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Mens’ Health

A 2,010-Calorie Shake?!?! (and Other Shocking Drinks to Avoid)

Americans have a drinking problem—we simply consume too much nutrient-empty, calorie-full liquids. Blame food marketers for the ever-expanding serving vessels, chock-full of cheap sugar substitutes, a variety of hard-to-pronounce chemicals, and tons of fats. But it’s not all doom and gloom—it turns out, those liquid calories are the easiest kind to cut. And a recent study from Johns Hopkins University found that people who cut liquid calories from their diets lose more weight—and keep it off longer—than people who cut food calories. In fact, cutting those calories in half could mean you could drop around 23 pounds in one year! 

Two years ago, Eat This, Not That! exposed the 20 Unhealthiest Drinks in America. The list was bad in the scary, jaw-dropping sense: Belt-busting beverages that tipped the scales at over 1,000 (and sometimes, 2,000) calories; hundreds of grams of blood-glucose-spiking sugar, and a slew of unnatural and exotic-sounding additives.

The good news is that many of these beverages have since disappeared from menus and grocery aisle shelves. The bad news, of course, is that even worse monster-malts and Franken-shakes have popped up in their place. That’s why, in our all-new book, Eat This, Not That! The Best (and Worst!) Foods in America! we’ve updated our list of the absolute worst drinks to avoid—and offered sensible alternatives, so you can still enjoy your meals and beverages, but lose weight anyway. Here are the top 4.

Large Ice Cream Soda with Vanilla Ice Cream Float (32 ounces)
960 calories
40 g fat (25 g saturated, 1.5 g trans)
136 g sugars

If you’re going to have a float, it’s best to limit yourself to one small scoop of ice cream and a reasonable pour of soda, yet Baskin-Robbins’ smallest portion is 32 ounces! Unfortunately, if the ice cream mogul doesn’t begin offering smaller sizes, your options are limited. Either split a small float or cut the soda out of the equation. All of this is part of a troubled history of serving up deleterious drinks at Baskin-Robbins, which came to a belt-snapping climax earlier this year when they began offering the 2,600-calorie Oreo Cookie Shake. After deriding it as the Worst Drink in America on the Today show and in this very blog, we’re happy to say that the folks at Baskin-Robbins have snapped to their senses and eliminated the weapon of mass construction, along with the rest of their so-called premium shakes. They’re starting to offer some healthier varieties, too.

Drink This Instead!
Cappuccino Blast Original (small)
310 calories 
12 g fat (7 g saturated) 
42 g sugars

Così Gigante Double OH! Arctic (23 ounces)
1,210 calories
19 g fat
259 g carbohydrates

How does Così’s coffee creation reach such abysmal heights? By dropping a giant Oreo cookie into the blender with a flood of chocolate syrup and then sticking another Oreo on top. The only thing stronger than the massive caffeine jolt will be the sugar crash to follow. “Blended coffee drinks” is a troubled genre in need of a name change; we think “caffeinated milk shakes” is a more apt description. 

Drink This Instead!
Grande Latte (15 ounces)
210 calories
7 g fat
21 g carbohydrates

Smoothie King’s The Hulk, Strawberry (40 ounces)
2,088 calories
70 g fat (32 g saturated) 
240 g sugars

To be fair, this smoothie is made to help people gain weight and that’s the only reason it’s not our official worst drink in America. The problem is that we live in a nation in which two-thirds of us are overweight, and the number of professional body builders doesn’t constitute a significant demographic. Plus, if you really want to put on some pounds, just eat 9 Odwalla Super Protein bars. That’s how many it would take to match this caloric load. 

Drink This Instead!
The Shredder, Strawberry (20 ounces)
356 calories
1 g fat
41 g sugars

Cold Stone Creamery Gotta Have It PB&C Shake
2,010 calories
131 g fat (68 g saturated)
153 g sugars

Is this the worst drink on the planet? All signs point to probably. First off, it has more sugar than 12 Fudgsicles, as much fat as a stick and a half of butter, and more calories than 37 Oreos. Oh, it also has 3 days’ worth of saturated fat. Need more proof? Let’s hope not.

