TIME Diet/Nutrition

8 Best All-Natural Cereals for Weight Loss

Healthy ways to start your mornings

Bad news, cereal lovers: It’s about to get harder to start your day with a rich, comforting bowl of tartrazine.

Wait…you didn’t know you were enjoying tartrazine each morning? If you eat boxed cereal, you probably are. It’s a food dye, also known as Yellow #5, that’s been linked to concentration disorders in children, and it’s found in many brightly colored cereals, like Kellogg’s Froot Loops. And after years of pressure from Eat This, Not That!, Kellogg’s finally just announced that it was eliminating all artificial colors and flavors from its cereals, meaning you’ll soon have to go without your daily dose of Red #40, Blue #1 and other chemicals not found in nature.

The company is giving itself until 2018 to make the switch, but if you want to cut down on the contents of your morning chemistry set, and enjoy a metabolism boost in the meantime, there are plenty of options available right now. The food lab at Eat This, Not That! magazine has identified the best all-natural cereals in the supermarket. They may not have a cute cartoon character on the front or a prize at the bottom, but they will fuel your day right and help you reach your weight-loss goals—before noon!

  • 1. 18 Rabbits Veritas Granola

    280 calories, 16 g fat (5 g saturated), 20 mg sodium, 6 g sugar, 6 g protein (per 3 oz)

    Fit a healthy dose of chocolate into your morning—without buying the Count Chocula. Flavored with cacao nibs, 18 Rabbits Veritas Granola is also naturally sweetened with maple syrup and honey, and features a wide variety of seeds and nuts that you don’t always find in granola (which accounts for the slightly high fat content)—like pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, and sesame seeds. One cup of pumpkin seeds contains twice as much protein as an egg and is high in iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and immune-system-boosting zinc.

  • 2. McCabe’s PB & Chocolate Granola

    420 calories, 27 g fat (4.5 saturated), 210 mg sodium, 12 g sugar, 15 g protein (per 3 oz)

    Ditch the Reese’s Puffs in favor of McCabe’s PB & Chocolate Granola, a terrific substitute for a sugary cereal or a great sweet afternoon treat. They use semi-sweet chocolate to dial-down the carb overload, and, like the 18 Rabbits brand above, the oats are sweetened naturally with maple syrup rather than white sugar. If you’re watching your calories, enjoy a smaller 1 ounce portion for only 140 calories a bowl.

  • 3. Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice

    110 calories, 0.5 g fat (0 g saturated), 160 g sodium, >1 g sugar, 2 g protein (per 1 cup)

    Sure they may go “snap, crackle, pop” but these 100 percent whole-grain, gluten-free puffs are a more nutritious choice than the big blue box—because they’re made from brown rice. People who ate three or more daily servings of whole grains (such as oats, quinoa and brown rice) had 10% less belly fat than people who ate the same amount of calories from processed white carbs (the white stuff: bread, rice, pasta), according to a Tufts University study. This low-sugar cereal carries a slightly nutty flavor and pairs well with strawberries or raspberries.

  • 4. Arrowhead Mills Oat Bran Flakes

    140 calories, 2.5 g fat (0 g saturated), 80 mg sodium, 3 g sugar, 5 g protein (per 1 cup)

    “I always start my day with 3/4 cup of bran flakes with skim milk and 1/4 cup of berries,” says Heather Mangieri, RDN, a board certified sports dietetics specialist. “I’m a very active person, so it’s important that I kick off my day with a healthy dose of complex carbohydrates to fuel my morning. Bran flakes are a low-calorie, easy and inexpensive way to get many of the vitamins and minerals I need, including 100 percent of my daily iron.” The cereal also provides her five grams of fiber, “which helps keep me regular,” she adds. “It’s one of the only boxed foods that I eat, but I eat it every single day—even on vacation.”

  • 5. Shredded Wheat Spoon Size Wheat ’N Bran

    160 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated), 0 g sodium, 0 g sugar, 4.8 g protein (per 1 cup)

    In addition to serving up the perfect serving of hunger-quelling protein and fiber in every bowl, Wheat ’n Bran—made from, you guessed it, whole-grain wheat and wheat bran— also provides 20 percent of the day’s phosphorus, a mineral that plays an important role in how the body uses carbs and fats. It also helps the body make protein.

  • 6. Arrowhead Mills Puffed Wheat

    60 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 3 g protein (per 1 cup)

    If you workout in the morning, the best way to aid muscle growth and recovery is with a 2:1 ratio of low-fiber carbohydrates and protein, says Jim White RD, ACSM HFS, owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios. That’s why he recommends “eating something like a cup of wheat puff cereal with half a banana, a dash of cinnamon and one cup of skim milk.” The milk’s protein helps rebuild muscle that was broken down and the simple carbohydrates help restore muscle glycogen that was lost during training, he explains. Replenishing the stores can boost future workout performance—a key component to sculpting a trimmer figure. All that from puffed wheat!

  • 7. Pacific Foods Organic Steel Cut Oatmeal Unsweetened

    160 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated), 240 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 5 g protein (per container)

    Most packaged oatmeals are calorie-bombs of powdered sugar disguised as a nutritious breakfast. But each serving of Pacific Foods’ Organic Steel Cut Oatmeal packs a solid helping of protein and fiber, and even the most decadent of the line’s 5 flavors, Maple & Brown Sugar, still comes in at just 11 grams of sugar. Plus, steel-cut oats are the least processed, and have fewer calories and less sugar than rolled oats. The grab-and-go package makes it easy to toss in your bag and heat up quickly at the office.

