't eat through all their backyard produce and don't want it to go to waste. There are ways to find low cost food with a low carbon footprint pretty much everywhere. Just do what you can.</p> <p><em>Are you concerned about the impact of cheap food on the planet? What do you do to eat more responsibly?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-cheap-food">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-there-be-a-fat-tax-on-junk-food">Should There Be a &quot;Fat Tax&quot; on Junk Food?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-is-it-so-expensive-to-be-healthy">Why is it so expensive to be healthy?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-foods-scientifically-proven-to-increase-your-lifespan">6 Foods Scientifically Proven to Increase Your Lifespan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-fast-food-items-say-fast-food-employees">“Avoid These Fast Food Items,” Say Fast Food Employees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-new-face-of-poverty-is-fat">The new face of poverty is fat</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Health and Beauty budget meals Cheap Food dollar menus Fast Food food budget Health junk food Wed, 27 Apr 2016 10:00:09 +0000 Max Wong 1698447 at http://www.wisebread.com The 6 Most Surprisingly Unhealthy Beverages http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-most-surprisingly-unhealthy-beverages <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-6-most-surprisingly-unhealthy-beverages" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/boy-drinking-soda-101067133-small.jpg" alt="boy drinking soda" title="boy drinking soda" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Think what you're eating is what matters most in your diet? Maybe it's what you're washing it all down with that's really the problem. According to statistics compiled by the Harvard School of Public Health, the rising consumption of <a href="http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-drinks/sugary-drinks/#ref31">sugary drinks is a major contributor to obesity</a> in the United States. In fact, for about 25% of Americans, these drinks contribute 200 or more calories to their diet each day. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-reasons-to-stop-drinking-soda?ref=seealso">22 Reasons to Stop Drinking Soda</a>)</p> <p>Of course, the obvious culprit is soda (or &quot;pop,&quot; depending on where you live). Fizzy, sugary drinks are also the indulgence that get vilified the most in the press and nutritional publications. Unfortunately, that isn't the only unhealthy drink you should be avoiding. Check out these six surprisingly unhealthy beverages you may have overlooked.</p> <h2>1. Rice Milk</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Rice%20Milk.jpg" /></p> <p>Cow's milk often gets a bad rap, whether for its saturated fat content, or the hormones that are too often fed to milking cows, or to the conditions in which those cows produce their milk. And while those may all be valid concerns, many milk substitutes have problems of their own. Rice milk, in particular, <a href="http://www.rd.com/slideshows/unhealthy-foods/#slideshow=slide11">is essentially just starchy water</a>; if it isn't fortified, it provides virtually nothing in the way of protein or vitamins. Much like soda, rice milk only promises empty calories.</p> <h2>2. Smoothies</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/smoothies.jpg" /></p> <p>When it comes to having a refreshing summer treat, a smoothie seems like a good bet. But you might be better off getting the ice cream. Because let's face it: That's what you really want anyway, and you probably won't be any worse off for it.</p> <p>Smoothies tend to start out as being pretty healthy. They often contain yogurt and fruit. But then, many smoothie and drink chains add sugar, protein powders, juice, and ice cream, ratcheting up the calories to as many as 500 per cup. That said, a few chains do make healthy, relatively low calorie smoothies. Just check the nutritional information rather than assuming that a smoothie is a health food. Or take control of what's in your smoothie by <a href="http://greatist.com/health/healthy-smoothie-recipes">making your own at home</a>.</p> <h2>3. Vitamin Water</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Vitamin%20Water.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Vitamins and water. It sounds like a good combo, right? After all, our bodies need both. But before you pop the cap on one of these drinks, take a look at the label. Sure, there are plenty of vitamins, as promised. But there's also a lot of sugar. About 120 calories' worth in a typical bottle. That's less than what you'll find in the same about of soda, but not by much. And as for vitamins, well, even the leading vitamin water producer says <a href="http://foodidentitytheft.com/lawyers-for-vitaminwater-admit-drinks-health-benefits-not-meant-to-be-believed/">they probably won't do you much good</a>. Is it any wonder vitamin waters are hawked by major soft drink companies like Coca Cola?</p> <h2>4. Iced Tea</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Iced%20Tea.jpg" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/drink-your-tea-types-health-benefits-and-how-to-brew-a-perfect-cup">Tea has tons of health benefits</a>, but when it's brewed and bottled and sold as iced tea, its health benefits get a little murky.</p> <p>Most people drink what those in Southern United States call &quot;sweet tea.&quot; According to the United States Department of Agriculture's Nutrient Database, a 12-ounce glass of iced sweet tea is almost entirely made of water and carbohydrates, with 136 calories, no fat, fiber, or protein, and 32 grams of sugar. Compare that to a typical can of soda, which has about 150 calories. Sure, there are some antioxidants in that tea, but in bottled varieties,<a href="http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/blogs/dont-drink-bottled-green-tea-for-antioxidants"> those levels are often pretty low</a>. In other words, iced tea isn't much better than soda unless you make your own and keep sugar to a minimum.</p> <h2>5. Fruit Juice</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Fruit%20Juice.jpg" /></p> <p>A glass of fruit juice has long been represented on the USDA's Food Guide as a serving of fruit. Unfortunately, more recent research has found that while 100% fruit juice is made of fruit, it doesn't act like fruit in our bodies. Juice does include some vitamins and minerals, but it lacks whole fruit's fiber, which is what helps all the sugar in fruit enter our bloodstream at a slower rate. Plus,<a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/juice-as-bad-as-soda-docs-say/"> many fruit juices are as sugary as soft drinks</a>. In small quantities, the vitamins in juice make it a little healthier than soda, but not by much.</p> <h2>6. Diet Soda</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Diet%20Soda.jpg" /></p> <p>If you're a diet soda lover, you probably know it isn't <em>healthy</em> for you, exactly, but you may assume think it's a cut above sugar-sweetened fizzy drinks. Unfortunately, calorie-free diet drinks aren't free of health consequences. According to a 2008 University of Minnesota study, just one diet soda a day is linked to an <a href="http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/32/4/688.short">increased risk of metabolic syndrome.</a> A University of Texas Health Science Center study found that downing two or more cans of <a href="http://www.healthyhorns.utexas.edu/n_dietsoda.html">diet soda per day increased people's waistlines by 500%</a>. Diet soda consumption has even been linked to <a href="http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20091102/diet-sodas-hard-on-the-kidneys">kidney problems</a> and <a href="http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/acid-reflux-and-soda-connection/#axzz39Z9xpQZy">acid reflux</a>.