Food & Nutrition

20 Foods That Are Never Worth the Calories

General Tso’s chicken

Tso's chicken with rice, onions and broccoli on the table. horizontal view from aboveAS Food studio/Shutterstock

This dish is a favorite among restaurant food trends, according to food delivery giant GrubHub, reports NBC News. Well, fans of the dish may want to take a closer look at what they’re eating. An average order as listed in USDA Food Database delivers over 1,500 calories, 87 grams of fat (of which around 15 grams are saturated fat), 62 grams of sugar, and a day’s worth of sodium at 2,327 milligrams. Because it contains the three main nutrients the US Dietary Guidelines consider health risks, this is a dish worth skipping. Here are the healthiest Chinese take-out options.

American cheese

Grilled Cheese Sandwich on a Plate on a Blue BackgroundTodd Maughan/Shutterstock

Pasteurized, processed cheese food has been around for over 100 years, according to its first manufacturer, Kraft. Its “meltability” has made American cheese a favorite in grilled cheese sandwiches and macaroni and cheese, but the product clocks in at about 100 calories per ounce and up to 350 mg sodium, depending on the brand. The ingredient list is not clean, featuring emulsifiers, thickeners, artificial colors, and flavors. If you’re going to enjoy cheese, opt for high-quality hard cheese such as Parmigiano Reggiano, which has bold flavor and actual nutrients in its cleaner ingredient list. If you’re lactose-intolerant, try these 11 smart dairy alternatives.

Pork rinds

Pork rinds also known as chicharon or chicharrones, deep fried pork skinRegreto/Shutterstock

These tasty crunchy morsels do contain protein, but they’re also fatty and highly processed. The USDA Food Database says the average half ounce serving (about 7 to 9 pieces, depending on size) provides more than 10 percent of the daily sodium requirement. And at 2 grams of saturated fat, a serving clocks in at about 80 calories. A study of eating trends in the Journal Nutrients indicates that snacking contributes about 500 calories to the average person’s intake. Not surprisingly, US Dietary Guidelines show the snack category provides the lowest percent of nutrients compared to other meals. Choose nuts and seeds for a healthier snack option—these are the healthiest nuts you can eat.

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