#279 Frightful Foods!

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Candy corn is the only candy in the history of America
that's never been advertised. And there's a reason. All of
the candy corn that was ever made was made in 1911.

Lewis Black

10 Scariest Fast Food Dishes

By Joe Wilkes

Skeleton with Bad FoodThis Halloween, forget the ghosts and goblins. The scariest thing out there is the food you can get from a drive-through window. These menu items will stop your heart cold . . . with arterial plaque! Read on and feel the chill of the ice cream shakes that can turn you into . . . The Creature with Two Butts. Or feel the cold grip of death around your heart from . . . The Burger That Was Too Big to Eat! And we challenge you to look away from . . . The Mystery Bowl of Fat. Enter this fast food hall of shame . . . if you dare!

  1. Deluxe Breakfast at McDonald'sDeluxe Breakfast (McDonald's). Breakfast. The most important meal of the day. . . the day of the dead! McDonald's, the restaurant that figured out how to fill bread with pancake syrup, starts the day off with a plate full of hotcakes, hash browns, eggs, and sausage—1,140 calories worth! Sure, it's only about half the calories you need in a day, but you get almost ALL of the RDA of fat—59 grams! And 94 percent of your RDA of sodium. I'm lovin' it!® Truly a breakfast only the Cryptkeeper would love. The Egg McMuffin, meanwhile, only has 300 calories, 12 grams of fat, and 34 percent of your day's sodium allowance.

  2. The BaconatorThe Baconator (Wendy's). Six strips of bacon, on top of two quarter-pound patties of ground beef with cheese and mayo. If a vampire sucks your blood after you eat this, he'd better be packing some Lipitor. This will set you back 830 calories, with 51 grams of fat, 22 of which are saturated, and almost a full supply of your sodium RDA. This is a sad, new menu item from Wendy's, especially since this is one of the better fast food chains, healthwise. A cup of their chili is only 220 calories with 6 grams of fat. And their Mandarin Chicken Salad (without dressing) is 360 calories with 16 grams of fat.

  3. Stacker Quad at Burger KingThe BK Stacker Quad (Burger King). Because you can't spell quadruple bypass without "quad." The BK Stacker is the burger concept designed for people with a flair for architecture, poor impulse control, and/or unhingeable jaws. This outdoes the Baconator with an extra two strips of bacon (eight total) and, as its name suggests, a full FOUR beef patties. This adds up to a nice round 1,000 calories and a full day's supply of fat (68 grams; 30 saturated). Yes you can have it your way . . . to the grave! Mwahahahaha! Or you could get the Tendergrill Chicken Fillet (hold the mayo!) which has 400 calories and only 7 grams of fat.

  4. Double Six-Dollar BurgerThe Double Six-Dollar Burger (Carl's Jr.). This burger is marketed on the West Coast as a thrifty alternative to the ginormous burgers served at more "upscale" restaurants, like Fuddrucker's. So you can dress up like Rich Uncle Pennybags this Halloween. It costs $5.49, but I guess since it's double, it could work out to be a TWELVE-dollar burger. It has a whopping 1,520 calories and 111 grams of fat (47 grams saturated). With these kinds of savings, you won't need any more fat for two whole days! So if it's a twelve-dollar value, you're essentially saving $6.51 per burger by eating at Carl's. That means you only need to eat about 153 burgers to save up enough to afford a home defibrillation kit! Or you might check out Carl's Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich with only 360 calories and 4.5 grams of fat. For you East Coasters who want to get onto the defibrillation plan, Carl's sister chain, Hardee's, serves up the Monster Thickburger, which puts up similar numbers as the Double Six-Dollar Burger.

  5. Meat Lover's Stuffed Crust Pizza at Pizza HutMeat Lover's Stuffed Crust Pizza (Pizza Hut). Halloween. The season of disguises. And Pizza Hut has hidden extra cheese in the crust of their pizza. This cheese-stuffed delight topped with all of your favorite saturated-fat-laden meaty favorites has 520 calories for one slice, or one-eighth of a 14-inch pie. But who can eat just one piece? If you show restraint and only have two pieces, you're in for 1,040 calories and 58 grams of fat (24 saturated). And if you show no restraint and eat the whole pie, you've got 4,160 calories (that's two days' worth) and 232 grams of fat (four days' worth). Or you could have the Veggie Lovers' Thin 'N Crispy Pizza, which will only set you back 180 calories and 7 grams of fat per slice of an eight-slice, 12-inch pizza.

