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Health-Food Fight: The Healthiest Buys at the Grocery Store

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Chocolate instead of vanilla. Kimmel over Fallon. Shaken, not stirred. Chances are, you feel pretty strongly about most choices in life. And while you may prefer fried mozzarella sticks to low-fat string cheese, you know full well which one's better for you. But when you like two foods equally -- and one seems just as healthy as the other -- things can get tricky. To make it easier, we asked the experts to set the record straight. Because the less time you have to spend wavering over what to eat, the more time you can devote to enjoying it.

Food Face-Off

Turkey Burger vs. Veggie Burger

The winner: Veggie burger
When made with ground breast meat, turkey burgers can be a lean source of protein. The reality? Premade patties are usually a blend of white and dark meat, so they can have five times the fat and up to 20 times more cholesterol than meat-free versions. "Veggie burgers also have about four grams of fiber and half the calories -- around 100," says Lori Lieberman, RD, a dietitian in South Weymouth, Massachusetts. They can be high in sodium, however, so choose a brand with 300 milligrams or fewer.

Agave vs. Honey

The winner: It's a tie.
"Agave syrup and honey both have 64 calories, about 16 grams of carbs, and between 14 and 17 grams of sugar per tablespoon," says Elizabeth DeRobertis, RD, the founder of the Nutrition Center at Scarsdale Medical Group in Harrison, New York. The kind of sugar, however, differs: Agave has a higher percentage of fructose to glucose, so it raises your blood sugar more slowly but may also trick your brain into thinking your stomach isn't as full as it actually is. More research needs to be done before experts can recommend one over the other; in the meantime, use the sweetener you think tastes better, but only in moderation. "The best way to sweeten yogurt or even baked goods is with whole or pureed fruit, as it contains fiber and nutrients that concentrated sweeteners don't," DeRobertis says.

Potatoes vs. Sweet Potatoes

The winner: Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes have about the same amount of fiber (four grams) as potatoes but 60 fewer calories. Where they really shine is in the vitamin A department: One sweet potato delivers 438 percent of your daily value, while a single spud serves up none. They also provide a third more vitamin C, which -- surprise! -- could help you score flat abs. "When your body's level of the stress hormone cortisol is chronically elevated, excess fat gets relocated to your abdominal area," says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, the author of Belly Fat Diet for Dummies. "Vitamin C helps lower cortisol levels."

Instant Oatmeal vs. Steel-Cut Oats

The winner: Steel-cut oats
While both types of oats are good sources of cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber, "the instant kind are rolled out and steamed before being packaged to make them cook faster," says Julie Kaye, RD, a dietitian in New York City. Steel-cut oats, however, are the whole oat groat (picture a grain about the size of barley) cut into two or three pieces. Because they're less processed, they take more time to digest, which means they keep your blood sugar steady and help you feel full for up to three hours -- twice as long as instant oats do.

Next:  More Food Fights


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teddi71bk1 wrote:

Steel cut oats take a very long time to cook properly. Most people don't care to do this. I don't

9/8/2014 11:12:06 PM Report Abuse
velma.williams wrote:

Confirms some knowledge but lots of new good info for me.

3/6/2014 11:01:58 AM Report Abuse
7bellarose wrote:

I disagree with the Veggie burger compared to the Turkey burger. You can always buy a lean Turkey Burger with has way more protein and have a side of veggies or salad. The Veggie Burger are so processed so if you are going to eat one make it yourself goodluck!

3/2/2014 11:39:21 AM Report Abuse
smithlb10 wrote:

Very interesting! Thanks for the help. Check out my weight loss journey at

1/25/2014 03:03:26 PM Report Abuse
littlebear2260 wrote:

Very informative and really helps in determining food choices.

1/14/2014 10:07:56 AM Report Abuse

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