Friday, October 8, 2010

Worst Desserts

15. Worst "Healthy" Packaged Dessert
Tofutti Vanilla (1/2 cup)

210 calories
13 g fat (2 g saturated)
15 g sugars

The label touts the fact that Tofutti has no butterfat and no cholesterol. While these claims are technically true (Tofutti is not made from dairy, so by definition it can’t have butterfat or cholesterol), they might as well advertise “no razor blades inside!” Because touting what’s not in this product simply obscures the truth about what is: Tofutti is as loaded with fat and sugar as most full-fledged ice creams. (It also has about 10 ingredients too many, including a big helping of corn oil.) If you’re looking for an honest, low-calorie nondairy ice cream, stick with It’s Soy Delicious; their whole line of products is great, and you’ll cut your calorie intake nearly in half.

Eat This Instead!

It’s Soy Delicious Vanilla (½ cup)

110 calories
1.5 g fat (0 g saturated)
9 g sugars

14. Worst Supermarket Ice Cream
Häagen-Dazs Chocolate Peanut Butter (1/2 cup)

360 calories
24 g fat (11 g saturated)
24 g sugars

Häagen-Dazs produces their ice creams using only a few simple ingredients; problem is, those ingredients are heavy cream, egg yolks, and sugar, making their ice creams consistently the most calorie-dense in the freezer section. This peanut-butter blast to your gut takes the cake—literally—packing an astounding 1,440 calories into every pint-size carton. Compare it with what Breyers has to offer, for a third of the calories. Wouldn’t you rather have dessert three times, instead of just once? You can, if you make the right choice.

Eat This Instead!

Breyers All Natural Vanilla and Chocolate

130 calories
7 g fat (4.5 g saturated)
15 g sugars

13. Worst Dessert For Your Cholesterol
Bob Evans NSA Apple Pie

491 calories
30 g fat (5 g saturated, 13 g trans)
19 g sugars

It feels like just looking at Bob Evans’s dessert menu will raise your LDL. More than 75 percent of the sweet stuff contains trans fat, with a full 7 desserts containing 7 grams or more of the troublesome lipid. Clearly Bob’s bakers haven’t found a way to make piecrust without shortening, despite the fact that the rest of the world figured it out long ago (here’s a tip, guys: good old-fashioned butter). Until they get a grip on their penchant for partially hydrogenated fats, your only viable option for a meal capper is a simple, unadorned scoop of vanilla ice cream—the à la mode minus the pie.

Eat This Instead!

Vanilla Ice Cream

116 calories
6 g fat (4 g saturated, 0 g trans)
11 g sugars

12. Worst Frozen Treat
Toll House Ice Cream Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich

520 calories
23 g fat (9 g saturated)
44 g sugars

Considering so few frozen ice cream treats creep above the 300-calorie threshold, we’re astounded that Nestlé stuffs this sandwich with nearly as many calories as a Big Mac. You can have 2 Toll House Chocolate Chunk cookies and a scoop of Breyers All Natural Vanilla ice cream and still save 110 calories. Or you could just switch to the Oreo option and use the 340 calories you save on something better.

Eat This Instead!

Breyers Oreo Ice Cream Sandwich

160 calories
6 g fat (2 g saturated)
13 g sugars

11. Worst Pastry
Hostess Chocolate Pudding Pie

520 calories
24 g fat (14 g saturated, 1.5 g trans)
45 g sugars

This is the type of snack you pick up at a gas station in a pinch and feel vaguely guilty about, not knowing that you just managed to ingest nearly three-quarters of a day’s worth of saturated fat before your tank finished filling up. And considering these little packages of doom cost a buck or less across the country, the pudding pie qualifies as one of the cheapest sources of empty calories in America.

Eat This Instead!

Lärabar Jacalat Chocolate Coffee (1 bar)

190 calories
11 g fat (2 g saturated)
19 g sugars

10. Worst Hot Chocolate
Starbucks Venti 2% Salted Caramel Signature Hot Chocolate (20 ounces)

760 calories
37 g fat (22 g saturated)
85 g sugars
380 mg sodium

Since when did hot chocolate require salt and caramel to meet the expectations of consumers? Seems a bit gratuitous, no? Thanks to Starbucks’ monstrous creation, the classic winter comfort beverage is now sullied with more than a full day’s worth of saturated fat and as much sugar as nearly 4 Hershey’s chocolate bars.

Drink This Instead!

Grande Nonfat Vanilla Crème (16 ounces)

270 calories
7 g fat (4.5 g saturated)
38 g sugars

9. Worst Kids' Dessert
Uno Chicago Grill Kids' Sundae

860 calories
38 g fat (20 g saturated)
94 g sugars

Consider the repercussions of slapping three Baby Ruth bars’ worth of fat and sugar onto the end of your child’s meal. Weighing in at an astounding 3/4 pound, this abominable sundae is twice as big as the Kid’s Pasta, and twice as caloric as his entire meal should be.

Drink This Instead!

Kids' Slush

70 calories
0 g fat
17 g sugars

8. Worst Mall Dessert
Cinnabon Regular Caramel Pecanbun

1,110 calories
56 g fat
(10 g saturated, 5 g trans)
47 g sugars
141 g carbohydrates

This isn’t breakfast, this is dessert. And an atrocious one at that. There are dozens of ways to curb a sweets craving at the mall, but your sugar fix should never climb above 400 calories. The only speck of nutrition to be found in the bun comes from the nuts. Too bad they’re coated in a river of sugar. Go with the Auntie Anne’s pretzel and save 730 calories, 55 g fat and 10 bacon strips’ worth of saturated fat.