  • 8. Amy’s Organic Multi-Grain Hot Cereal Bowl

    190 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated), 300 mg sodium, 12 g sugar, 4 g protein (1 cup)

    We also endorse this brand of oats—and any kind of oats, as long as they’re free of processed sugars. Oats are rich in a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan and the anti-inflammatory compound avenanthramide—which, together, help prevent against obesity-related health problems including heart disease and diabetes. One 10-year study in the American Journal of Public Health found that eating one serving of oatmeal two to four times a week—like this Amy’s Hot Cereal Bowl—resulted in a 16 percent reduction in risk of type 2 diabetes. And Amy’s has more fiber and half the fat of Quaker’s Old Fashioned Oats.

    This article originally appeared on Eat This, Not That!

    More from Eat This, Not That!

TIME Diet/Nutrition

Should I Eat Chips?

4/5 experts say no.

Don’t even start with that “made from potatoes” business: chips are not a vegetable.

Plain salted potato chips are “a low-nutrient, high-calorie food,” says Lindsay Malone, registered dietitian who works at the Cleveland Clinic. A typical 1.5-ounce bag will run you 223 calories, plus 14 grams of fat and 221 mg of sodium. That might be fine if you’re having them once in a blue moon, but that’s often not the case—especially with kids.

“The largest increase in children’s snack calories in the last 15 years has come from salty snacks,” says Dr. Lenny Lesser, a research physician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation who has studied adolescent eating behavior. That’s bad news not just for our waistlines but for overall health, too.

“Potato chips have been consistently reported to have the highest concentrations of acrylamide among all the foods tested,” says T. Koray Palazoğlu, an acrylamide researcher and professor in the department of food engineering at Mersin University in Turkey. Acrylamide is a chemical created in certain foods that are cooked at high temperatures. Because chips are sliced so thin and fried so hot, they’re even heavier in acrylamide than French fries (which, sadly, 7 out of 9 experts warn against). Fries only have acrylamide in the golden crust, not the core, Palazoğlu says. “Potato chips, being nothing but crust, therefore have higher levels of acrylamide.” Acrylamide still has unknown human health consequences, but the European Food Safety Authority said this summer that the chemical may raise the risk for cancer.

Chips are also fairly addictive; even scientists who know better can’t always resist the crunch of a chip. “I have to admit that I really enjoy crisps,” says Sangita Sharma, professor of aboriginal and global health at the University of Alberta. Even for remote Inuit communities in Canada, whose diets are still rich in traditional foods like fermented seal fat and fried caribou, 80% reported eating potato chips, Sharma found in her recent research.

We all succumb to chips—even Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. But here’s his trick: crunch carefully. “A well-chosen chip can be a good source of fiber,” he says. While a bag of chips will only give you just about 1 gram of fiber, the same 1.5 ounce serving of white corn tortilla chips chalks up 2.3 grams.

“If Americans expand the idea of chips beyond potato chips,” says Lesser, “they may find some ‘thumbs up’ options that provide just as much crunch.”

Potato chips
Illustration by Lon Tweeten for TIME

Read Next: Should I Eat Falafel?

TIME Diet/Nutrition

This Is the Worst Kind of Fat for Your Heart

High in fat
Mark Poprocki—Mark Poprocki

Not all fats are created equal, and the latest study shows that one in particular can lead to higher rates of heart disease, deaths from heart related problems, and diabetes.

As confusing as the diet message can be at times, one thing is clear. There are good fats and bad fats in the foods we eat, and some can really wreak havoc on the heart and its delicate vessels.

In a study published in the BMJ, scientists say that trans fats are linked to the highest rates of death from all causes, deaths from heart disease and heart problems. The trans fat risk surpassed even that associated with saturated fat, which is found in formerly taboo-for-the-heart foods like butter, eggs and red meat.

Russell de Souza, a dietician and epidemiologist from McMaster University, and his colleagues sifted through the published studies involving hundreds of thousands of participants on trans and saturated fats and their health effects. They found that those eating more trans fats had a 34% higher rate of dying from any cause compared to those eating less, a 28% higher risk of dying from heart disease, and a 21% greater risk of having heart-related health issues.

MORE: This Is Why FDA Is Banning Trans Fats

In contrast, eating saturated fat was not linked to a higher risk of early death, heart-related problems, stroke, or type 2 diabetes.

That doesn’t mean, however, that saturated fats now get a green light. de Souza points out that many people who try to cut back on saturated fats tend to substitute them with less healthy fats like those from margarine or with carbohydrates, which can contribute to heart disease. So while saturated fats when compared to trans fats did not substantially increase heart disease risk, that doesn’t mean saturated fats are actually heart healthy. It’s just that in the hierarchy of heart-friendly fats, trans fats are the worst and saturated fats are the next worst. “We didn’t find any evidence for increasing the allowable amount of saturated fat in the diet,” says de Souza.