</p> <p>The bottom line? Many drinks that are marketed as being healthy &mdash; or healthier &mdash; are just as bad for your health as soda.</p> <p><em>Any other surprisingly unhealthy beverages? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-most-surprisingly-unhealthy-beverages">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-caffeine-is-in-that">How Much Caffeine is in That?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-health-foods-that-are-actually-making-you-fatter">10 Health Foods That Are Actually Making You Fatter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-reasons-to-stop-drinking-soda">22 Reasons to Stop Drinking Soda</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-to-drink-tea">10 Reasons to Drink Tea</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/unexpected-delicious-drinks-you-can-make-at-home">Unexpected, Delicious Drinks You Can Make at Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink beverages healthy food junk food pop soda tea unhealthy food Tue, 19 Aug 2014 21:00:05 +0000 Tara Struyk 1189082 at http://www.wisebread.com Make 15 Junk Food Favorites Healthier and Cheaper at Home http://www.wisebread.com/make-15-junk-food-favorites-healthier-and-cheaper-at-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-15-junk-food-favorites-healthier-and-cheaper-at-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/chicken-nuggets-179083486-small.jpg" alt="chicken nuggets" title="chicken nuggets" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether we want to admit it or not, we live in a world full of brightly packaged &quot;foods&quot; and gigantic restaurant portions. Sure, I'd love to say that I never have cravings and &mdash; instead &mdash; only fill my stomach with whole foods. I'm a child of the 1990s, however, and I'm pretty sure I subsisted on a lot of unhealthy eats throughout my teens. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-healthy-recipes-for-lazy-people?ref=seealso">25 Healthy Recipes for Lazy People</a>)</p> <p>When I get the cravings these days, I either try to skip these foods entirely or go online to find healthier ways to make them at home so they pack less of a processed punch.</p> <h2>1. Pizza Hut Breadsticks</h2> <p>I'm keen on those warm, crusty breadsticks, and this <a href="http://www.seededatthetable.com/2011/05/11/parmesan-breadsticks/">copycat recipe</a> &mdash; complete with sticks and herbed Parmesan topping &mdash; looks incredibly satisfying. If you don't need 3 dozen breadsticks, you can easily make a half batch for weeknight snacking, and I'd suggest substituting half the white flour with whole wheat.</p> <h2>2. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups</h2> <p>I don't care so much about whatever holiday is next, but I sure look forward to finding Reese's eggs, trees, and other shapes to stuff my face with. This delicious <a href="http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2012/03/29/copycat-recipe-reeses-peanut-butter-eggs/">Peanut Butter Egg</a> recipe uses stevia and powdered sugar for sweetness, so it's certain to be much healthier than the original!</p> <h2>3. Peanut Butter Twix</h2> <p>Next in line after Reese's, my favorite candy is peanut butter Twix. This <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2010/03/homemade-chocolate-peanut-butter-twix.html">homemade recipe</a> looks a little time intensive, but it's certainly worth the effort. The best part? The peanut butter gets a more authentic texture with crumbled graham crackers.</p> <h2>4. Chicken McNuggets</h2> <p>I didn't know it was possible to make this next dish healthy, but these copycat <a href="http://cookinwithsuperpickle.blogspot.com/2010/01/chicken-nuggets-mcdonalds-style-kinda.html">Chicken McNuggets</a> are baked and gluten-free. They are also made from real chicken breast, which is far better than whatever is in the drive-through favorite. I always used to dip mine in honey!</p> <h2>5. Egg McMuffin</h2> <p>While we're on the fast food giant, check out these <a href="http://www.recipesquickneasy.com/healthy-egg-mcmuffin-copycats/">Egg McMuffins</a> made with Canadian bacon, low-calorie cheese, and whole grain English muffins. The recipe yields 12, so you can make a big batch to freeze for quick breakfasts on the go. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-make-ahead-freezable-hot-breakfast-recipes?ref=seealso">9 Make Ahead Freezable Breakfast Meals</a>)</p> <h2>6. Pop-Tarts</h2> <p>I definitely ate my fair share of Pop-Tarts growing up, and not as part of a healthy breakfast. This <a href="http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2010/04/homemade-pop-tarts/">tasty version</a> can be filled with anything from cinnamon to jam to Nutella, but whatever you choose is bound to be better than its packaged counterpart.</p> <h2>7. Orange Julius</h2> <p>I'd get this drink when we'd visit the mall, and what a treat it was! This <a href="http://www.blendtec.com/blog/orange-julius-copycat/">homemade copycat beverage</a> is sweetened with only fruit and made vegan by using almond milk, though I'm sure you can substitute in whatever dairy you prefer.</p> <h2>8. Wendy's Frosty</h2> <p>I've seen a lot of Frosty copycat recipes, but <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/wendys-frosty-copycat-4-ww-points-176818/photo">this chocolatey one</a> seems to be lighter than the rest. It's also Weight Watchers approved with only four points. If points don't matter and you're avoiding sugar substitutes, you could always use regular pudding mix with similar results.</p> <h2>9. Olive Garden Dressing</h2> <p>This recipe might not be entirely healthier than the restaurant mix, but it might get you eating more veggies at home. Try the <a href="http://www.frugalcouponliving.com/2014/05/18/copycat-olive-garden-dressing-salad-recipe/">Olive Garden Dressing</a> copycat and chill in your refrigerator for weeks of crunchy salads on demand.</p> <h2>10. Twinkie</h2> <p>It doesn't get more basic than the Twinkie. Here's a <a href="http://www.elanaspantry.com/gluten-free-twinkies/">healthy recipe</a> to try that also happens to be gluten free and extra gooey. If you don't like agave nectar, you can substitute maple syrup or honey for natural sweetness.</p> <h2>11. Rice Krispy Treats</h2> <p>I may need to make this recipe tonight because I'm already drooling over these <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2010/11/ooey-gooey-crispy-rice-treats.html">Crisp Rice Treats</a> that are made with brown rice cereal, Ricemellow Creme, and &mdash; yes &mdash; peanut butter. Drizzle some dark chocolate on top to take this dessert over the edge.</p> <h2>12. Mac and Cheese</h2> <p>I grew up on Velveeta mac and cheese, but I don't even want to know what is in that orange melty stuff. The author of this <a href="http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2012/12/09/vegan-macaroni-and-cheese/">vegan copycat recipe</a> claims this has all the classic flavor &mdash; all without containing any animal products whatsoever. The secret? Nuts!</p> <h2>13. Slurpee</h2> <p>This <a href="http://pikachakula.com/recipe/strawberry-lemonade-healthy-slurpee">Strawberry Lemonade Slurpee</a> recipe will take your love of the frosty drink to a new level. There's still plenty of summer left to enjoy, and the author offers up several fruit swaps for different variations. I'll take a mango plus peach, please!</p> <h2>14. Fruit Roll-Ups</h2> <p>I can't even begin to quantify how many Fruit Roll-Ups I must have eaten as a kid. Now I make them at home for my own child using real fruit. Check out this (video) recipe to make naturally sweetened <a href="http://veggiefocus.com/blog/fruit-roll-ups-video/">Strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups</a> using either an oven on low temperature or dedicated dehydrator.