Here's the danger: Studies have shown that the more temptation people resist, the harder it becomes to continue resisting. That means after hours of being surrounded by tempting sales, special offers, and life-changing, one-time deals, your ability to resist the enticing edibles of the food court may be severely compromised.
And considering the calorie bombs we saw there, a lack of willpower in the presence of mall eateries can be a very dangerous thing. Based on what we saw, here are our nominees for "The Worst Mall Foods", with some eye-popping details from Men’s Health magazine:
"MOST FAT" in a Breakfast
Regular Caramel Pecanbun
56 g fat (10 g saturated, 5 g trans)
141 g carbs
47 g sugars
FAT EQUIVALENT: 8 White Castle Hamburgers
Cinnabon and malls are inseparable. But just because Cinnabon might be good for the Gap doesn't mean it's at all good for you. This dangerously bloated bun -- among these Fattiest Foods in America -- contains nearly an entire day's worth of fat and more than half of your daily allotment of calories. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so for god's sake don't eat this!
"MOST SUGAR" in a Drink
Grape Expectations II (40 oz)
0 g fat (0 g saturated)
266 g carbs
250 g sugars
SUGAR EQUIVALENT: 13 Dunkin' Donuts Chocolate Frosted Donuts
Smoothie King calls this a way to "snack right"; we call it one of the quickest ways to get fat! Even if most of the sugar comes from some form of fruit or fruit juice (in this case, ultra-sweet grape juice), the resulting blood-sugar surge (and inevitable energy crash) from this much sweetness may leave you struggling to find a stranger with some spare insulin you can borrow.
"MOST BAD STUFF" in One Bowl
Au Bon Pain
Large Macaroni and Cheese Stew with Bread Bowl
42 g fat (19 g saturated, 1 g trans)
3,070 mg sodium
157 g carbs
SODIUM EQUIVALENT: 22 small orders of McDonald's French Fries!
Whether it's made from a giant fried tortilla or a massive hunk of sourdough, if your serving vessel is edible, you're asking for trouble. In this case, the bread bowl adds a belly-building 600 calories to what is already one of America's most decadent, over-the-top spoonables. If soup's your thing, you'll have a hard time keeping the sodium down no matter which bowl you order; good, old-fashioned tomato soup is as good as you'll do at Au Bon Pain.
"MOST CALORIES" in a Sandwich
Large Tuna Melt Club with cheese and dressing
147 g fat (27 g saturated, 1.5 g trans)
2,020 mg sodium
85 g carbs
CALORIC EQUIVALENT: 12 Taco Bell Fresco Style Beef Tacos
Tuna off the grill or straight from the can is perfectly healthy; tuna drowning in mayonnaise, blanketed in melted cheese, and slicked with oily dressing is decidedly not. Not only does this sandwich carry with it nearly an entire day's worth of calories and sodium, it also contains as much fat as 49 strips of bacon. In fact, it's so bad that it was recently listed in Men's Health 20 Worst Foods in America for 2009.