MORE: Trans Fats Are Hiding All Over Your Grocery List

The group that showed the lowest risk of early death or heart disease were those who consumed the most vegetable oils such as olive and canola. “If there is one message to go away with from these results, it’s that substituting saturated and trans fats with whole grains and vegetable oils is a step in the right direction,” says de Souza.

The results, he says, support current dietary guidelines for how much of different types of fats people should eat to maintain healthy hearts and lower their risk of chronic diseases. For now, he says, the advice to consume no more than 10% of daily calories in saturated fat and to limit trans fats to less than 1% of calories, is reasonable.

TIME Sex/Relationships

The Effect Eating Has on Female Desire: Study

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Getty Images

Scientists have found the flipside to being hangry

Women may be more responsive to romance when they’re full.

That’s according to the results of a small new brain-scan study published in the journal Appetite. Author Alice Ely, now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Diego, had already studied how women’s brains respond to images of fatty foods on an empty and full stomach and found that both their hunger status and dieting history did influence brain activation patterns. She wanted to see if a woman’s hunger state had an effect on another highly rewarding stimuli beyond food: romance. “We found that it did,” she says.

Ely and her colleagues recruited 20 young women who were all normal weight. Half had tried at least twice in the past to lose weight, and half had never dieted. All of the women fasted for eight hours, then came to the lab hungry. The researchers sent them into an fMRI scanner, where the women viewed romantic pictures, like a couple holding hands, and neutral images, like a bowling ball. The researchers saw similar levels of activation between the two groups of women. They then drank 500 calories’ worth of a meal replacement drink and popped back into the scanner to look at the the same pictures again on a full stomach.

This time, “they were more responsive to romantic cues,” says Ely, who hypothesizes as to why that might be the case: “Instead of being anxious and annoyed and irritable when you’re hungry…once we’re sated, then we can get on to better things.”

Traci Mann, a professor in the department of psychology at the University of Minnesota and a dieting researcher who was not involved with the study, says that the results make sense. When you’re fasting, you’re “entirely preoccupied and focused with thoughts of food,” she says. “It seems to me it would be hard for them to be drawn away from thinking about food to thinking about other things.”

Interestingly, the post-meal brain activity in response to romantic cues was especially strong in the young women who had reported dieting in the past. Other research has shown that when dieters are offered rewards like food, they usually show a stronger brain response after they’ve eaten—”which suggests that they’re still kind of motivated to eat even once they’re nutritionally full,” Ely says. “But what we’re seeing is that’s kind of true for stuff beyond just food.”

“There’s some evidence that people who are more impulsive or more reward-sensitive tend to eat more in certain situations, but there haven’t been too many imaging studies looking at this population and looking across different kinds of stimuli,” Ely explains.

Ely cautions that it’s only a pilot study with a small group of women of the same age, and much more research is needed to draw any conclusions. “It’s all very speculative, but it’s still very interesting and a sort of unexpected finding,” she says—and not a bad excuse to take a crush out to dinner.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

Should I Eat Hot Dogs?

4/5 experts say no.

Ballgame or no ballgame, hot dogs aren’t hot in the health world, according to four of our experts.

Hot dogs deliver a nutritional assault in many ways: one typical fast food dog with ketchup and mustard contains 290 calories and 910 mg of sodium. (On the plus side, you’re also getting 11 grams of protein.)

The problem with hot dogs is how they’re processed. “While there is some debate about the health effects of pure meats, processed meats—and all hot dogs fall into that category, some more processed than others—are consistently associated with adverse health effects,” says Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. Diets high in processed meats have been linked with cancer, especially colorectal cancer.

Peter Clifton, professor of nutrition at the University of South Australia, puts it this way: “All data says processed meat is bad: more diabetes, higher mortality, more cardiovascular disease,” he says. His March paper published in the journal Metabolism found that processed foods are associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes compared to red meat, probably partly due to the way that iron interacts with the saturated fat, salt and nitrates—an added preservative—found in processed meats.

Nitrates are of particular concern with cured meats like hot dogs, says Mariana Stern, a cancer epidemiologist at the University of Southern California. Nitrates are salts added from synthetic chemicals or natural sources (such as celery juice, which you may find on the labels of so-called “uncured” or “nitrate-free” hot dogs). “Regardless of where the nitrates come from,” says Stern, “they can be converted by oral bacteria intro nitrites, which in turn can react in the stomach … to form N-Nitroso compounds, which are well-established cancer-causing agents.”

Antioxidants can halt this conversion, which is why most hot dogs contain vitamin C, Stern says. “However, the amounts in one hot dog may not be enough to prevent the accumulation of N-Nitroso compounds in people with diets high in meat overall, and in particular processed meats,” she says. “Studies show that the effects of processed meats might be more harmful in people with diets that are overall low in antioxidants.” Stern analyzed the diets of 1,660 people with bladder cancer and found that bladder cancer risk went up with processed meat consumption.

In an April study looking at the effects of nitrites in mice, “we have shown that addition of nitrite had a neutral, and maybe even protective effect on intestinal tumor development when part of a low-fat diet,” says Marianne Sødring, a PhD student at the Department of Food Safety and Infection Biology at Norwegian University of Life Sciences. “This may suggest that other factors have to be present for nitrite-processed meat to have a cancer-causing effect.”

