The Diet Detective: How Many Calories Are You Eating?

Gum Ball vs. Macadamia Nut

Clearly the gum ball is not the "healthier" choice. Macadamia nuts have about 20 calories per nut, and, believe it or not, a Dubble Bubble Gum Ball also has 20 calories.

More: The Nut Case: Do They Have Too Much Fat?

Macadamia nuts have the most calories of almost any nut, so they're probably not your best nut choice. But they do have a large amount of vitamin B – thiamin. In addition, macadamia nuts have heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and a decent amount of antioxidants (but not as many as walnuts, which, according to researcher Joe Vinson, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Scranton, is the top health nut).
 

Tic Tac vs. Life Saver

Tic Tacs used to advertise that they had only 1.5 calories each, but they're a bit larger now and roughly 1.9 calories each.

More: The Diet Detective: Snacking Choices

As for Life Savers, I was surprised to learn that each one has 11.25 calories. They also contain high fructose corn syrup and food dyes, including Red 40, Yellow 5 and Blue 1. To find out the "411" on those dyes visit the Center for Science in the Public Interest's (CSPI) Chemical Cuisine.
 

1 Oscar Mayer Honey Ham Slice vs. 1 Slice of Hebrew National Beef Salami vs. 1 Slice of Citterio Sandwich Pepperoni

 
The Oscar Mayer Honey Ham has 23 calories per (21 g) slice with only 0.4 g saturated fat and 253 mg of sodium. One (28 g) slice of beef salami has 75 calories, 2.5 g of saturated fat and 290 mg of sodium. And one slice of the Citterio sandwich pepperoni has 150 calories and 420 mg of sodium.

The problem with all three of these (and a lot of deli meats) is that they contain sodium nitrite. Nitrites are added to meat to stop it from going bad, stabilize flavor and give it a red color – they "cure" the meat. According to CSPI Chemical Cuisine, "Several studies have linked consumption of cured meat and nitrite by children, pregnant women and adults with various types of cancer. Although those studies have not yet proven that eating nitrite in bacon, sausage and ham causes cancer in humans, pregnant women would be prudent to avoid those products."

More: 5 Nutritional Steps to Prevent Breast Cancer

If you're looking for deli products that don't contain nitrites, try Applegate Farms.

More: Raising the Bar: How to Choose Healthy Snacks

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