By David Zinczenko, ABC News’ Nutrition and Wellness Editor
There’s no way to sugarcoat it: Americans consume too much sugar. And recently, the World Health Organization announced we should reduce our intake to a tiny 5 percent of daily calories — half of what the organization previously recommended. For someone on a 2,000-calorie diet, the new guidelines mean a sugar limit of about 100 calories, or six sugar packets a day.
That seems doable. But in the American food jungle, nothing is as it appears. When I researched “Eat It to Beat It!,” I found sugar in thousands of places it doesn’t belong, from bread to salad dressing, dressed up in disguises like corn syrup, maltodextrin and sucrose.
But you don’t have to give up your favorite foods to strip out sugar and reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease and weight gain. Here are three ways you can Eat to Beat Sugar at your favorite chain restaurants:
Subway Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki (foot long)
532 calories, 9 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 32 g sugar, 10 g fiber, 50 g protein
The problem is the teriyaki glaze. It should be called kamikaze glaze, because you end up with a sandwich that has as much sugar as a short stack of chocolate chip pancakes!
Subway Oven Roasted Chicken (footlong)
462 calories, 10 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 16 g sugar, 10 g fiber, 46 g protein
2. UNO PIZZA
Uno Pizza & Grill Chopped Power Salad
540 calories, 11 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 51 g sugar, 9 g fiber, 42 g protein
It should be called the “Power Down Salad,” because you will definitely be in sleep mode after eating more sugar than you’ll find in five chocolate croissants!
Uno Pizza & Grill Garden Salad w/ Grilled Chicken
310 calories, 12 g fat, 2.5 saturated fat, 6 g sugar, 4 g fiber, 30 g protein
3. BASKIN ROBBINS
Mango Banana Smoothie (large)
880 calories, 3 g fat, 192 g sugar, 6 g fiber
Your best bet at BR is to skip anything with a straw, and go for a small cup (one scoop) of your favorite flavor ice cream. They average 17 grams of sugar per scoop — far less than any of the shakes and smoothies. It’s hard to believe, but a scoop of cotton candy ice cream clocks in at only 12 grams of sugar! As a rule of thumb sherbets are going to fall higher on the spectrum — about 22 g sugar per scoop.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Small Cup (one 2.5 oz scoop)
190 calories, 9 g fat, 85 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 19 g sugar
Below are full statements from the three chain restaurants:
Statement from Uno’s:
“UNO’s menu items are intended to offer great flavor as well as choice, which is why we provide our guests with a wide variety of tasty as well as nutritious options. We are proud that our dishes are enormously popular with our customers thanks to creative recipes, fresh ingredients and great variety, and we provide 100% nutritional transparency via Nutrition Information Centers in the lobbies of our restaurants and online at unos.com.”
Statement from Baskin-Robbins:
We are committed to offering our guests a wide range of frozen treat choices to fit any lifestyle and dietary preference. Our menu includes a full line of frozen beverages, premium hard scoop ice cream, soft serve, custom ice cream cakes, and better-for-you flavors from our BRight Choices menu. We also offer our guests a wide range of portion sizes, including mini (12 oz) frozen beverages, mini (9 oz) soft serve with mix-ins and 2.5 oz ice cream scoops, so they can choose the best option for their individual lifestyle needs.
Our BRight Choices menu includes a range of delicious options such as fat free, reduced fat, no sugar added and light ice cream, ices and sorbets, as well as frozen yogurt. Some delicious and satisfying flavors from our BRight Choices menu include Premium Churned Reduced Fat, No Sugar Added Pineapple Coconut Ice Cream (100 calories), Premium Churned Light Coffee Cinnamon Bun Ice Cream (140 calories), Fat-Free Vanilla Frozen Yogurt (80 calories) and Daiquiri Ice (80 calories). The BRight Choices menu will continue to be a focus as we strive to offer our guests a wide range of frozen treat options to fit any lifestyle.
Statement from Subway:
At SUBWAY restaurants, we’ve always provided choices to customers starting with the wide array of fresh vegetables they can have on every sandwich or salad. As we continually work to improve all of our offerings, we are equally committed to giving customers great tasting options.
Dave Zinczenko, ABC News Nutrition & Wellness Editor, is a #1 New York Times bestselling author. His latest book, “Eat It to Beat It!” Is full of food swaps, meal plans and the latest food controversies — sign up for his free newsletter.