Drink This Instead!
Sinless Oh Fudge Shake—Like It
490 calories
2 g fat (2 g saturated)
110 g carbohydrates
44 g sugars

Check out 15 more drinkable disasters here. And don’t stop with the beverages. Here is the current list of the 30 Worst Foods in America. (Prepare to be shocked!)

It’s not all bad, though. Check out the 125 Healthiest Supermarket Foods in America

To learn the truth about diet soda, energy drinks, and discover the best no-diet weight loss solutions on the planet, check out all of the eye-popping lists at

Want a flat belly fast? A lean, sexy body can be yours–fast! Try the new Men’s Health iPhone app! It’s like having your own personal trainer 24/7!

And please share your nutrition and weight-loss tips and tricks with the rest of us.

8 Diet Myths BUSTED

The battle to lose weight or maintain our weight can be a never-ending one.  TMR has investigated 8 diet trends and is giving you the “skinny” on whether these are diet “myths” or diet “truths”.

1 – Chewing gum will help you lose weight

True.  Believe it or not, chewing gum will help you lose weight.  However, there is a catch to it.  Of people surveyed, you’d have to chew gum almost non-stop for a month to lose about 1 pound.  Give your jaw a rest and hit the gym.

2 – Drinking coffee will actually “rev up” your metabolism.

True.  Coffee can speed up your metabolism.  However, you MUST drink it black.  Adding in all the things like sugar and cream will counter balance the effects of coffee.

3 – Eating after 8 pm will make you gain weight.

Maybe.  Eating after 8 pm can cause weight gain.  But it doesn’t have to.  Eating healthy snacks like a fiber bar or oat bran are ok things to eat.

4 – Food separation is a great method because your body only has to break down one type of food at a time, thus burning fat efficiently.

False.  Food separation is not effective.  In fact, study shows that those who separate food, lose less weight over a specified amount of time than those who ate a balanced meal.

5 – Blotting the grease from your pizza will help you cut out the calories.

True.  Even though you wont cut out a tremendous amount.  Any amount eliminated is a good thing.  By blotting your pizza, you can take off as much as 45 calories and up to 5 fat grams from your slice.

6 – Eating nothing for breakfast will help you lose weight.

False.  By not eating at breakfast, chances are you will be starved by lunch.  This is not a good practice because of two reasons.  1) Your body will go into “storage” mode.  Meaning it will spike up its insulin rate to propel you through your day.  2) By the time you do eat, your propensity to eat more at lunch will increase.  These two counter-effects will actually cause you to gain weight.

7 – Exercising on an empty stomach will help you lose more weight than on a full stomach.

True & False.  By exercising on an empty stomach, you will burn more fat but only for a short time because your energy will be low.  But exercising on a “satisfied” stomach (not full), will help you lose more weight because you will get more out of your workout and you will continue to burn fat in a resting state.

8 – Eating things like cabbage soup and grapefruit will just “wash” the weight away.

False.  These two methods do nothing for you.  Those people who have actually lost weight doing this more than likely ate nothing else except cabbage soup or grapefruit.

TMR’s suggestion.  Work out vigorously for 30 – 45 minutes a day.  Eat a balanced diet (5 major food groups).  And have fun.

For more information on diets, visit National Heart Blood & Lung Institute

The Worst Salads in America 2009

Story by Mens’ Health Magazine

The most troubling thing about today’s salad entrées is that those of us who really care about eating healthy are being lulled into the trap over and over again. Reports from the National Restaurant Association and the USDA show salad sales up by as much as 50 percent over the past decade, as more and more of us become health conscious in our food choices. But often, that dinner salad is as bad as-or worse than-anything else on a restaurant’s menu. Today’s fresh produce increasingly is freighted with more crumbled cheese, greasy bacon, and oily dressing. And often, what should be a cornucopia of crisp produce is reduced to wilted iceberg and some semifrozen peas.