</p> <h2>15. Thin Mints</h2> <p>I was thrilled when I saw packaged Girl Scout style cookies pop up on grocery shelves. But they still just aren't as wholesome as homemade. Try this <a href="http://lexiscleankitchen.com/2014/03/04/paleo-thin-mints/">Paleo Thin Mints</a> recipe for a treat even your caveman ancestors might have enjoyed.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite (and wholesome) copycat recipes?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-15-junk-food-favorites-healthier-and-cheaper-at-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-most-surprisingly-unhealthy-beverages">The 6 Most Surprisingly Unhealthy Beverages</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-health-foods-that-are-actually-making-you-fatter">10 Health Foods That Are Actually Making You Fatter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/win-your-next-potluck-with-one-of-these-23-cheap-easy-potluck-dishes">Win Your Next Potluck With One of These 23 Cheap, Easy Potluck Dishes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-healthiest-grocery-stores">The 6 Healthiest Grocery Stores</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-delicious-and-dollar-wise-winter-staples">15 Delicious and Dollar-Wise Winter Staples</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink copycat recipes frugal recipes healthy food junk food Fri, 15 Aug 2014 17:00:04 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1184055 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Health Foods That Are Actually Making You Fatter http://www.wisebread.com/10-health-foods-that-are-actually-making-you-fatter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-health-foods-that-are-actually-making-you-fatter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-orange-juice-461525185-small.jpg" alt="orange juice" title="orange juice" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes we think we're doing our bodies good when we're actually not. Misleading marketing or the temptation to over-eat foods that are nutritious when &mdash; and only when &mdash; consumed in moderation are the most common culprits. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-health-food-worse-for-you-than-junk-food?ref=seealso">Is &quot;Health Food&quot; Worse for You Than &quot;Junk Food&quot;?</a>)</p> <p>But you're in luck, because we're here to help with our list of 10 foods commonly consumed in the name of health, but may actually be destroying it. So read on! Your waistline will thank us.</p> <h2>1. Fruit Juice</h2> <p>Next time you pour yourself a big glass of juice, think about this: a 16-ounce bottle of orange or apple juice has the same amount of carbs as five slices of bread. That's because many juice brands contain more flavored sugar water than actual fruit juice. Some leading juice brands don't contain <em>any</em> fruit. Zip.</p> <p>Needless to say, you're much better off eating your daily servings of fruit than trying to drink them. Otherwise, you might as well wash down that healthy breakfast with a can of soda.</p> <h2>2. Protein Bars With Ridiculously High Sugar Content</h2> <p>Rule of thumb: Read the nutrition label before you take a bite. This goes for most foods, but especially protein bars. A quick look at the label will help you determine whether your health-food bar isn't really just a candy bar in a deceiving package. That's because, unless it's organic, many protein bars are full of artificial, filler ingredients and sky-high sugar content.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wellandgoodnyc.com/2012/07/16/the-5-best-and-worst-nutrition-bars/">Opt for bars by Kind, Larabar, and Quest</a> if you want real, healthful ingredients.</p> <h2>3. Fruit and Nut Mix</h2> <p>A handful is about all you get in a serving of fruit and nut mix. But the stuff is so good that in a single sitting we're apt to eat much, much more. The main ingredients aren't exactly optimal, either. Dried fruit is packed with up to eight times more calories as fresh fruit. That's because dried fruit is dehydrated, more dense, and sometimes coated in added sugar. Fresh grapes, for example, have 60 calories per cup while raisins have 430. And, yes, nuts are a great source of protein &mdash; but they're also fatty.</p> <p>Try opting for a fruit and nut bar instead. This way you won't run the risk of accidentally chowing down on four portions at a time.</p> <h2>4. Avocado</h2> <p>Avocados are packed with vitamins, minerals, and&hellip; lots of fats. Healthy fats, but fats nonetheless. In fact, about 85% of the total calories in an avocado come from fat. Now, before you give up on this delicious, green fruit, remember that avocados are extremely healthy &mdash; in moderation. But if you overindulge, you're likely to start packing on the pounds. Even healthy fats can cause weight gain when over-consumed.</p> <h2>5. Cereal</h2> <p>Even the so-called &quot;healthy&quot; breakfast cereals are loaded with <a href="http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/sugar-problem/refined-sugar-the-sweetest-poison-of-all">sugar</a> and <a href="http://www.livestrong.com/article/28412-list-refined-carbs/">refined carbs</a>. A bowl of that in the morning will shoot your blood sugar level to high heaven. The only direction from there is down. You're bound to crash two to three hours later. And when you do, your body will be craving another shot of sugar and refined carbs. It's a vicious cycle that does no good for your overall health.</p> <p>But that doesn't mean you should skip what's known as the most important meal of the day. Eggs, fruit, and oatmeal are all examples of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-healthy-easy-breakfasts-for-people-on-the-go">healthful morning meal options</a> that will keep you feeling fresh and alert without that mid-morning crash.</p> <h2>6. Commercial Salad Dressing</h2> <p>For those of you who are inclined to fix a salad that tastes more like the dressing than the actual salad, consider your attempts at healthy-eating to be officially backfired. The majority of dressings available at grocery stores are loaded with absolute crap ingredients like <a href="http://authoritynutrition.com/are-vegetable-and-seed-oils-bad/">vegetable oils</a> and <a href="http://drhyman.com/blog/2011/05/13/5-reasons-high-fructose-corn-syrup-will-kill-you/">high fructose corn syrup</a>. No matter how many healthy veggies you've got mixed in there, with dressing like that, you're not doing your body any favors.</p> <p>If you can't ditch or significantly reduce your consumption of store-bought dressings, it's about time you started making your own dressing from scratch. This way you'll know exactly what ingredients you're using to drown out your greens. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-money-saving-healthy-homemade-salad-dressings?ref=seealso">5 Best Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes</a>)</p> <h2>7. Gluten-Free Junk Foods</h2> <p>A cookie's still a cookie &mdash; gluten-free or not. That's because the absence of gluten in a food product doesn't make it one lick healthier than it's gluten-friendly counterpart &mdash; though many consumers have been led to believe otherwise. The reason for the recent <a href="http://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/percentage-of-us-adults-trying-to-cut-down-or-avoid-gluten-in-their-diets-reaches-new-high-in-2013-reports-npd/">rise in popularity of gluten-free products</a> is the surge in gluten allergy or gluten intolerance diagnosis. But there's absolutely no health benefit to jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon if you haven't been diagnosed with an allergy or intolerance yourself.</p> <p>So don't forget that a gluten-free muffin contains just as much fat as a regular muffin. Unfortunately, there's no such thing as a healthy muffin. It's really just a repurposed slice of cake.