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Healthy Fast Food That Isn't

From Oatmeal to Smoothies, many nutritious sounding menu items are actually packed with calories, fat, sugar, and sodium. Don't fall for these surprising fast-food health traps.

When New York Times blogger Mark Bittman recently attacked McDonald’s Oatmeal, an innocent-sounding healthy menu offering, for its high sugar content and unpronounceable ingredients, it made me question all the other supposedly "good
for you" items on fast food and chain restaurant menus. Diane Henderiks, RD give us the skinny on the most popular menu items with undeserved health halos and how to place a savvier order.

Oatmeal

In theory, oatmeal is an ideal breakfast. You can’t go wrong with whole grains and blood sugar steadying fiber. But some super-sized fast food versions contain added sugar and excessive calories. McDonald’s Fruit and Maple version, for example,
packs 290 calories and 32 grams of sugar. Jamba Juice’s Berry Cherry Pecan Oatmeal has 340 calories and 27 grams of sugar.

Order smarter: Watch for high-calorie toppings. Skip the brown sugar to shave off empty calories, and stick with filling fruits and nuts.

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Quick Ways to Speed Up Weight Loss

You already know that cutting down on how many calories you consume and exercising more often are the best ways to lose weight. But how you approach these two weight-loss keys can encourage faster results.

It’s only natural to want quick weight loss results once you make the commitment to shed a few pounds or more. But this is one area in which slow and steady is the way to go. Permanent weight loss can only be achieved when one makes a lifestyle change. Eating a healthful diet and sweating it out regularly are the best ways to reach your weight-loss goal. But here’s how to make those two pound-shedding tools work to your advantage.

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The majority of Americans think foods with the word "natural" on them are better and safer than "organic." And yet there are no governmental safety standards for using the word "natural." Natural, in fact, means nothing. It's a happy word, so food companies slap it on anything they can to make their products sell better.

The proliferation of other labels: "beyond organic," "locally grown," "humanely raised," "free range" and "sustainable" adds to the confusion. Therefore, when people are confused  they revert to their primary emotional driver of decisions, which is most often price. So they choose the cheapest food rather than the safest for the planet. That confusion plays right into the hands of the chemical food industry.

In order to guide produce shoppers, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases a new list of “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables each year. These are the fruits and vegetables that have the most pesticide contamination based on the EWG’s analysis of more than 89,000 laboratory tests. Considering this, these are also the foods that you might want to put on your organic shopping list.

When thinking about buying organic, these twelve (12) fruits and vegetables are the first ones to put on your shopping list.

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