With that in mind, we’ve developed a lineup of the most egregious veggie offenders.

Worst Fast Food Salad

Wendy’s Chicken BLT Salad with Honey Dijon Dressing and Croutons
790 calories
53.5 g fat (14 g saturated)
1,735 sodium

Worst Cobb Salad

Quizno’s Classic Cobb Flatbread Salad
910 calories
58 g fat (12.5 g saturated, 0.5 g trans)
1,890 mg sodium
61 g carbohydrates

Worst Bistro Salad

Einstein Bros. Bistro Salad with Chicken
940 calories
71 g fat (12 g saturated)
810 mg sodium

Worst Asian Salad

P.F. Chang’s Chicken Chopped Salad with Ginger Dressing
940 calories
68 g fat (10 g saturated)
2,225 mg sodium

Worst Sodium-Packed Salad

Chili’s Boneless Buffalo Chicken Salad
1,070 calories
77 g fat (15 g saturated)
4,380 mg sodium

Worst Seafood Salad

Romano’s Macaroni Grill Seared Sea Scallops Salad
1,170 calories
94 g fat (27 g saturated)
2,680 mg sodium

Worst Caesar Salad

IHOP’s Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
1,210 calories

Worst Steak Salad

Baja Fresh Charbroiled Steak Tostada Salad
1,230 calories
63 g fat (17 g saturated, 2 g trans)
2,380 mg sodium

Worst Chicken Salad

T.G.I. Friday’s Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad
1,360 calories

Worst Mexican Salad

On the Border Grande Taco Salad with Taco Beef and Chipotle Honey Mustard
1,700 calories
124 g fat (37.5 g saturated)
2,620 mg sodium

Worst Salad in America 2009

California Pizza Kitchen’s Thai Crunch Salad
2,115 calories

For years, California Pizza Kitchen has kept their nutrition information a secret – and now, thanks to a New York City law that requires chain restaurants to post calorie counts, we know why. This salad packs more calories than 8 slices of CPK’s already indulgent Cheeseburger Pizza! What’s terrifying is that the ingredients don’t sound particularly harmful: edamame, grilled chicken breast, cabbage, cilantro, and Thai peanut sauce, to name a few. Somehow those ingredients all together create a monstrosity that EASILY earns the distinction of Worst Salad in America 2009. Steer very clear. No full-sized salad on the CPK menu is safe, but if you order a half size of the Moroccan Chicken Salad, you can get away with a reasonable-sized lunch.

Eat This Instead!
Moroccan Chicken Salad (1/2 order)
421 calories

15 Fired-Up Foods that Burn Away Pounds

By: Brian Good

The shortcut to losing weight? Fast food. Not the kind the clown and the King try to shove down our throats, but rather, edible amphetamines-foods that act like speed for the fat-melting motor known as our metabolism. Eat these foods and you’re guaranteed to burn more calories…just by sitting there and listening to yourself digest.

Only one catch: Like any good buzz, this boost is temporary. “The only way to alter your resting metabolism permanently is to gain or lose weight, or to build extra muscle,” says Janet Walberg-Rankin, Ph.D., a professor of exercise physiology at Virginia Tech. But look at it this way: If you have a few of these supercharged snacks and drinks throughout the day, for enough days, you will lose weight.

And that’s if you’re doing nothing. Imagine if you were to stop listening to your stomach serenading you and actually begin exercising, too? The blubber-busting possibilities are endless. So grab a fork; it’s time to add fuel to the fire.

Milk, Whole Grain Cereal, Oats

Secret Ingredients:Calcium, complex carbohydrates, and fiber

How they work:Complex carbohydrates and fiber pump up metabolism by keeping insulin levels low after you eat. That’s good, because spikes in the production of insulin send a signal to the body that it’s time to start storing fat. And in order to stockpile fat, your body has to slow down your metabolism, causing you to burn fewer calories, says Margaret McNurlan, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition and medicine at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Since oatmeal breaks down slowly in the stomach, it causes less of a spike in insulin levels than foods like bagels, she says.