There might be an easier way to lower the risks associated with processed meat—if you’re a rat, at least. Scientists, reporting their findings in the International Journal of Cancer, fed rats hot dogs and watched a particular biomarker for colorectal cancer; the hot dog diet indeed increased signs of this marker, but adding calcium to their diet lessened this effect. “If a rat’s diet is loaded with calcium, a hotdog diet does not boost cancer anymore in rats,” says study author Denis Corpet, professor of food hygiene and human nutrition in the French National School of Veterinary Medicine in Toulouse. “In people, this would translate in having a yogurt each time we get a pair of sausages.”

If you want to indulge in the occasional dog (plus or minus the yogurt), Sødring—the lone hot dog defender—has some parting words of encouragement. “As a bonus, from an environmental standpoint, one might say that hot dogs contribute to sustainable food production,” she says, “because a much larger part of the animal, not just the prime cuts, is utilized.”

hot dog
Illustration by Lon Tweeten for TIME

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TIME Diet/Nutrition

The Intriguing Link Between Spicy Food and a Longer Life

Spicy chili, Salento, Apulia, Italy in March 2014.
DeAgostini—Getty Images Spicy chili, Salento, Apulia, Italy in March 2014.

People who love chili peppers might be eating their way to a longer life, according to a new study published in The BMJ.

“We know something about the beneficial effects of spicy foods basically from animal studies and very small-sized human studies,” says study author Lu Qi, associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. Some of those preliminary studies have found that spicy food and their active components—like capsaicin, the compound found in chili peppers—might lower inflammation, improve metabolic status and have a positive effect on gut bacteria and weight, he says.

But human evidence remains scant. So Qi and a team of researchers looked at questionnaire data from about half a million adults all across China who participated in the China Kadoorie Biobank study between 2004-2008. Each person in the study reported their health status, alcohol consumption, spicy food consumption, main source of chili intake (fresh or dried, in a sauce or in an oil) as well as meat and vegetable consumption.

The researchers followed up with them about seven years later. Compared to people who ate spicy foods less than once a week, people who ate them just once or twice a week had a 10% reduced risk of death. Bumping up the spice consumption didn’t make much of a difference; those who ate spicy food 3-7 days a week were at 14% reduced risk of death compared to the most spice-averse group.

Eating chili-rich spicy foods was also linked to a lower risk of death from certain diseases, including cancer, ischemic heart diseases and respiratory diseases, they found. Further analysis revealed that fresh chili had a stronger protective effect against death from those diseases.

More research is needed to make any causal case for the protective effects of chili—this does not prove that the spicy foods were the reason for the health outcomes—but Qi finds this observational research valuable. “It appears that increasing your intake moderately, just to 1-2 or 3-5 times a week, shows very similar protective effect,” he says. “Just increase moderately. That’s maybe enough.”

MORE: 3 Reasons You Should Eat More Spicy Food

TIME Diet/Nutrition

These Are the Worst Pizzas in America

And 8 healthier indulgences to eat instead

Melted cheese recently melted the Internet, when Pizza Hut introduced their latest artery-clogging frankenfood, the 15″ Hot Dog Bites pie—a large, one-topping pizza with pigs-in-a-blanket backed into the crust. “I tried it and survived,” wrote one taste-tester online. This, about a food our Italian ancestors imagined would be a low-cal appetizer.

Unfortunately, Pizza Hut isn’t alone in offering pies that better resemble manhole covers than Neapolitan delicacies. At most popular restaurants and in frozen food aisles, thin, healthy crusts have gotten thicker, more bloated with cheap carb calories. Toppings have gotten gimmicky, so healthy mozzarella and tomato sauces are sometimes replaced with things like burger meat, ziti or chicken fingers. And serving sizes—especially for “individual” pizzas—have taken these pies to a new level of caloric callousness.

How bad is it? The editors of Eat This, Not That! magazine researched every pie in America and determined the absolute worst for your health and waistline. Indulge once in a while with our relatively healthier choices.

  • 1. Worst Pizza Slice

    Sbarro Stuffed Sausage and Pepperoni Pizza (1 slice)
    810 calories, 40 g fat (15 g saturated fat), 2,180 mg sodium, 73 g carbohydrate, 36 g protein
    That’s the Fat Equivalent of: 10 slices of pan-fried bacon!

    The architecture of this thing makes it less like a slice of pizza and more like a pizza inspired Chipotle Burrito. It relies on an oversize shell of oily bread to hold together a gooey wad of cheese, sausage and pepperoni. The net result is a pizza pocket with two-thirds of your day’s fat and more than a day’s worth of sodium. And the traditional pizza slices aren’t much better; few fall below 600 calories. If you want to do well at Sbarro, think thin crust with nothing but produce on top.

    Eat This Instead!
    Sbarro New York Style Fresh Tomato Pizza (1 slice)
    410 calories, 14 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 790 mg sodium, 53 g carbohydrates, 16 g protein

  • 2. Worst New Pizza

    Pizza Hut Hot Dog Bites Pizza
    Estimated per slice: 460 calories, 30 g fat, 9.9 g saturated fat, 32.7 g carbohydrates
    That’s the Fat Equivalent of: 7.5 Taco Bell Soft Fresco Steak Tacos!

