When it comes to your diet, nutritionists never say "never." "We don't talk anymore about foods that you can't eat," says Susan Kleiner, Ph.D., FitClick.com expert and a nutrition consultant to the NBA's Seattle SuperSonics. "You have to learn how to include everything in your diet with balance and moderation." In other words, staying active and eating an otherwise healthy diet will allow you to enjoy the occasional Ho Ho without getting arrested by the food police. We asked nutrition experts to name the "consume with caution" foods and give tips on how to enjoy them responsibly. Search the list below to find out if your particular weakness comes with a restraining order.
1. Fried foods
(french fries, chicken-fried steak, egg rolls)
They're superhigh in saturated fat, a first-class artery clogger. Frying also adds a ton of calories without adding any nutrients, says Kleiner. Rule to eat by: Try to limit your saturated fat intake to no more than 10 percent of your total calories.
2. "Fake" foods
(anything with Olestra in it, loads of sugar in place of fat)
"If you live an active lifestyle and you are eating a balanced diet, then you can indulge in the real thing on occasion," says Kleiner. Also, keep in mind that nonfat or low-fat doesn't mean non-caloric, says Ellen Coleman, R.D., at the Sport Clinic in Riverside, California. "It's not a license to overeat." Rule to eat by: Instead of devouring the whole cake or entire bag of chips, eat one serving (a slice, 10 to 20 chips) and save the rest for later.
3. Artificially sweetened products
(diet sodas, low-calorie yogurt)
"People think diet sodas are the be-all and end-all," says Keith Ayoob, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. It's okay to have them, says Ayoob, "but when you use them to replace other, more nutritional drinks, like milk, that's a concern." Rule to eat by: Again, if you're active, there's no need to avoid sugar, just eat it in moderation, adds Kleiner. Give yourself one sweet treat a day; ditto for artificially sweetened foods.
4. Palm and coconut oils, shortening
These oils are the worst kind of saturated fat and shortening is a trans fat, the bottom of the fat barrel. Rule to eat by: Again, they should make up no more than 10 percent of your daily fat intake. At the very least, replace them with heart-healthy olive or vegetable oils instead.
5. Gooey, sticky candy (think caramels, taffy)
Anyone who's ever gotten his teeth stuck in one of these knows they're bad for your pearly whites. "People suffer from terrible dental problems as a result of sucking on these all day long," says Kleiner. Rule to eat by: Brush your teeth—and let your dental bill be your guide.