Eat This Instead!

Auntie Anne’s Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel (no butter)

380 calories
1 g fat (0 g saturated)
29 g sugars
84 g carbohydrates

7. Worst Drive-Thru Dessert
Dairy Queen Raspberry Truffle Blizzard (large)

1,140 calories
44 g fat (31 g saturated, 1 g trans)
141 g sugars

The decadent offerings at DQ span the nutritional spectrum, ranging from smart indulgences to caloric catastrophes and everything in between. So choose wisely or you’ll end up wolfing down two-thirds of your daily caloric allotment without ever leaving the driver’s seat. Being smart at DQ means skipping over the malts and Blizzards entirely and opting instead for a relatively restrained sundae. Stick to a small and you can have any flavor your hungry heart desires.

Eat This Instead!

Small Strawberry Sundae

260 calories
7 g fat (4.5 g saturated, 0 g trans)
36 g sugars

6. Worst Shake
Jamba Juice Peanut Butter Moo’d (Power)

1,170 calories
30 g fat (7 g saturated)
169 g sugars

The scary thing about this 30-ounce shake is that you can consume more than half a day’s worth of calories in 3 minutes of spirited sipping, all under the pseudohealthy banner of the sacred smoothie. What’s even scarier is you’ll be slurping up the sugar equivalent of 8 packs of peanut M&M’s, all while thinking you’re doing your body a favor. Though no mall food packs more calories, the Moo’d at least offers a touch of nutrition (unlike the dreaded Pecanbun) in the form of peanut butter’s protein and healthy fat. Still, don’t mistake it for anything other than a serious threat to your waistline. When at Jamba, stick to their impressive list of smoothies in the All Fruit and Light categories.

Drink This Instead!

Mango Mantra (16 ounces)

170 calories
0.5 g fat
33 g sugars

5. Worst Pie
Red Robin Mountain High Mudd Pie

1,390 calories
69 g fat
205 g carbohydrates

Red Robin’s Jackson Pollock imitation suffers from the disease afflicting all too many restaurant desserts in this country: gigantism. Split among 4 forks, it would still ruin even the healthiest meal eaten before it. You’d be better off eating 9 scoops of Breyers All Natural Rocky Road ice cream. But choose the Chili’s Sweet Shot and save 57 g of fat! In fact, you could knock back 5 shots of key lime pie and still cut calories and fat.

Eat This Instead!

Birthday Sundae

378 calories
19 g fat
48 g carbohydrates

4. Worst Cake
Red Lobster Chocolate Wave

1,490 calories
81 g fat (25 g saturated)
172 g carbohydrates

Chocolate Tidal Wave is more like it: This fat-packed mega-cake accounts for three-quarters of your daily calories and as many carbohydrates as you’ll find in 14 slices of white bread. (Just sit and digest that statistic for a second.) The dessert menu at Red Lobster isn’t great—2 out of 5 options break the 1,000-calorie mark, and the “lightest” choice is a little over half that—but if you split the cheesecake with a friend, you could eat a delicious dessert without bursting from your pants when you’re done.

Eat This Instead!

1/2 New York-Style Cheesecake with Strawberries

520 calories
36 g fat (21 g saturated)
270 mg sodium
39 g carbohydrates

3. Worst Chocolate Dessert
Chili’s Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie

1,590 calories
76 g fat (37 g saturated)
220 g carbohydrates

Here is empirical evidence that food marketers are making our food worse and worse: In 2008, we listed this chocolate pie as the Worst Dessert in America. In 2009, it doesn’t even take the bronze! Yet this hulking slice still packs as many calories as 3 Big Macs. That’s right: Nobody would ever consider capping a meal with 3 Macs, so why would they order a slice of this stuff? When choosing dessert at Chili’s, the only safe options are the Sweet Shots, drinkable treats with built-in portion control. Avoid the chocolate one, which rings in at 420 calories; any of the others should be fine.

Eat This Instead!

Sweet Shot Red Velvet Cake

250 calories
9 g fat (4.5 g saturated)
39 g carbohydrates

2. Worst Sundae
Baskin-Robbins York Peppermint Pattie Brownie Sundae

1,610 calories
80 g fat (32 g saturated, 1 g trans)
183 g sugars
222 g carbohydrates

Warning: Not a single sundae from Baskin-Robbins contains less than 500 calories. Furthermore, anything with chocolate that can be sucked through a straw should be avoided at all costs. That means the only real viable route at the popular dessert parlor is to stick with a single scoop of ice cream. (At least you’ll have 31 flavors to choose from.)

Eat This Instead!

Made with Snickers Ice Cream (4 ounces)

290 calories
15 g fat (8 g saturated, 0 g trans)
31 g sugars
36 g carbohydrates

1. Worst Dessert in America
Romano’s Macaroni Grill New York Cheesecake with Caramel Fudge Sauce

1,660 calories
97 g fat (57 g saturated)
950 mg sodium
165 g carbohydrates

Considering the fact that Macaroni Grill’s savory menu is already cluttered with one of the country’s most potent arrays of calorie, fat, and sodium bombs, its lineup of destructive desserts only adds insult to injury. There’s the Dessert Ravioli (1,630 calories), the Lemon Passion (1,360 calories), and the always classic and catastrophic caramel-smothered cheesecake, which, with more calories than 3 Big Macs and as much saturated fat as 57 strips of bacon, is the worst dessert in America. Seek solace in a scoop of sorbetto—one of the country’s best sit-down sweets.

Eat This Instead!

Italian Sorbetto with Biscotti

240 calories
1 g fat (0.5 g saturated)
58 g carbohydrates