    We’ve seen Pizza Hut do some kooky things in the past to try to woo new fans—remember the Crazy Cheesy Crust Pizza, with 16 crust pockets of five totally different cheeses? Their latest monster mashup is Hot Dog Bites Pizza—a cheesy, pepperoni pizza surrounded by pigs in a blanket instead of the standard crust. Combining two fattening, calorie-dense, all-American foods is a lose-lose situation (though you won’t lose weight)—there’s a whopping 3,680 calories in a typical, 8-slice pie, to be exact. Oh, and it’s served with French’s mustard—for dipping all those hot dogs, of course. Yum?

    Eat This Instead!
    Pizza Hut Skinny Beach Pizza, 1 slice, 14” large skinny slice
    400 calories, 12 g fat (6 g saturated), 880 mg sodium, 56 g carbohydrates.

  • 3. Worst Frozen Pizza

    Red Baron Thin & Crispy Pepperoni Pizza (½ pie)
    400 calories, 19 g fat (9 g saturated), 1,020 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrates
    That’s the Saturated Fat Equivalent of: 16 Burger King Chicken Tenders!

    “Thin & crispy” sounds healthy, but the Baron’s pie gives Burger King Chicken Tenders a run for their money in saturated fat content. If you’re in the frozen aisle, choose Newman’s Own Thin & Crispy Uncured Pepperoni, Kashi Stone-Fired Thin Crust Pizza Mushroom Trio & Spinach instead, or—if you absolutely must-have a nostalgic guilty pleasure: Bagel Bites. They’re not the perfect snack, but still decent for a non-diet pizza product.

    Eat This Instead!
    Bagel Bites (4 pieces)
    200 calories, 6 g fat (2.5 saturated), 340 mg sodium, 28 g carbohydrates

  • 4. Worst Pizza Wannabe

    Romano’s Macaroni Grill Smashed Meatball Fatbread
    1,420 calories, 59 g fat, 28 g saturated fat, 2,970 sodium, 149 g carbohydrates
    That’s the Calorie Equivalent of: Almost 17 Eggo Confetti Waffles!

    That is not a typo: Romano’s loudly advertises their “fatbread”—baked dough smothered with cheese and toppings—as being “fat on crust, fat on toppings and fat on flavor” but they should have added “fat on you.” Consuming more than half of your daily calories in one sitting is just asking for a 3 P.M. desktop snooze and a fatter tummy. Skip them and choose a simpler pasta instead. (But beware: Ravioli alla Vodka and the Penne Arrabbiata are 2 of only 4 lunchtime pastas with fewer than 1,000 calories.)

    Eat This Instead!
    Ravioli alla Vodka
    660 calories, 37 g fat, 20 g saturated fat, 1,440 sodium, 50 g carbohydrates.

  • 5. Worst Pizza for Kids

    CiCi’s Pizza Buffet Mac & Cheese (two 12” Buffet Pizza Slices)
    380 calories, 9 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 880 mg sodium, 60 g carbohydrates
    That’s the Carb Equivalent of: Shotgunning more than 4 slices of Wonder bread!

    Macaroni and cheese pizza? While it might seem like the best idea ever to kids the world over, this cute concept is potentially disastrous for your health—and your children’s. Why top an already carbohydrate-heavy dish with more carbs, not to mention fat? While the calorie count doesn’t register as high as most problematic pies on this list, that’s only because the slices are tiny; believe us, in CiCi’s all-you-can-eat environment, the damage can add up quickly. But if you bring one of their pizzas home, celebrate their smaller slices as built-in portion control—and go with flatbread. The kids will love the crunch.

    Eat This Instead!
    Cheese Flatbread (2 slices)
    200 calories, 9 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 380 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrates

  • 6. Worst Seafood Pizza

    Red Lobster Lobster Pizza
    680 calories, 31 g fat (12 g saturated fat), 1,740 mg sodium, 66 g carbohydrates
    That’s the Fat Equivalent of: 442 large shrimp!

    Fare from the sea is typically a healthy way to go, but sprinkle it over a bed of starchy dough and fatty cheese and you have a different story altogether. Billed as a starter, this Lobster Pizza is the only pizza on Red Lobster’s menu—luckily it shares space with one of the world’s greatest appetizers: shrimp cocktail.

    Eat This Instead!
    Chilled Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail
    120 calories, 1 g fat, 590 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrates

  • 7. Worst Mashup Pizza

    Papa John’s Fritos Chili Pizza (2 slices)
    720 calories, 30 g fat (12 g saturated), 1,400 mg sodium
    That’s the Sodium Equivalent of: Dumping 5 salt packets into your mouth!

    Papa John’s seasonal concoction of pizza, beef chili and yes, Fritos is an insult to almost every cuisine known to man. By our estimates, a whole pie would come salted up with nearly 6,000 mg of sodium! A better defense is a good offense, so start your meal off here with a few pieces of belly-filling protein in the form of wings or chicken strips. Consider it insurance against scarfing too many slices later on.

    Eat This Instead!
    The Works Original Crust Pizza (1 slice, large pie) and Chickenstrips (3) with Cheese Dipping Sauce
    400 calories, 26 g fat (8.5 saturated fat), 1,060 sodium

  • 8. Worst Pizza in America

    Uno Chicago Grill Chicago Classic Deep Dish Individual Pizza
    2,300 calories, 164 g fat (53 g saturated, 1 g trans fat), 4,910 mg sodium, 119 g carbohydrates
    That’s the Sodium Equivalent of: 27 small bags of Lays Potato Chips!