  6. Chicken & Biscuit BowlChicken & Biscuit Bowl (KFC). Maybe you're dressing as a zombie this Halloween and you want to approximate the experience of eating brains fresh from the skull. Give KFC's Chicken & Biscuit Bowl a try. It's not nearly as healthy as human brains, but it is a big bowl of mushy, fatty garbage. It layers mashed potatoes with corn and bits of batter-fried chicken. Then the Colonel tops the whole thing with gravy AND cheese to maximize the artery-clogging value. Stick a white-flour biscuit in the side and you have a bowl full of 870 calories and 44 grams of fat. That calorie count will almost erase any suspicion that this is just a previous customer's plate scrapings. Instead, try the Tender Roast Sandwich (without sauce). It's only 300 calories with 4.5 grams of fat. You could eat three of them before you approach the Chicken & Biscuit Bowl's calories and still only have a third of the fat.

  7. Grilled Stuft Beef Burrito at Taco BellGrilled Stuft Beef Burrito (Taco Bell). Ready to bust out the sombrero and serape for a Halloween stereotype? You might enjoy this equally authentic Mexican burrito which comes in at 680 calories and 30 grams of fat. This doesn't begin to approach the technology of the burger joints' fat delivery systems, but you'll still have to make a pretty long run for the border to burn this baby off. And the restaurant that pioneered the concept of the "fourth meal" generally encourages you to buy it as part of a combo, accompanied with another menu item like a 200-to-300-calorie taco or two, which can get you over the thousand-calorie mark before you know it. Instead, check out the "Fresco" menu wherein they have several of their popular favorites with the cheese and sour cream swapped out for salsa. Most of the Fresco items are under 200 calories and 8 grams of fat or less.

  8. Caramel PecanbonCaramel Pecanbon (Cinnabon). Who doesn't like a little snack with their coffee at the mall? But something wicked this way comes in the form of this roll from Cinnabon. It packs a whopping 1,100 calories and 56 grams of fat. It makes Wendy's Baconator look like a light dining option. Instead, the sorcerers at Cinnabon have magically shrunk their namesake product into a Minibon, which only has 300 calories and 11 grams of fat. A sensible treat instead of a fat trick.

  9. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Blizzard at Dairy QueenChocolate Chip Cookie Dough Blizzard (Dairy Queen). How about dressing up as Cookie Monster? How about Cookie Monster with an insulin pump? At the DQ you can carboload with this large milkshake. It'll give you 1,320 calories and 52 grams of fat, 27 grams of which are saturated, and 6 grams are trans fat! Trans fat? You heard me. It's like the 90s are back! And this is likely a dessert you're eating after you've had a burger and fries. Instead, try satisfying your sweet tooth with a 150-calorie soft-serve cone with only 5 grams of fat.

  10. Oreo PizzaOreo Pizza (Domino's). Halloween brings out all kinds of unholy manmade mutants like the Wolfman, Frankenstein, and Michael Jackson. This monstrosity from Domino's wouldn't be out of place on the buffet at the Island of Dr. Moreau. I can only imagine the potential dishes in our future if this culinary atrocity takes off. Chocolate-covered french fries? Kung Pao cookies? Caramel Buffalo wings? Half of a 10-inch pizza has 480 calories and 16 grams of fat, 4 grams of which are saturated. Hmmmm . . . it's actually not that unhealthy. But who'd want to eat it? Bleccch!

All nutritional information taken from the restaurants' online nutrition guides, except for Cinnabon, which was taken from www.chowbaby.com.

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Joe Wilkes If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, just email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Healthy Halloween: The Trick Is in the Treat

By Steve Edwards and Denis Faye

Passing Out CandyAdmittedly, no one wants to be like that weird neighbor down the street. Remember that strange neighbor, the one who gave out Bic pens or cough lozenges for Halloween?

At the same time, you gotta feel at least a tiny bit guilty dumping a handful of sugary junk into trick-or-treaters' bags. Child obesity rates are at an all-time high, and when little Jimmy gets home and starts plowing through his mountain of bite-sized Snickers, those obesity rates are only going to get higher.

So we thought we might be a little proactive and offer you a few healthier options—and yes, many of these will be slightly more expensive, but it's just a couple of bucks, so get over it! Your investment is making the world a better place.

  1. Sunflower SeedsSunflower seeds mini-pack. Sunflower seeds are incredibly labor intensive, so kids tend to reach satiation or boredom before they can overeat. The sodium is a little dodgy, but the fats are all good and they pack a nice little bit o' fiber.

  2. Crayon 4-packs. No kid can have enough crayons. And they inspire creativity instead of obesity. You're not going to get much healthier than this, provided kids don't eat the crayons, of course.

  3. PretzelsPretzels mini-pack. Yes, we know, refined flour. But no fat and little or no chemicals. A 100-calorie pack of pretzels is such an improvement over, well, any candy.