</p> <h2>8. Tofu</h2> <p>Despite the vast nutritional benefits of this protein-packed alternative to red meat, there are a slew of tofu dishes that aren't exactly portraits of healthy eating. Tofu that's been <a href="http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/is-fried-tofu-a-healthy-option.html#b">prepared in a deep frier</a>, for example, is merely a calorie-rich version of an otherwise low-fat, low-cal food. And beware of tofu that's been slathered with high-cal marinades or sauces. You wouldn't qualify a caramel apple as a health food, would you?</p> <h2>9. Veggie Burgers</h2> <p>Anything made of vegetables is healthy, right? Not necessarily. A veggie burger is still a burger, and can contain more than 1,000 calories when loaded with toppings and a bun.</p> <p>The vegetables in these patties undergo a good deal of processing, a process that zaps much of the nutrients. And many veggie burgers based not in vegetables but <a href="http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/1-food-women-should-avoid-processed-soy">processed soy</a>, which lacks the fiber and omega-3's that make soy healthy in the first place. Studies show processed soy can also lead to hormonal imbalance.</p> <p>Yes, veggie burgers can be healthy alternatives to hamburgers. You just need to know what to look for. Check the label for brands with <a href="http://greatist.com/health/dangerfood-veggie-burgers">fewer than 10 grams of protein</a>. That's a pretty good indicator that the patties are based in vegetables rather than soy since soy-based veggie burgers typically contain more than 10 grams of protein.</p> <h2>10. Wraps</h2> <p>Beware of this sneaky bread alternative. Many of these sandwich wraps can pack as many as 300 calories all on their own &mdash; and that's before you add those meats and veggies. A typical wrap can be up to a foot long, and if you coat that entire canvas with mayonnaise and other spreads you're very likely doubling the number of condiment calories you'll consume than if you were to make a sandwich on two slices of bread. Plus, wraps are commonly made from refined grains, which don't give you the fiber you need for a healthy lunch.</p> <p><em>Are you still eating any of these unhealthy &quot;health&quot; foods?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-health-foods-that-are-actually-making-you-fatter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-supposedly-unhealthy-foods-that-are-actually-good-for-you">8 Supposedly Unhealthy Foods That Are Actually Good for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-most-surprisingly-unhealthy-beverages">The 6 Most Surprisingly Unhealthy Beverages</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-eating-these-6-things-your-diet-is-doing-nothing">If You&#039;re Eating These 6 Things, Your &quot;Diet&quot; Is Doing Nothing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-there-be-a-fat-tax-on-junk-food">Should There Be a &quot;Fat Tax&quot; on Junk Food?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-is-it-so-expensive-to-be-healthy">Why is it so expensive to be healthy?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Health and Beauty diet healthy food junk food unhealthy food Wed, 30 Jul 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1170315 at http://www.wisebread.com If You're Eating These 6 Things, Your "Diet" Is Doing Nothing http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-eating-these-6-things-your-diet-is-doing-nothing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/if-youre-eating-these-6-things-your-diet-is-doing-nothing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/smoothie-bar-149720194-small.jpg" alt="smoothie bar" title="smoothie bar" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Dieting is hard. But guess what? <em>Bad</em> dieting can require the same amount of stress and effort, and no positive result. (See also: <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-dumb-things-holding-you-back-from-losing-weight?ref=seealso">14 Dumb Things Holding You Back From Losing Weight</a>)</p> <p>If you're trying to lose weight, it's hard to know what foods to avoid. Sometimes we fall into the traps set by food marketers, or fall prey to our own sweet tooths. We're especially susceptible to foods that superficially &quot;feel&quot; healthy, but are actually working against our regimens. If you're eating these six things, your diet is for nothing.</p> <h2>&quot;100-Calorie&quot; Snacks</h2> <p>We know that chips, crackers and cookies are bad, but even those 100-calorie snack packs are unhealthy. Part of the problem is how they train you to think about calories. The wrong idea that &quot;<a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/05/09/fed-up-asks-are-all-calories-equal/?_php=true&amp;_type=blogs&amp;_r=0">a calorie is a calorie</a>&quot; fuels the marketing of the seemingly innocuous packs, which cause an insulin spike that works against you by storing more fat.</p> <p>What's more, research shows that consuming a package boasting low-calorie count actually <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://newscenter.nmsu.edu/Articles/view/9304/beware-100-calorie-snack-pack-warn-nmsu-researchers">makes us eat more</a>. Thus, diet ruined.</p> <p><strong>Eat Instead</strong>: A small handful of unsalted nuts will give you the power to last between meals without the useless empty calories.</p> <h2>Meatless Frozen Foods</h2> <p>Veggie burgers, meatless chicken nuggets, and everything else marketed as healthy or eco-conscious alternatives to meat are still processed foods. Many frozen veggie foods are full of grains and <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.blisstree.com/2011/03/30/food/processed-meat-substitutes-may-be-unhealthier-than-actual-meat/">genetically modified soy</a>. Also, think of the carbs. Put a bun on that Boca Burger and now you have three times the carbohydrates!</p> <p>Many processed veggie patties also have upwards of <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.fitsugar.com/Calories-Veggie-Burgers-1133716">400 mg of sodium</a>, which can increase the risk of <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002415.htm">high blood pressure</a>.</p> <p><strong>Eat Instead</strong>: Make your own veggie patties with as few ingredients as possible. Skew to tasty but nutritious foods like <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-best-ever-veggie-burger-96967">beets and black beans</a>.</p> <h2>Flavored Yogurt</h2> <p>If you're eating yogurt that is not &quot;plain&quot; or &quot;unsweetened,&quot; you are hurting your diet with unnecessary sugar and calories. The average flavored yogurt contains around <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/healthy-eating/10-diet-foods-that-make-you-fat/">16 grams of sugar</a>. Some yogurts have more sugar content <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/26/yogurt-sugar-twinkie_n_5379590.html">than a Twinkie</a>.</p> <p>Yogurts that read &quot;fat-free&quot; could be worse, because additives like cornstarch (known on labels as &quot;maltodextrin&quot;) provide extra carbohydrates.</p> <p><strong>Eat Instead</strong>: Buy plain yogurt and add fresh (not preserved or dried) fruit for flavor to get more nutrition, decrease sugar, and fight the fitness plateau.</p> <h2>White Flour</h2> <p>We've been lying to ourselves with our flour tortillas, wraps, flatbreads, and &quot;gluten-free&quot; pasta. It's all refined carbs, and sometimes those items are even more calorie and sugar dense than regular old Wonder bread.