    The problem with deep dish pizza (which Uno’s knows a thing or two about since they invented it back in 1943) is not just the extra empty calories and carbs from the crust, it’s that the thick doughy base provides the structural integrity to house extra heaps of cheese, sauce, and greasy toppings. The result is an individual pizza with more calories than you should eat in a day. Oh, did we mention it has nearly 3 days’ worth of saturated fat, too? The key to (relative) success at Uno’s lies in their flatbread pies—and share them!

    Eat This Instead!
    Cheese and Tomato Flatbread Pizza (1⁄2 pizza)
    490 calories, 23.5 g fat (11 g saturated), 1,290 mg sodium, 48 g carbohydrates

    This article originally appeared on Eat This, Not That!

    More from Eat This, Not That!

TIME Diet/Nutrition

The 9 Worst Breakfasts for Your Waistline

And what you should eat instead

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Photograph by Danny Kim for TIME; Gif by Mia Tramz for TIME

Recently, food marketers have noticed a new trend. Even as younger consumers have become more kale-curious and health-conscious, they are still clamoring for one particular type of fast food: breakfasts. In response, Taco Bell introduced an A.M. menu—including the new and terrifying Biscuit Tacos, where half the calories come from fat. McDonald’s, meanwhile, announced it was going to experiment with serving Egg McMuffins and pancakes all day long.

The media dubbed this battle for your dollar “The Breakfast Wars”—but you may be the true casualty.

Breakfast can be a good thing. Studies show that people who take time for a morning meal consume fewer calories over the course of the day, have stronger cognitive skills, and are 30 percent less likely to be overweight or obese. But when food marketers get their hands on it, “a hearty breakfast” turns into something more like “a heart-breaking breakfast,” because much of what’s on offer at America’s restaurants—and the grocery aisles—is a collection of fatty scrambles, misguided muffin missiles, and pancakes that look like manhole covers.

It’s time for a wake up call. Eat This, Not That! magazine editors searched out the good, the bad, and the greasy and put together this special report: The Worst Breakfast Foods in America 2015!

  • Worst Sweet Cereal

    Kellogg’s Honey Smacks (1 cup)

    100 calories, .5g fat, 40mg sodium, 24g carbohydrates, 15g sugar

    That’s the Sugar Equivalent of: Scarfing a Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookie and calling it breakfast.

    The Smacks mascot, Dig’em Frog, needs a smackdown: His cereal has more sugar than Tony the Tiger’s, Fred Flintstone’s or even Cap’n Crunch! Worse, each puff is coated with partially hydrogenated oil, a substance even fast-food chains are about to ban because they contain traces of trans-fats. Smacks also contain caramel color, which has been shown to increase the risk of cancer in animals and is a possible carcinogen for humans, too. General Mills just announced they’d be removing artificial colors from their cereals; ask Kellogg’s to do the same.

    Eat This Instead!

    General Mills’ Kix

    110 calories, 1 g fat, 180 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrates, 3 g sugar

    Kix is the safest of all sweet cereals, and go great with blueberries.

  • Worst “Healthy” Cereal

    Bear Naked Go Bananas…Go Nuts Granola (1⁄2 cup)

    280 calories, 14 g fat (4 g saturated), 4 g fiber, 10 g sugar

    That’s the Fat Equivalent of: a Dunkin’ Donuts Blueberry Muffin in a bowl—except this granola has more saturated fat!

    Granola may be the most overrated breakfast food of all time. What do you think is holding all those banana-y clumps together? Sugar and oil. And 4 grams of fiber just isn’t enough to save this bowl. Studies have shown that if you eat more fiber at breakfast, you’ll consume fewer calories throughout the day.

    Eat This Instead!

    Kellogg’s All-Bran Original (1 cup)

    160 calories, 2 g fat, 20 g fiber, 12 g sugar

    It’s called All-Bran! This is as fiber-rich as it gets, with a touch of sweetness, too.

  • Worst Doughnut

    Dunkin’ Donuts Blueberry Butternut Donut

    420 calories, 17 g fat (8 g saturated), 60 g carbohydrates, 35 g sugar

    That’s the Sugar Equivalent of: one serving of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream—except this doughnut has 130 more calories, 3 grams more fat and 22 more carbs!

    Good doughnuts hover in the 200- to 300-calorie range, but Dunkin’ Donuts has broken new barriers with this doughy disaster. At 420, it has more calories than a McDonald’s Egg McMuffin with hash browns and nearly as much sugar as 5 bowls of Froot Loops. In fact, it’s the highest-calorie doughnut out there—neither Krispy Kreme nor Tim Horton’s have one that tops 400 calories. Speaking of numbers, here’s another: The Blueberry Butternut has 44 ingredients, including Eat This, Not That! must-avoids like propylene glycol (aka an ingredient in anti-freeze), preservatives and artificial flavors. And how many actual blueberries? Zero.

    Eat This Instead!

    Dunkin’ Donuts Lemon Donut

    260 calories, 15 g fat (7 g saturated), 29 g carbohydrates, 10 g sugar

    This has an equally-long list of artificial ingredients, but it’s one of the lowest-calorie options at Dunkin’ Donuts.

