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Four Clever Ways Food Companies Are Making You Fat


You probably heard that Hostess . . . the maker of Twinkies and Ding Dongs . . . filed for bankruptcy last week. It’s partly because Americans are trying to eat healthier and avoid things that are bad for them. But avoiding all of those things can be tough.

Here’s a list from “Men’s Health” of four clever ways restaurants and food companies are still making you fat.

#1.) By Calling More Things “Snacks”. Since 2007, the number of food items with the words “snack,” “snackable,” or “snacker” in their names has increased by 170%. And a lot of those “snacks” actually contain the number of calories you’d expect from a whole meal. For example, this year McDonald’s introduced the “Angus Chipotle Barbecue Bacon Snack Wrap.” The words “snack” and “wrap” make it sound kind of healthy. But it still has almost half the amount of saturated fat you should consume in an entire day.

#2.) By Stuffing More Things with Cheese. As a general rule, if something’s stuffed with something else, it’s usually not healthy . . . especially if it’s stuffed with cheese. Stuffed-crust pizza has been around a while. But in the last year we’ve seen Stuffed Cheesy Bread from Dominos, stuffed breadsticks from Dunkin’ Donuts, and a Jalapeno and Cheese-Stuffed hamburger from Burger King. Overall, more cheese is being stuffed into more and more menu options.

#3.) By Putting the Word “Natural” on Their Products. You might know this one already, but just to remind you: The word “natural” isn’t regulated by the government. So it doesn’t actually mean anything. But according to one study, 28% of Americans made a conscious choice to buy more natural foods last year. So companies started slapping the “natural” label on everything.

#4.) By Loading Things with Salt and Still Calling Them Healthy. You’re not supposed to have more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. And if you’re over 50, you’re not supposed to have more than 1,500. But restaurants basically just ignore that. For example, at Ruby Tuesday’s they have a “Fit and Trim” menu, but half the things on it have at least a thousand milligrams of sodium.

And at Applebee’s, the new “Weight Watchers Chipotle Lime Chicken” has 4,990 milligrams of sodium.

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