Besides helping to keep insulin production down, eating breakfast can also help stoke your daily calorie burn. When the U.S. Navy studied the metabolisms and eating habits of a group of its personnel, it found that eating breakfast helped raise the men’s metabolisms by as much as 10 percent. “By skipping meals, you slow down your metabolism and prime your body to store fat,” says McNurlan.

The calcium in milk is a metabolic trigger as well. A University of Tennessee study found that dieters who consumed between 1,200 and 1,300 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day lost nearly twice as much weight as dieters getting less calcium.

Jalapenos, Habaneros, Cayennes

Secret Ingredient:Capsaicin—the chemical in peppers that gives them their bite

How it works:By speeding up your heart rate.

A study from the late ’80s found that eating a single spicy meal can boost your metabolism by up to 25 percent, with the spike in calorie burning lasting for up to 3 hours after you finish eating. More recently, a study from Laval University in Quebec found that men who consumed coffee plus red pepper-packed snacks and meals were able to burn nearly 1,000 more calories a day than a control group.

Small snacks can also help keep your body from running out of fuel-preventing those 3 p.m. office blahs. “When you restrict the number of calories your body has for fuel, your metabolic rate can drop temporarily,” says Susan Roberts, Ph.D., chief of the energy-metabolism laboratory at Tufts University in Boston. That makes it easier to pack on the pounds and harder to burn them off again.

Green Tea, Coffee

Secret Ingredients:Caffeine and a chemical in the tea called EGCG

How they work:Caffeine helps speed up your heart rate. The faster your heart beats, the more calories you burn. EGCG works in a similar way, but instead of revving up your heart, it causes your brain and nervous system to run more quickly-again helping you burn more calories.

In studies, researchers found that a combination of caffeine and a 90-mg dose of EGCG taken three times a day can help you burn an extra 80 calories a day. And that’s just when your body’s at rest. A study conducted by the Canadian government found that soldiers who consumed caffeine in the 12 hours prior to a physical-fitness test not only were able to work out longer before becoming exhausted, but also consumed more oxygen while working out. The body’s oxygen requirements are directly related to the speed of-guess what-your metabolism, so the more oxygen you use, the more calories you burn during your workout.

Lean Beef, Pork, Chicken, Turkey

Secret Ingredient:Protein

How it works:It takes more energy for your body to digest the protein in meat than it does for it to digest carbohydrates or fat, according to Doug Kalman, R.D., director of nutrition at Miami Research Associates, a nationally recognized pharmaceutical-research facility. “That means that the more protein you eat, the harder your body has to work to digest it, and the more calories you’ll burn in the process,” he says.

When researchers at Arizona State University compared the benefits of a high-protein diet with those of a high-carbohydrate diet, they found that people who ate a high-protein diet burned more than twice as many calories in the hours following their meal as those eating carbs. Even better, researchers in Denmark found that men who substituted protein for 20 percent of the carbs in their diets were able to boost their metabolisms, increasing the number of calories they burned each day by up to 5 percent.

Salmon, Tuna, Sardines

Secret Ingredient:Omega-3 fatty acids

How they work:By altering levels of a hormone called leptin in your body. Several recent studies suggest that leptin directly influences your metabolism, determining whether you burn calories or store them as fat.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that mice with low leptin levels have faster metabolisms and are able to burn fat more quickly than animals with higher leptin levels. The best way to lower your leptin? Eat fish.

Mayo Clinic researchers studying the diets of two African tribes-one of which frequently ate fish and one of which didn’t-found that fish eaters had leptin levels nearly five times lower than the levels found in tribes that primarily ate vegetables.

The good news, if you don’t like fish: Fish-oil supplements may work just as well as the stuff with scales. French researchers found that men who replaced 6 grams of fat in their diets with 6 grams of fish oil were able to boost their metabolisms and lose an average of 2 pounds in just 12 weeks.

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