12 foods your dentist won't eat

A fully grown male deer. The carbon body of a 2007 Shelby Mustang Funny Car. Tom Cruise. And all the sugar and other sweeteners you, the average American, will eat this year. What do they all have in common? They all weigh approximately 140 pounds.
© Men's Health // © Men's Health

Life is sweet, all right—so sweet that each of us will eat the sugar equivalent of 6,047 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in the next 12 months. Impossible, right? Sure, you like a piece of birthday cake now and again, and you’re not above raiding the kids’ Halloween stash or Christmas stockings or even stealing a serving of ice cream once a week or so. But 140 pounds of the sweet stuff? How can that be?

The authors of the best-selling weight-loss books, Eat This, Not That!, reveal 12 of the most sugar-packed foods in America. Some are ice cream treats, sure. But just as many are regular food products that you’d never in a million years consider “desserts”—that is, until now. Steer clear of these 12 sugar-packed foods. Your blood sugar—and teeth!—depend on it.

Eat This, Not That!

1 of 14 Sugary foods to avoid (Cultura/jackSTAR/Getty Images)

Most sugar-packed canned product

Del Monte Peach Chunks in Heavy Syrup (1/2 cup)

23 g sugars
100 calories
0 g fat

Unlike most food on this list, these peaches aren't bona fide junk food; they are, after all, still fruit. But why manufacturers feel the need to can, package, and bottle nature's candy with excess sugar is a question we will never stop asking. In this case, the viscous sugar solution clings to the fruit like syrup to a pancake, soaking every bite with utterly unnecessary calories. Looking for cheap sources of fruit to have on hand at any time? Opt for the frozen stuff—it's picked at the height of season and flash frozen on the spot, keeping costs low and nutrients high.

Eat this instead!

Dole Frozen Sliced Peaches (3/4 cup)
10 g sugars
50 calories
0 g fat

(Read The Truth about Calories to discover even more need-to-know health and nutrition advice.)

2 of 14 Del Monte Peach Chunks (Courtesy of Men's Health)

Most sugar-packed breakfast baked good

Tim Horton's Whole Grain Raspberry Muffin

29 g sugars
400 calories
16 g fat (4 g saturated)

These are the types of nutrition numbers you'd expect from a hunk of coffee cake, not a whole grain muffin. Truth is, the two are more similar than you'd think. After all, this bevy of berries is teeming with more sugar than you'd find in a pack of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. If you want an easy-to-eat breakfast food, grab a croissant over a muffin. They may be heavy on flaky, buttery flavor, but they're usually one of the safest baked goods you'll find at a cafe or coffee shop.

Eat this instead!

Plain Croissant
2 g sugars
270 calories
18 g fat (8 g saturated)

Get the best nutrition and weight-loss tips delivered right to your inbox daily! Sign up for the Eat This, Not That newsletter today.

3 of 14 Tim Horton's muffin (Courtesy of Men's Health)

Most sugar-packed cereal

Quaker Natural Granola Oat & Honey & Raisins (1 cup)

26 g sugars
420 calories
10 g fat (1 g saturated)
10 g fiber

Like eating dessert for breakfast? Because that's basically what granola is. Sure, there's a splash of fiber, but it's completely diluted by a tidal wave of sugar. In fact, sugar accounts for more than a third of the calories in this bowl, and unfortunately, Quaker's is the rule, not the exception. The only acceptable use for granola is to crumble a small handful into plain yogurt. Save your bowls for a cereal more wholesome.

Eat this instead!

Post Shredded Wheat (1 cup)
0 g sugars
160 calories
1 g fat (6 g fiber)

For more smart power food suggestions, stock up on these 125 Best Foods for Men.

4 of 14 Quaker Granola (Courtesy of Men's Health)

Most sugar-packed Chinese meal

Manchu Wok Honey Garlic Chicken with Fried Rice

34 g sugars
840 calories
34 g fat (6 g saturated)
2,100 mg sodium

Why does this simple Chinese meal pack as much sugar as a pack of Skittles? Blame the Honey Garlic Sauce bathing the chicken. The Honey Garlic Chicken packs about twice the sugar as the Pineapple Chicken, so making that switch will automatically improve the dish. Do yourself one extra favor and switch to mixed vegetables instead of rice as a side. You'll earn flavor and nutrients while eliminating 280 calories.

Eat this instead!

Pineapple Chicken with Mixed Vegetables
17 g sugars
300 calories
19 g fat (3 g saturated)
770 mg sodium

What other foods should you avoid? Start with these 25 New “Healthy” Foods That Aren’t.