  • Worst Breakfast Burrito

    Taco Bell A.M. Crunchwrap — Sausage

    710 calories, 47 g fat (14 g saturated fat), 1,260 mg sodium, 51 g carbohydrates

    That’s the Calorie Equivalent of: Two regular dinnertime Taco Bell burritos, eaten for breakfast!

    Taco Bell? For breakfast? The news made everyone laugh last year. But the joke’s on you: Most items are more than 500 calories. For the Sausage Crunchwrap, the Bell found a way to stuff sausage and hash browns into this carb vessel, plus shredded cheddar cheese, a pile of eggs and 50 other ingredients, many unpronounceable. The Breakfast Wars are most brutal to your belly.

    Eat This Instead!

    Taco Bell A.M. Grilled Taco — Egg and Cheese

    170 calories, 9 g fat (3 g saturated), 330 sodium, 15 g carbohydrates

    If you’re south of the border, order the Egg and Cheese sandwich, sound advice at any fast food chain in the A.M. hours. This one has 12 grams of tummy-filling protein.

  • Worst Breakfast Sandwich

    Hardee’s Monster Biscuit

    710 calories, 47 g fat (18 g saturated), 2,160 mg sodium, 40 g carbohydrates

    That’s the Sodium and Fat Equivalent of: A 6″ Meat Lovers Personal Pan Pizza from Pizza Hut! In one sandwich!

    This Monster monstrosity has three kinds of pork and more than a day’s worth of sodium. From the bottom up, you’ll find ham, and then cheese, and then a sausage patty, and then more cheese, and then a folded egg, and then bacon, all between a fatty biscuit. A close second for Worst: The Jack in the Box Loaded Breakfast Sandwich, which has the same ingredients between sourdough bread, for the same amount of calories—but with far less sodium.

    Eat This Instead!

    Hardee’s Frisco Breakfast Sandwich

    360 calories, 11 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 1,100 mg sodium, 44 g carbohydrates

    Every single breakfast option at Hardee’s has too much sodium—unless you order the grits—but at least this one also has 19 grams of protein.

  • Worst “Healthy” Breakfast

    Dunkin’ Donuts Multigrain Bagel with Reduced Fat Strawberry Cream Cheese

    500 calories, 17 g fat (6.5), 650 sodium, 78 g carbohydrates

    That’s the Calorie Equivalent of: A Bacon McDouble at McDonald’s, yet without the benefit of its significant protein!

    The worst part about this breakfast is that scores of health-conscious eaters (who somehow wandered into a Dunkin’, perhaps for the coffee) order this thinking they’re making a smart choice. No matter how healthy the bagel or its toppings may appear, there is just no escaping the fact that this one is bogus. In fact, you’re unlikely to find any bagel combination at chain restaurants that register less than 400 calories, because most have refined carbs and low-grade fats.

    Eat This Instead!

    Dunkin’ Donuts Egg and Cheese English Muffin Sandwich

    240 calories, 7 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 490 mg sodium, 32 g carbohydrates

    With 12 grams of protein and less sodium than in years past, this is a Dunkin’ Do.

  • Worst Pancakes

    Denny’s Peanut Butter Cup Pancake Breakfast

    1,670 calories, 105 g fat (33 g saturated), 2,765 mg sodium, 148 g carbohydrates, 64 g sugar

    That’s the Fat Equivalent of: 33 McDonald’s Hotcakes stacked high!

    Wait, doesn’t this belong on a list of the Worst Desserts in America? IHOP has New York Cheesecake Pancakes. Perkins sells ones called Apple Pie. But Denny’s Peanut Butter Cup Pancake Breakfast out-sweets them all. They’ve stuffed two buttermilk pancakes with chocolate and white chocolate chips, and then topped it with hot fudge and peanut butter sauce. The result is a dish with more sugar than 5 servings of Edy’s Ice Cream. (Throw in eggs, hash browns and two sausage links, and the sodium count soars, too.) Craziest part: They offer maple syrup on the side.

    Eat This Instead!

    Denny’s Build-Your-Own-Grand-Slam with 2 Pancakes (370 calories) and 2 egg whites (60 calories).

  • Worst Breakfast Omelette

    IHOP Chorizo Fiesta Omelet

    1,300 calories, 106 g fat (34 g saturated, 1 g trans), 3,220 sodium, 33 g carbohydrates. But if you also order the accompanying side of pancakes and syrup, it’s 1,990 calories and 42 grams of saturated fat.

    That’s the Sodium Equivalent of: Eating 273 Cheetos for breakfast

    IHOP was one of the last chains to release its nutritional numbers, and given the national-debt-level calorie counts of much of its menu, we can see why. This overstuffed omelette is bursting with chorizo, roasted peppers, pepper jack cheese and onions and then smothered in sour cream and chili sauce. Throw in the three additional pancakes, and you’ve got a “healthy” meal with a day’s worth of calories.

    Eat This Instead!

    IHOP Simple & Fit Vegetable Omelette

    310 calories, 12 g fat (4.5 saturated), 750 mg sodium, 6 g carbs

  • Worst Breakfast in America

    Cheesecake Factory Bruleéd French Toast

    2,780 calories, N/A fat (93 g of saturated fat), 2,230 mg sodium, 120 g sugar

    That’s the Saturated Fat Equivalent of: 6 Sonic cheeseburgers, and the calorie equivalent of 40 Dunkin Donuts’ Munchkins.