</p> <p>The author of the book <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1609614798/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1609614798&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=SHHO4HEWTSQSI5Y2">Wheat Belly</a>, Dr. William Davis, goes so far as to suggest that grains are the <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2014/06/grains-endocrine-disrupters/">root of problems</a> such as gut flora imbalance and diabetes. Other doctors suggest to keep some of your favorite white flour items to a minimum and mostly eat more satisfying <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/truth-about-white-foods">high-fiber carbs</a>.</p> <p><strong>Eat Instead</strong>: Choose high-fiber carbohydrates that will make you fuller, longer, such as a plate of vegetables. If you're jonesing for a sandwich, go for a half- or open-faced sandwich using a high-fiber, sprouted grain bread.</p> <h2>Smoothies</h2> <p>Delicious smoothies. They can be great for you. But the ones we're drinking the most, the ones we order while on the go from places like <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.eatingrules.com/2010/08/healthy-choices-jamba-juice/">Jamba Juice</a>, are basically just sugar delivery systems. Let's be honest, we usually don't use them as full meal replacements as intended, and here's why: You experience a sugar spike, crash, and then two hours later you're starving again.What do you do? Reach for whatever is closest to you regardless of health value (which, let's face it, is probably pizza). (See also: <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.wisebread.com/youll-be-surprised-how-much-sugar-these-10-foods-have?ref=seealso">You'll Be Surprised How Much Sugar These 10 Foods Have</a>)</p> <p><strong>Eat Instead</strong>: Make smoothies for yourself at home <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.healthysmoothiehq.com/what-makes-a-smoothie-unhealthy">without unhealthy ingredients</a> like sugary fruit juices, excess dairy, or added sweeteners.</p> <h2>Dried Fruit</h2> <p>Dried fruit can be mor accessible than fresh fruit. However, it's also a lot easier to overeat, because it's addictively sweet. Dehydrating fruit makes it taste sweeter and makes each unit smaller than its fresh equivalent. This places dried fruit high on the <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/disadvantages-dried-fruit-3227.html">glycemic index</a>. For example, a cup of grapes is 60 calories, while a cup of raisins is <em>460</em>.</p> <p>Dried fruit is also <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.jessainscough.com/2013/05/the-dry-facts-on-dried-fruit/">harder to digest</a> than fresh fruit, making your attempt to eat healthy for nothing.</p> <p><strong>Eat Instead</strong>: Default to fresh fruit because it's easier to reap the benefits of its nutrients. If you do eat dried fruit, measure out a small amount (⅛ cup) before eating and mix it with a handful of nuts such as raw almonds.</p> <p><em>Can you think of anything else that's touted as healthy but is actually killing you diet?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-eating-these-6-things-your-diet-is-doing-nothing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-is-it-so-expensive-to-be-healthy">Why is it so expensive to be healthy?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-health-foods-that-are-actually-making-you-fatter">10 Health Foods That Are Actually Making You Fatter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-healthy-habits-that-can-hurt-you">20+ Healthy Habits That Can Hurt You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-can-do-to-reduce-your-risk-of-diabetes">10 Things You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-there-be-a-fat-tax-on-junk-food">Should There Be a &quot;Fat Tax&quot; on Junk Food?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Health and Beauty diet fitness health food junk food Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1166924 at http://www.wisebread.com “Avoid These Fast Food Items,” Say Fast Food Employees http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-fast-food-items-say-fast-food-employees <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/avoid-these-fast-food-items-say-fast-food-employees" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3203854339_17b42f9b4a_z.jpg" alt="fast food employee" title="fast food employee" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all know fast food is not good for us. Most nutrition experts agree that it should be eaten &ldquo;rarely or never.&rdquo; But having said that, most of us will grab a meal from a fast food restaurant sometimes. I know I am guilty of grabbing &ldquo;junk food&rdquo; when I am in a rush or am too tired to cook something.</p> <p>So if you&rsquo;re someone who eats fast food, be it rarely or more often than you should, it doesn&rsquo;t hurt to know what to avoid. Here are the fast food items you should stay away from, and some general tips to keep you from getting serious junk food remorse. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-reasons-to-stop-drinking-soda">22 Reasons to Stop Drinking Soda</a>)</p> <p><em>Note: These tips come from people who have worked in the fast food business, <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/w2sv3/fast_food_workers_of_reddit_what_is_the_one_menu/?sort=new">via reddit</a>. I cannot verify their accuracy 100%, but I have only posted those tips that were repeated by several different individuals.</em></p> <h2>1. &ldquo;Unusual&rdquo; Pizza Toppings</h2> <p>If you go for the normal pizza toppings, like pepperoni, sausage, ham, pineapple, and the usual veggies, you should be fine. But when you start ordering pizzas with more <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/w2sv3/fast_food_workers_of_reddit_what_is_the_one_menu/c59qf55">exotic toppings</a>, you risk getting some older produce on your pie. The reason is simple &mdash; regular toppings are used up quickly and replaced often. If they go off, they have plenty left in stock to replace them. However, the quirky items, like meatballs, green olives, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes, are in short supply. They could be sitting out longer, and they may well be older than other toppings when they&rsquo;re cooked.</p> <h2>2. Wendy&rsquo;s Chili</h2> <p>This one has been covered before in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-confessions-of-employees">an article I wrote on employee secrets</a>, but it still deserves a mention in this list. When you order <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/w2sv3/fast_food_workers_of_reddit_what_is_the_one_menu/c59qfrc">Wendy&rsquo;s chili</a>, you might be getting old hamburgers that have been left around all day. They get boiled and mashed up, and chili mix is added.</p> <h2>3. Sweet Teas</h2> <p>It appears that fast food places like to put the sweet in sweet tea. Some places are <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/w2sv3/fast_food_workers_of_reddit_what_is_the_one_menu/c59qcbw">adding around one pound of sugar</a> to a gallon of the stuff. However, it&rsquo;s worth noting that almost all of the soft drinks out there have a high sugar content, so you&rsquo;re better off sticking with water. And it&rsquo;s free.</p> <h2>4. Vegetarian and Vegan Items</h2> <p>In some of the bigger, busier fast food chains, ordering vegetarian and vegan items should come with a warning &mdash; &ldquo;<a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/w2sv3/fast_food_workers_of_reddit_what_is_the_one_menu/c59qoxd">this product may contain traces of meat</a>.&rdquo; The reason is laziness and poor hygiene standards. When it&rsquo;s rush hour, or when it&rsquo;s just way easier to do so, cooks will sometimes use the same cooking utensils for the vegetarian and vegan options as they do for meat products.