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Food Substitutions

Plain raspberries are a delicious and healthy alternative to a lot of processed sweets.
Plain raspberries are a delicious and healthy alternative to a lot of processed sweets.
Photo courtesy /www.photoexpress.com

Just what the heck are you supposed to eat anyway?

Sometimes that's confusing.

You can be out at a restaurant. The shrimp looks good. Or maybe an omelet? Or a steak. And just how much damage will those fries really do?

Rather than try to pound all of that information into your head, there's a great book that can help you sort out a lot of it. The book is called Eat This, Not That, and it's by David Zinczenko.

The book simply compares two similar items, whether they are restaurant fare or supermarket goods, and lets you know exactly what you're getting yourself into. There are plenty of menu items and food labels that sound healthy or dietary but are far from it.

Case in point: The McDonald's Filet-o-Fish and Burger King Fish Sandwich seem to be the same. They are compared here. But the difference is striking. The McDonald's sandwich is only a little over half the calories of its BK counterpart, with a little over half the fat and a little over 1/3 of the sodium. When choosing one fast food restaurant over another, there really is a choice.

And, unfortunately, when it comes to one hometown favorite, the odds are not stacked in favor of this coast. When it comes to a frozen cappuccino drink, Starbucks beats Dunkin Donuts hands down. While local favorite DD has a selection with no fat (it's made with skim milk and you're still intaking as many calories as you should have for your entire lunch meal), that does not mean it's diet-friendly -- it's almost twice the calories as the selection from Starbucks.

And when it comes to sugar? Children, cover your eyes -- the Dunkin' Donuts frozen cappuccino has -- get this -- 105 g of sugars! Starbucks? Only 57, which is not much of a bargain but still a far cry from DD's entry. Essentially, Dunkin Donuts is getting around half of its 550 calories from sugar (sugar is 4 calories/gram), whereas Starbucks' 290 calories can be broken down into 228 calories from sugar (over 3/4) and the remainder from fat (it has 3.5 g of fat. Fat is 9 calories/gram).

As this map shows, the Bay State is dominated by Dunkin Donuts locations, versus Starbucks. You may have to hunt a little in order to get to the better coffee drink.

Or, if it's feasible, walk there.  Because it might not be such a bad idea to walk off some of those 57 grams of sugar while you're at it.

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