    Speaking of dessert for breakfast! This “rustic” dish will rust your arteries. It has a full day’s worth of sodium, more than a day’s worth of calories, three to four days worth of sugar and a week’s worth of saturated fat. Cheesecake Factory won’t reveal the total fat count—maybe because they can’t count that high? Meet the absolute Worst Breakfast in America.

    Eat This Instead

    Cheesecake Factory Plain Omelette

    490 calories, other nutritionals N/A

    This article originally appeared on Eat This, Not That!

    More from Eat This, Not That!

TIME Diet/Nutrition

Should I Eat Yogurt-Covered Snacks?

5/5 experts say no.

Yogurt-coated fruit sounds like a double-dosage health food. But don’t be fooled—a shell of “yogurt” contains some very un-yogurtlike things, according to all five of our experts.

While these coatings may be called ‘yogurt,’ they are really a kind of ‘frosting’ of which yogurt is an ingredient,” says David Katz, MD, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. The real stars of yogurt coatings are sugar—and not the kind that naturally occurs in dairy foods—and oil. “Having the name ‘yogurt’ in the mix is supposed to make it all okay,” Katz says. “It does not.”

In fact, the stuff that makes up yogurt coating—typically sugar, partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil, yogurt powder, emulsifiers and salt—is a far cry from its namesake. “One should definitely not think about these as a health food,” says Mario Kratz, PhD, a dairy researcher and nutrition scientist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. “I’d place most of these snacks in the same category as candy bars.”

At first glance, the nutritional stats don’t seem so bad; for a popular brand, a 1/4 cup serving of vanilla yogurt raisins has 19 grams of sugar and 5 grams of fat, while the same serving size of regular raisins actually has more sugar—29 grams of it—but no fat. But that’s far from a nutritional wash. Since yogurt-covered raisins are so much chunkier than their natural, unadulterated peers, you get far fewer raisins per serving and far more of the unnatural kind of sugar.

There’s another danger to these snack food “impostors,” says Dina Rose, PhD, a sociologist and feeding expert of the blog It’s Not About Nutrition: The Art & Science of Teaching Kids to Eat Right. “For kids, yogurt-covered snacks like yogurt-covered (or really, oil-covered) raisins and pretzels teach that these foods should look and taste like candy,” she says. Getting a kid to recognize that a yogurt-covered snack should only be eaten occasionally, she says, is the tricky part.

J. Bruce German, PhD, professor and director of the Foods for Health Institute at the University of California, Davis—and a yogurt researcher—says that while yogurt is a “nourishing food product,” the kind that’s dried, mixed with stabilizers and blanketed on dried snacks isn’t the same. “In general most of the attributes of fresh yogurt are lost in making coated snacks,” he says.

That’s why the snacks you buy at the movie theater aren’t the real deal, agrees Jennifer Willoughby, a dietitian at Cleveland Clinic Children’s. But here’s the good part: making your own snacks from real yogurt is a tasty and healthy treat. “Choose a plain or vanilla yogurt to dip fruit or nuts in, and then freeze for a sweet treat with significantly less added sugar and more nutritional benefit,” she says.

yogurt covered pretzels
Illustration by Lon Tweeten for TIME

Read Next: Should I Eat Butter?

TIME Exercise/Fitness

Find Out How Many Calories to Cut For Weight Loss

A new NIH calculator gives you a personalized plan in minutes

Forget the number 2,000—a new government calculator uses the latest research to spit out an exact calorie count and exercise regimen you’ll need to hit your weight loss goals.

The calculator, called the Body Weight Planner, is now available online for public use, but the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has used it in research since 2011. “We originally intended the Body Weight Planner as a research tool, but so many people wanted to use it for their own weight management that we knew we needed to adapt it with more information about how to achieve a healthy lifestyle,” said Kevin Hall, PhD, one of the creators of the tool and a senior investigator at the NIH, in a press release.

Read more The Best Way To Make Your Exercise Habit Stick

The calculator asks your weight, sex, age and height—standard measures often used to prescribe a calorie plan. But it also incorporates more recent research about exercise to further personalize your plan, asking you to estimate your physical activity level on a scale of 1.4 (sedentary) to 2.5 (very active), to name your goal weight and to pick a date by which you want to reach it.

Most of us get about that far in thinking through a weight loss plan, but the calculator doesn’t stop there. It also asks you to name a percentage by which you plan to increase your physical activity and tells you what kind of exercise, how much, how often and what intensity level it’ll take to get there. Adding in a routine of light running isn’t the same as starting intense swimming, and in a distinctive feature, the calculator doesn’t weigh all physical activity equally.

The resulting calculations tell you three things: the daily number of calories you’ll need to eat to maintain your current weight, the calories you’ll need to reach your goal in your specified time, and the calories you’ll need to maintain your goal once you’ve met it. You can then use SuperTracker, a meal-planning tool developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), to devise a meal plan based on your calorie stats. =

For people motivated by microscopic proofs of progress, there’s even an expert version of the calorie calculator that breaks down your goal by day, so you can see exactly how your weight loss will likely progress—decimal by decimal—if you stick to your program.

Read next: Here’s The Amount Of Exercise That Lowers Breast Cancer Risk

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