</p> <h2>5. Anything Ending in &quot;Nugget&quot;</h2> <p><a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/w2sv3/fast_food_workers_of_reddit_what_is_the_one_menu/c59r5os">Chicken nuggets</a> are clearly the biggest culprit here, although no one is ruling out other kinds of meat. Basically, chicken nuggets are made from mechanically separated meat (MSM), which is created through a process that extracts every last piece of flesh, meat, and sinew from the bones of the animal. This is then ground into a gruesome paste that is then dyed, flavored, shaped, and put in a box for you to eat. You can read more <a href="http://www.snopes.com/food/prepare/msm.asp">facts about this here</a>, as well as some of the statements about MSM that are not true.&nbsp;</p> <h2>6. &ldquo;Fresh&rdquo; Grilled Chicken</h2> <p>It may be a healthier option than fried chicken, but don&rsquo;t go thinking that you&rsquo;re getting something delicious and nutritious. It is common practice in many fast food restaurants, including McDonald&rsquo;s and Burger King, to <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/w2sv3/fast_food_workers_of_reddit_what_is_the_one_menu/c59qoe6">squirt liquid margarine on the grill and the chicken</a>. And when it&rsquo;s sitting in the holding drawer, guess what&hellip;more liquid margarine goes on to keep it juicy.</p> <h2>7. Anything Close to Closing Time</h2> <p>You know how it is. You&rsquo;ve been out at a bar or club and feel hungry. Or you&rsquo;re working very late. But whatever the reason, sometimes you want to grab a bite before you go home, and the flickering light in the distance is like an oasis. It's a fast food joint, and it&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/w2sv3/fast_food_workers_of_reddit_what_is_the_one_menu/c59rgxw">just about to close</a>. They&rsquo;ll hook you up with a fresh burger or a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/29-alternative-pizza-sauce-ideas">great pizza</a>, right? Well, think again. Chances are the employees are tired and want to go home, and they don&rsquo;t really care about breaking out all the ingredients again to feed you. So they might give you whatever&rsquo;s left, possibly telling you they&rsquo;re &ldquo;out&rdquo; of certain items in order to guide you to the ones they&rsquo;ve got sitting under the heat lamps. If you must eat something that late, go to a grocery store and put together a sandwich with fresh ingredients. It&rsquo;s quick, cheap, and a much better option.</p> <h2>8. Outback&rsquo;s Bloomin&rsquo; Onion</h2> <p>Employees at Outback Steakhouse do say that everything there is delicious and cooked to order, although their Outback Special sirloin is usually a cheaper cut of meat and has a high profit margin. However, it seems their signature appetizer, the Bloomin&rsquo; Onion, hides a dark secret. Here&rsquo;s what one former employee, redditor <a href="http://www.reddit.com/user/hurrayforzac">Hurrayforzac</a>, had to say about it:</p> <blockquote><p>Every night, we drain and filter the French fry oil, and put in a chunk of new shortening. The old French fry oil gets filtered in this weird box on wheels and drained into the appetizer deep-vat fryer (shrimp, and I think mushrooms).</p> <p>The oil form the appetizer fryer is filtered in the box and then dumped into the 2nd appetizer fryer (for chicken tenders, etc.). The old oil form the 2nd appetizer fryer (the third fryer in the line) gets filtered and dumped into the fourth and final fryer, which is used exclusively for Bloomin' Onions.</p> <p>So basically the oil used to make the trademark appetizer at Outback is cooked in 4 day old, 4 times filtered shortening. the same oil used to make French fries, then coconut shrimp, then chicken tenders, all finally getting infused into the thick eggy batter that encases that husk of a vegetable. Don't eat those.</p> </blockquote> <h2>9. KFC&rsquo;s Shredded Chicken Snackers</h2> <p>When the fried or grilled chicken has been sat for too long in the heating bays, it cannot be sold to customers, but it can be repurposed. By taking the dry chicken and adding a sauce to it (honey BBQ or buffalo) it can be given a new life as a <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/w2sv3/fast_food_workers_of_reddit_what_is_the_one_menu/c59tump">KFC Snacker</a>. Now, personally I don&rsquo;t mind the idea of finding ways to save food, especially with so many people going hungry. But if the idea of old, dry chicken being sold as &ldquo;fresh&rdquo; makes you angry, you should probably steer clear of this one.</p> <h2>10. Ice From the Soda Fountains</h2> <p>As I&rsquo;ve written in the past, you should <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-water-can-save-you-977-a-year">probably avoid soda if you want to save money</a> and your health. But for those who do indulge, or who like a cup of ice water, think twice about <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/w2sv3/fast_food_workers_of_reddit_what_is_the_one_menu/c59r8q8">getting it from the soda fountain</a>. It appears that many employees know just how difficult it is to clean inside of the ice machines. And because &ldquo;what the eye doesn&rsquo;t see, the chef gets away with&rdquo; is par for the course in many fast food restaurants, the inside of these machines are last on the priority list when it comes to cleaning.</p> <p><em>Those are the top 10 I found, but I&rsquo;d like to throw this one out to current (or former) fast food employees. Is there something you&rsquo;d add to the list?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-fast-food-items-say-fast-food-employees">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eat-256-big-macs-to-win-a-5-gift-card-0">Eat 256 Big Macs to Win a $5 Gift Card</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-there-be-a-fat-tax-on-junk-food">Should There Be a &quot;Fat Tax&quot; on Junk Food?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-most-lucrative-restaurant-franchises">The 5 Most Lucrative Restaurant Franchises</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-cheap-food">The High Cost of Cheap Food</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ugggh-hic-i-justss-gotta-eat-somehicthing-my-top-10-homemade-drunk-snacks">Ugggh, (hic) I justss gotta eat some(hic)thing; my top 10 homemade drunk snacks.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Food and Drink Fast Food junk food restaurants unhealthy dining Thu, 16 Aug 2012 09:48:43 +0000 Paul Michael 943018 at http://www.wisebread.com Eat 256 Big Macs to Win a $5 Gift Card http://www.wisebread.com/eat-256-big-macs-to-win-a-5-gift-card-0 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/eat-256-big-macs-to-win-a-5-gift-card-0" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4061201826_ee21f9511d.jpg" alt="many big macs" title="many big macs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of my most popular articles on Wise Bread is about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cracking-the-infamous-mcdonalds-monopoly-game">cracking the McDonald's Monopoly game</a>. In it, I outline the rare pieces and how many of them are in circulation. Well, someone has decided to take that information one step further. Now, you can figure out how many Big Macs you'll probably have to eat to win a particular prize.</p> <p>The website eatwithaspork.com has a new page dedicated to the mammoth task ahead of you. <a href="http://www.eatwithaspork.com/fun/bigmac/">I'm Feelin' It</a> has a simple drop-down menu and translates the odds into Big Mac sandwiches.</p> <p>Here are some of the outcomes:</p> <ul> <li>$5 Wal-Mart gift card = 256 Big Macs</li> <li>$50 cash = 27,334 Big Macs</li> <li>2011 Shelby GT500 = Over 10,000,000 Big Macs!</li> </ul> <p>Now, this is all based on the odds of winning; you could of course walk into a McDonald's, grab a burger and win the grand prize. It only took poor old Charlie Bucket a few attempts with a Wonka bar to get his golden ticket. But if you wanted an idea of how many of those famous burgers you'd have to eat to guarantee yourself a prize, well, now you know.