5 of 14 Manchu Woke Honey Garlic Chicken (Courtesy of Men's Health)

Most sugar-packed mall snack

Auntie Anne's Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel with Sweet Dip

61 g sugars
600 calories
12 g fat (7 g saturated)

The combination of the sweetest pretzel with the sweetest dip (there are 32 grams of sugar in that little cup!) makes this the most nefarious option for your blood sugar and your chompers. Nothing trumps marinara in the battle for a better dip, but to compliment the sweet flavor of a raisin pretzel, cream cheese is far safer than the other options. Cut an extra 30 calories by asking them to prepare your pretzel sans butter.

Eat this instead!

Raisin Pretzel with Cream Cheese
16 grams sugars
440 calories
11 g fat (7.5 g saturated)

Need some healthy testosterone-foody suggestions? Try these: 40 Foods with Superpowers.

6 of 14 Auntie Anne's pretzel (Courtesy of Men's Health)

Most sugar-packed fast food breakfast

Dunkin' Donuts Apple Crumb Donut with Small Coffee with Cream and Sugar

66 g sugars
610 calories
24 g fat (13 g saturated)

Fruity names aside, crumb doughnuts are the worst doughnut option. Just as bad is the normal coffee order. Cream and sugar add 115 calories to a small, so if you slug through two or three a day, expect to carry around an extra 25 to 35 pounds. Surprisingly, eight of Dunkin's 10 "Kreme" doughnuts are less than 320 calories—a rare feat in the world of fat-stuffed pastries. Tack on a 10-calorie cup of Caramel Coffee, and you have a decadent start to your day that won't budge the needle on that dreaded scale.

Eat this instead!

Bavarian Kreme Donut with Small Caramel Coffee
9 g sugars
280 calories
15 g fat (7 g saturated)

Trying to shed fat? Here’s how you can Eat More Food and Lose More Weight.)

7 of 14 Dunkin' Donuts breakfast (Courtesy of Men's Health)

Most sugar-packed coffee house drink

Starbucks Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino Blended Creme (Grande size with 2% milk and whipped cream)

71 g sugars
450 calories
15 g fat (9 g saturated)

Frappuccinos are easily the worst beverages on offer at Starbucks, so if you must have one, make it a Frappuccino Light. Even if you order a Grande, you still have a good chance of landing one under 200 calories. Your best bet at Starbucks, though, (aside from black coffee, of course), is a Vivanno beverage. They offer two key elements that put them leagues ahead of any Frap: Real fruit (one whole banana in each smoothie) and a shot of whey protein and fiber. That means you get a kick of antioxidants with a helping of slow-digesting nutrients to keep your blood sugar stable.

Drink this instead!

Strawberry Vivanno (16 oz with 2% milk)
41 g sugars
300 calories
2 g fat (1 g saturated)

(Fight your food cravings by learning how to Stick To Your Diet at Every Meal.)

8 of 14 Starbucks Strawberry Crème (Courtesy of Men's Health)

Most sugar-packed fruity ice cream

Cold Stone Creamery Blueberry Ice Cream (Gotta Have It size)

74 g sugars
760 calories
47 g fat (31 g saturated, 1.5 g trans)

The Gotta Have It size at Cold Stone is about 12 ounces, which is equivalent to ordering three scoops at Baskin-Robbins or Ben & Jerry's. Order any ice cream in this size and you can expect to spoon down about a day's worth of saturated fat and the same amount of sugar as you'll find in 11 rainbow popsicles. Downsize your order, and focus on toppings, which can make or break an ice cream. Most of the cookies and candy bars at Cold Stone have between 100 and 200 calories per serving, so limit the indulgent toppings to Nilla Wafers and Yellow Cake. Fruits and nuts, of course, will always be your safest bets.

Eat this instead!

Chocolate Yogurt (Like It size) topped with Yellow Cake and blueberries
40 g sugars
260 calories
2.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated)

BEAT BEVERAGE BLOAT: The average American drinks 450 sugar-loaded calories a day. Replace half of what you drink with water and you'll save 23 pounds per year! Start by avoiding everything on this list of The 20 Worst Drinks in America.

9 of 14 Cold Stone fruity ice cream (Courtesy of Men's Health)

Most sugar-packed smoothie

Jamba Juice Banana Berry (22 fl oz)

82 g sugars
400 calories
1.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated)

Be on the lookout for smoothies—like this one—that are made with juice, not whole fruits. Sure juice is derived from fruit, but it burdens your smoothie with loads of extra sugars without contributing a shred of fiber or protein. You're better off with all-fruit or dairy-based varieties.

Drink this instead!

Berry Fulfilling (22 fl oz)
39 g sugars
230 calories
1 g fat (0 g saturated)

SNACK YOUR WAY THIN: Smart snacking can work wonders on your waistline, but the key is finding snacks that are low in sugar and high in protein and fiber. Try any of our 50 Best Snack Foods in America. They’ll help push the junk out of your diet—and the fat out of your body—by helping to keep you lean and full all day long!

10 of 14 Jamba Juice (Courtesy of Men's Health)