10 Foods that Are Health Horrors
Dietitians name their top nutritional nightmares.
Some foods are so bad for you, they qualify as a nutritionist's
WebMD asked several registered dietitians and other food experts to nominate
their favorite "food horrors". Their submissions ranged from
empty-calorie foods masquerading as nutritious, to outlandish concoctions that
tip the scales with obscene amounts of fat and calories. Have any of them ever
lurked around your plate?
1. Frightful Fried Foods
From a nutritional standpoint, some of the scariest foods are the deep-fat
fried concoctions you can find at carnivals and state fairs.
Americans have tossed everything from turkeys to Twinkies in the fryer, but
have you ever heard of deep-fried cola? Debuting at the Texas state fair -- and
winning the creativity honor at the Big Tex Choice Awards contest -- was this
deep-fried, Coca-Cola flavored batter, drizzled with cola fountain syrup, and
topped with whipped cream, cinnamon sugar and a cherry.
2. Scary Steakhouse Specialty
Nutritional nightmares are readily available at many of your favorite
neighborhood restaurants. Christine Palumbo, RD, nominated the deep-fried onion
appetizer popular at some chain steakhouses.
One such appetizer, Outback Steakhouse's Bloomin' Onion, has more than 800
calories, 58 grams of fat and 22 grams of saturated fat, plus 1,520 milligrams
of sodium. These numbers don't include the dipping sauce, which is also loaded
with fat, calories, and sodium.
3. Monstrously Misleading
Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, a New York University nutrition professor and
author of What to Eat, takes issue with not-very-nutritious foods that are
labeled or advertised with healthy-sounding terms. She nominates "kids'
fruit snacks that have no fruit whatsoever and are basically candy in
disguise" as one potentially misleading food.
4. Big, Bigger, Biggest Burgers
There appears to be no end to the amount of calories and fat you can fit
onto a bun.
Hardee's has the Monster Thickburger, boasting 1,420 calories, 107 grams (g)
of fat, 45 g of saturated fat, and 2,740 milligrams (mg) of sodium. Carl's Jr.
takes it a step further with the Double Six Burger, featuring two burger
patties and three slices of cheese -- weighing in at 1,520 calories, 111 g fat,
47 g saturated fat, and 2,760 mg sodium.
Burger King is not far behind with its BK Stacker, loaded with four burgers,
four slices of cheese, and 8 strips of bacon, coming in at 1,000 calories, 30 g
saturated fat, and 1,800 mg sodium.
And the list doesn't end at fast-food chains. Ever hear of the
"Hamdog"? This culinary creation from the former Mulligan's Tavern near
Atlanta starts with a hot dog padded with cheese and half pound of ground beef.
That's dropped in the fryer, then loaded onto a hoagie roll and topped with
chili, bacon, onions and a fried egg. Mulligan's was also famous as the home of
the "Luther Burger," a giant bacon cheeseburger with a Krispy Kreme
doughnut for a bun.