</p> <p>The McDonald's Monopoly game continues to be one of the most successful promotions from the fast food retailer. It's popular because it makes it seem like a great prize is just hanging out there, waiting for you. With most value meals giving away four of the tokens, you believe your chances at winning are much, much higher than they actually are. In fact, a sign in every McDonald's now boasts that 1 in 4 wins a prize. What this means is 1 in 4 will probably get a free portion of small fries, or a small soda. But those prizes of actual value, well, they are few and far between. And there is nothing random about the game, as I have outlines before.</p> <p>Now, in fairness to McDonald's, they're giving away a lot of free stuff. They aren't obliged to give away anything; this is a business after all. But just remember, the chances of walking into a McDonald's and walking out with a brand new Mustang are 1 in 301,245,250.</p> <p>Last time I checked, you have much better odds of winning the Powerball jackpot. That's closer to 1 in 195,000,000. But then again, those lottery tickets don't come with a free burger and fries.You pays your money, you takes your choice.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eat-256-big-macs-to-win-a-5-gift-card-0">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-fast-food-items-say-fast-food-employees">“Avoid These Fast Food Items,” Say Fast Food Employees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-health-food-worse-for-you-than-junk-food">Is &quot;Health Food&quot; Worse for You than Junk Food?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-there-be-a-fat-tax-on-junk-food">Should There Be a &quot;Fat Tax&quot; on Junk Food?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-cheap-food">The High Cost of Cheap Food</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ugggh-hic-i-justss-gotta-eat-somehicthing-my-top-10-homemade-drunk-snacks">Ugggh, (hic) I justss gotta eat some(hic)thing; my top 10 homemade drunk snacks.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Food and Drink Fast Food junk food McDonald's odds prizes Tue, 19 Oct 2010 14:00:06 +0000 Paul Michael 265410 at http://www.wisebread.com Should There Be a "Fat Tax" on Junk Food? http://www.wisebread.com/should-there-be-a-fat-tax-on-junk-food <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-there-be-a-fat-tax-on-junk-food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2907374205_5fb1f8ef59_o.jpg" alt="in-n-out menu" title="in-n-out menu" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="178" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Yes.</p> <p>Well, that's just my humble opinion, but I really don't see why this has so many people throwing their arms up in the air with shock. We tax liquor and cigarettes, neither of which are essentials in life. Why not tax something that is bad for our health, preventing more people from buying it and generating much-needed cash in the process?</p> <p>Taxes on beer, spirits and cigarettes vary from state to state (<a href="http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/245.html ">there's a detailed list here</a>) but one thing's for sure...when you grab a shot of your favorite tipple, you're giving money to Uncle Sam. Like most things in life, liquor should be taken in moderation. It's a treat. And as such, we can stomach a little extra money being handed over for our shot of bourbon or pint of ale. (Cigarettes, well, they're a whole different animal and if it weren't for the enormous amount of money they generate they would have been banned years ago. Such is the power of the mighty dollar.)</p> <p>Similarly, fast food is (or should be) a rare treat, too. Probably more rare than a glass of wine or cold bottle of Bud. If you recall <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002OXVBO?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread07-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0002OXVBO">Super Size Me</a>, nutritionists interviewed by Morgan Spurlock said you should only eat junk food once a month, if at all. That doesn't stop most Americans gorging on fast food like rats in a New York dumpster.</p> <p>Just look at a few statistics. <em>In the U.S., </em><a href="http://www.jacn.org/cgi/content/full/23/2/163"><em>64.5 percent of adults are overweight and 30.5 percent are obese.</em></a></p> <p><em>Over half of the population eats fast food once a week with 20 percent eating fast food at least every other day. And high frequency users are more likely to increase fast food consumption because of economic pressure and are attracted to &quot;value&quot; dining options.</em> (See these and <a href="http://www.qsrweb.com/article.php?id=10986">more distasteful facts here</a>).</p> <p>It's right there in black and white. The &quot;value&quot; menus are making junk food way too attractive of an option. But what if, as of 2010, every Big Mac, Whopper and &quot;Triple-Bacon Heart Attack Burger&quot; sold in the USA had a $2 fat tax? The money generated would be enormous. We're talking billions and billions of dollars. Even with the decreased consumption due to increased cost, most people would still choose to eat junk food. Maybe not as much, but there are times when the smell of grilled cheese and ground chuck are just irresistible. Now put that fat tax on other junk foods and see the money pile up even more quickly.</p> <p>People will always want that forbidden treat, and they'll happily pay for it. I don't see anyone complaining about the high price of Belgian chocolate or hand-made English Toffee. It's not necessary for survival. It only exists to give people pleasure. And as such, like so many other pleasures in life that are bad for us, we're willing to pay more for them. I know I'd fork over $8 for my junk food of choice, a Chipotle burrito. Right now it's less than $6, but what's $2 more for that one pound of delicious spicy goodness (or badness)?</p> <p>Let the government tax our fatty treats, and let them use that money to pay off some of the debt, or create new jobs, or rebuild the crumbling bridges and infrastructure.</p> <p>Here's another idea. What if we use the money generated by fast food purchases to subsidize the prices of healthy food, like fruits, vegetables and fresh fish? Right now, fast food is generally cheaper than a healthy meal, and much easier to come by. There are fast food restaurants everywhere, but the healthy, cheap and easily accessible options are much more scarce. By channeling the money from junk food to good food, we are not preventing anyone from eating a burger...we're just making it way more easy to buy a similarly-priced healthy alternative.</p> <p>I say the time is right for a fat tax. I know many of you will disagree with me, and that's just one more thing that makes this country great. We can eat our fatty junk foods, we can slurp our sugary sodas, and we can have a good old debate about it all. Now, what's for dessert?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-there-be-a-fat-tax-on-junk-food">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-is-it-so-expensive-to-be-healthy">Why is it so expensive to be healthy?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/herbal-supplements-know-what-you-re-getting">Herbal Supplements: Know What You’re Getting!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-cheap-food">The High Cost of Cheap Food</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-fast-food-items-say-fast-food-employees">“Avoid These Fast Food Items,” Say Fast Food Employees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-health-food-worse-for-you-than-junk-food">Is &quot;Health Food&quot; Worse for You than Junk Food?