With the legislature considering taxing so-called “unhealthy” food or beverage items as a way to raise revenues while encouraging better diet amongst Americans, each of us should spend some time focusing a little bit on how we eat and what we eat. As I have written here before, I think it is a mistake to single out individual food items (pizza and soda were recently singled out in one of these new tax proposals) as “unhealthy”. For one thing, portion sizes are a larger problem than the nature of what we eat. If you eat one or two slices of pizza at meal time, you’re not packing on the pounds. Eating 5 slices each time you eat pizza is much more likely to make you gain weight. Today, I read an article that blew up my conception of what is healthy to eat and what is not. Often, things we tend to think of as “healthy” foods are worse for us than things we think of as “no-nos”. Follow me past the jump for the shocking details. Marion Nestle (unfortunate name for her) is a professor of nutrition at NYU and blogger at Food Politics. Nestle suggests that any food that contains more than 15 grams of sugar per serving is closer to dessert than anything else. So what does the 15 gram threshold look like? You’d be surprised. Here’s a list (courtesy of Darya Pino’s blogpost at the Huffington Post) of foods you are sure to recognize. You may be shocked to see which ones are the worst for your waistline and which ones are comparatively not so bad. Sugar Content of Common Food Products 1. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut ……10 g 2. Luna Bar berry almond …..11 g 3. Froot Loops breakfast cereal 3/4 cup……12 g 4. Ben & Jerry’s vanilla ice cream ……..16 g 5. Starbucks caffè latte grande 16 oz …..17 g 6. Godiva 2 truffles …….17 g 7. Subway 6″ sweet onion teriyaki chicken sandwich….17 g 8. Ms. Field’s chocolate chip cookie ……19 g 9. Tropicana 100% orange juice 8 oz ……25 g 10. Yoplait original yogurt ….27 g 11. Craisins dried cranberries 1/3 cup…….29 g 12. Vitamin Water 20 oz bottle ……..33 g 13. Oscar Mayer Lunchables crackers, turkey & American cheese…..36 g 14. Coca-Cola Classic 12 oz can ……39 g 15. Sprinkles Cupcake red velvet……45 g 16. California Pizza Kitchen Thai chicken salad …….45 g 17. Jamba Juice blackberry bliss 16 oz ………49 g 18. Odwalla SuperFood 450 ml bottle ………50 g 19. Starbucks caffe vanilla frappuccino grande 16 oz ….58g Just goes to show you that food choices are often not as easy as they would appear at face value. Alot has to do with portion size as well as how things are marketed. This is why I have trouble with the notion of identifying any foods as “good” or “bad” as the basis of a new tax. What do you think?