A ton of research suggests limiting sugar-sweetened beverages, which are pretty much the ultimate example of zero nutrition. In fact U.S. Dietary Guidelines suggest there’s strong evidence these beverages contribute to excess weight in adults and children. Surprisingly, some choices in this category are better than others. Ginger ale has 32 grams of sugar per can versus 49 grams in the same amount of cream soda, according to the USDA Food Database. But it might be better to just cut this category of drinks from your diet.
Low-fat peanut butter
Amy Gorin, RD, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition, recommends ditching low-fat versions of the nutty spread. “Peanut butter offers fats that are filling and heart healthy. But when that fat is removed or reduced, extra sugar and other filler ingredients are often added. When you’re shopping for peanut butter, read the ingredients label and pick one that contains only roasted peanuts.” Try it in this recipe for our Peanut Power Balls.
Gorin says “margarine has been considered a healthy alternative to butter, but many versions contain partially hydrogenated oil—an ingredient that contains trans fats, which are harmful. They can heighten your “bad” LDL cholesterol, decrease your beneficial HDL cholesterol, and heighten your risk of heart disease.” Instead of margarine, consider using a small amount of a heart-healthy oil, such as extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil. But be mindful of cooking with oil at high temperatures. Check out our guide to the healthiest oils you can cook with.