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Food and Drink Health and Beauty junk food Thu, 15 Oct 2009 15:00:02 +0000 Paul Michael 3717 at http://www.wisebread.com Why is it so expensive to be healthy? http://www.wisebread.com/why-is-it-so-expensive-to-be-healthy <p><img alt=" " width="299" height="145" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/obese.jpg" /></p> <p>Why are <a href="http://blogs.msdn.com/santoshz/archive/2004/08/17/215826.aspx">poor people in America so fat</a>? Would you believe that farm subsidies have something to do with it?</p> <p>Walmart is where lower income consumers come to shop. Why? Because you get the most bang for your buck. Walmart is also notorious for having the fattest customers. Why? It comes back to value - it turns out that unhealthiest food also gives you the most caloric bang for your buck.</p> <p class="sub-heading"><strong>Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about </strong></p> <p>I shop at a grocery store that borders on one of Seattle's ghettos. In case you are wondering, Seattle's ghettos are nothing compared to other urban ghettos. Meaning, you can safely walk through a Seattle ghetto. But that's where the majority of Seattle's urban poor live, and if you want to see food stamps in action, you should shop at my Safeway.</p> <p>Food stamps are no longer in stamp form in Washington State - people are given debit cards that are referred to as &quot;benefit cards&quot;. Benefits cards are usually easy to spot, if you are looking. But you don't have to look at a person's form of payment to know what social class they belong to - you need only look at their shopping cart, and their waistline. This is anecdotal, of course, but no doubt you've noticed this, too: poor people eat more crappy junk food than rich people.</p> <p>There's a tendency in America to equate poor nutrition and subsequent obesity with a lack of education. It's familar logic: the poor aren't educated enough to work, so they stay poor. Being uneducated means that they don't know that Doritos are bad for you. Or, if you look to what a lot of us secretly think, the poor are simply too dumb to eat salad, too simple to know that Twinkies do not make a healthy meal.*</p> <p><em>Why would someone who has so little money to spend go and spend it on packaged food?</em> we wonder to ourselves. <em>Don't they know what a waste of money it is to buy junk food?</em></p> <p>We <em>tsk tsk</em> them in our heads. We load up our carts with loose leaf lettuce and portabella mushrooms, thinking ourselves superior for knowing better. Once we get to the checkout counter and see the total cost of our veggies, though, we probably do end up thinking: <em>wow, it's really expensive to be healthy</em>.</p> <p>From the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/22/magazine/22wwlnlede.t.html?pagewanted=1&amp;ei=5070&amp;en=ca312b0c78998cd3&amp;ex=1178078400&amp;emc=eta1">NY Times</a> (via Consumerist):</p> <blockquote><p class="blockquote">As a rule, processed foods are more &ldquo;energy dense&rdquo; than fresh foods: they contain less water and fiber but more added fat and sugar, which makes them both less filling and more fattening. These particular calories also happen to be the least healthful ones in the marketplace, which is why we call the foods that contain them &ldquo;junk.&rdquo; Drewnowski concluded that the rules of the food game in America are organized in such a way that if you are eating on a budget, the most rational economic strategy is to eat badly &mdash; and get fat.</p> </blockquote> <p class="sub-heading"><strong>Bang for your buck</strong></p> <p>It <strong>is</strong> <a href="http://www.cherp.research.med.va.gov/cherpdocs/issuebriefs/Policy%20Brief_Fall2005.pdf">expensive to eat well</a>, even if you are only buying raw veggies. The truth is that lower income shoppers, and other populations that live on junk food, are getting more calories per dollar than the rest of us. It's economically efficient, if <a href="http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/5576/obesity_and_poverty_the_poorest_of.html?cat=51">tragically perverse</a>.</p> <p>The reason, as the New York Times article explains, has to do with the Farm Bill, which heavily subsidizes soybeans, corn, and wheat - three major ingredients, or sources, of many of the ingredients in junk food. The result?</p> <p class="blockquote">[T]he real price of fruits and vegetables between 1985 and 2000 increased by nearly 40 percent while the real price of soft drinks (aka liquid corn) declined by 23 percent. The reason the least healthful calories in the supermarket are the cheapest is that those are the ones the farm bill encourages farmers to grow.</p> <p>So even foods that are more processed, that require more labor to produce, cost less. The article goes on to explain the origins of the Farm Bill and the detrimental, albeit unintended, effect it is having on our population.</p> <p class="blockquote">The farm bill helps determine what sort of food your children will have for lunch in school tomorrow. The school-lunch program began at a time when the public-health problem of America&rsquo;s children was undernourishment, so feeding surplus agricultural commodities to kids seemed like a win-win strategy. Today the problem is overnutrition, but a school lunch lady trying to prepare healthful fresh food is apt to get dinged by U.S.D.A. inspectors for failing to serve enough calories; if she dishes up a lunch that includes chicken nuggets and Tater Tots, however, the inspector smiles and the reimbursements flow. The farm bill essentially treats our children as a human Disposall for all the unhealthful calories that the farm bill has encouraged American farmers to overproduce.</p> <p>Do click over and read the rest of the article. The author gives a good breakdown of calorie-per-dollar-spent between carrots and junk food.</p> <p>It ends on a hopeful note, claiming that the resurgence in organic farming and local produce, combined with consumer demands and the American ideal of a free market economy, may give us a chance to reclaim our farming heritage and our health. I'm not sure that I'm so optimistic about our chances for revamping what seems like extremely complicated and pork-filled legislation.</p> <p><em>(Picture by </em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/cgp314/"><em>Colin Palmer</em></a><em>)</em></p> <p>*Because so many people keep reading this sentence and thinking that I actually believe that the poor are dumb, I'd like to point out that the sentence is meant to generalize about the way that many wealthy Americans think about the poor, NOT THE WAY THAT I FEEL ABOUT THE POOR. My god, people, do you really think a web site dedicated to helping readers learn how to save money would feature a writer who loathes the poor? GET A GRIP. And for the record, I'm pretty fat myself, so it's not like I'm making fun of anyone for eating badly.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-is-it-so-expensive-to-be-healthy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-eating-these-6-things-your-diet-is-doing-nothing">If You&#039;re Eating These 6 Things, Your &quot;Diet&quot; Is Doing Nothing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-there-be-a-fat-tax-on-junk-food">Should There Be a &quot;Fat Tax&quot; on Junk Food?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-foods-that-are-scientifically-proven-to-increase-happiness">7 Foods That Are Scientifically Proven to Increase Happiness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-foods-scientifically-proven-to-make-you-smarter">7 Foods Scientifically Proven to Make You Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-cheap-food">The High Cost of Cheap Food</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Health and Beauty calories corn coupons expensive farm bill free market government subsidies health food junk food soy vegetables Tue, 24 Apr 2007 18:53:46 +0000 Andrea Karim 555 at http://www.wisebread.com