  4. Temporary tattoos. Rebellion, man! That's what Halloween is all about. Kids will walk away from your house happy and healthy and, if you're lucky, you'll really annoy a few parents. Those things don't come off in the bath, ya know.

  5. String cheese. A little protein. A little calcium. A whole lotta fun to eat. Top that, Tootsie Roll!

  6. Fruit Roll-UpsFruit "snack" rolls. They may not be as good as a real piece of fruit, but they're individually wrapped and they usually contain about 1 gram of fiber for every 12 grams of carbohydrates. Not bad, for a sweet treat.

  7. Chinese finger traps. Remember these little bamboo puzzlers? Stick your fingers in each end of the tube—and you can't get them out! You can get boxes of them online for cheap.

  8. Dark chocolate kisses. Dark is much healthier than milk chocolate, with more iron and antioxidants. More importantly, it's also less sweet and can help your kids crave less sweet items. A Hershey's dark chocolate kiss has only 25 calories, which is probably less than your kid will burn while procuring it.

  9. Box of RaisinsBox of raisins. Not always the most popular item but one of those things that kids actually like once they resort to opening them. While high in sugar, they also have fiber, are high in antioxidants, and are about a million times healthier than your average candy bar.

  10. Natural granola or energy bars. You have to be a bit careful here because many "healthy" options are no better than candy. But there are now plenty to choose from in this realm, too. For example, a Kashi TLC bar has 90 calories and is very balanced and nutritious. Still not hip to reading food labels? Read "Eat Smarter: Nutrition 911" below.

Related Articles
"9 Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids"
"6 Foods with Hidden Sugar"
"Chocolategate: 6 Myths Unmasked"
"Eat Smarter: Nutrition 911, Part III: 5 Quick Steps to Mastering Food Labels"

Steve Edwards If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, just email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

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Test Your Halloween Candy IQ!

By Monica Gomez

Rank these popular Halloween treats from lowest to highest calories.

  1. Now and Laters7 pieces of Now and Later candy. Seven pieces (about 1 ounce) contain 110 calories. Along with those calories, you also get an impressive 25 grams of carbs. However, keep in mind that most fruit candies use corn syrup as a sweetening ingredient, which shows up as a carbohydrate rather than a sugar in lab tests. Also remember that almost all carbs in candy are sugars. Hate to disappoint all those Now and Later fans, but it's just not the Beachbody way to eat candy as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

  2. 22 pieces of candy corn. Twenty-two pieces of those yellow-orange-white triangles will yield you 140 calories. Again, don't be lured by the 36 grams of carbs that accompany those calories. Along with those carbs, what do you get? You guessed it—too much sugar. Those 22 pieces pack 28 grams of sugar. The alternative: not eating any of these treats (?) that really have no nutritive value (never been a big fan—though a shocking 20 million lbs. of candy corn are consumed by Americans each year!). Well, you can eat them if you consider the 110 mg of sodium that you'll get to be nutritious.

  3. Snickers Miniatures4 pieces of Snickers miniatures. Mmmm. Chocolate! Four of these mini chocolate delights contain 170 calories and 8 grams of fat, 3 of those saturated. The problem with mini chocolates—well, mini anything actually? You may not be able to stop at just four. When the trick-or-treating is finally over, you may have dozens of these wrappers littered at your feet. Just four pieces contain 17 grams of sugar. Multiply that (and the 8 grams of fat, 3 saturated) by however many you end up eating and you can really do some sugar-packed damage. So if you can't stop at just four, it's best not to eat any. Sorry, chocolate lovers (me included).

  4. 1.7 ounce box of Nerds. While a 1.7 ounce box of Nerds has an appealing 0 grams of fat, it does have an incredible 43.9 grams of sugar (wow!). That makes its 188 calories simply less-than-nutritious and health-devoid sugar calories. These were a personal favorite growing up—but nothing more than just empty calories. As with the Snickers miniatures, you may not stop at just one tiny box (as a kid, I'd often have 4 or 5 or, well, I'd lose count). It's best to stay completely away from these tempting sweets.

  5. Candied ApplesCandied apple without nuts. The operative words here: without nuts. Remember that those crunchy treats can bump up the calorie and fat content. A small five-ounce candied apple has about 215 calories and 3.3 grams of fiber—which may prove useful if you wake up on November 1st only to realize that you ate an entire bag of Halloween candy and need to "clean" out your system. Keep in mind though that the caramel glaze on that apple will add about 37.9 grams of sugar! A healthy alternative: make your own and try using sugar-free syrup in your recipe to reduce that sugar content, or sugar-free caramel candy if you prefer to melt your own. An even healthier alternative: what about eating that apple without any caramel goop added to its already delicious exterior? I'm just saying!

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, just email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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