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10 Worst Foods To Eat While You Drive

From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource

Well, I bet you didn't know that eating and driving puts you at an increased risk of an accident. It's true. In fact, one study calls driving while dining a worse offense than cruising and chatting on your cell phone.

Living life in the fast lane forces a lot of us to cut corners. And what better way to kill two birds with one stone than to have your cake and eat it too while you drive to or from work? The few precious moments you save may eventually cost you a lot more, according to researchers. These road worriers warn that the life you save may be your own.

That being said, it's time to look at the worst offenders. No, I am not talking about Joe Jones, who can balance a Big Mac and a large drink while zooming down the interstate at 90 miles an hour. I am talking about the top 10 worst foods you should never eat while you drive.

NOTE: The info I am about to share comes from a report compiled by Hagerty Classic Insurance of Traverse City, Michigan. By listing the 10 worst foods, I am by no means approving the eating of all other foods while you got one foot on the gas and one hand -- or worse yet, one knee -- on the steering wheel. Eating and driving is one "crash diet" we should all avoid.

While compiling stats on accidents caused by driver distraction, bean counters at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) discovered eating was a bigger distraction than using a hand-held cell phone. According to NHTSA, 26 percent of all traffic fatalities among America's 185,500,000 licensed drivers are caused by driver distraction. The revelation led to the development of Hagerty's list of the "10 Most Dangerous Foods To Eat While Driving." Hagerty's researchers then rated common foods eaten in cars according to the degree of distraction, degree of difficulty in eating with only one hand on the wheel, and the food's popularity. They ranked the top 10 foods from bad to worst:

10. Chocolate! Whatever you touch -- steering wheels, gear shift, clothing, hair -- will get stained. Drivers' instinctive reactions are to clean up immediately and that distracts them from the road ahead.

9. Soft Drinks! Suddenly soaking up your soda as you pull out to pass could be a deadly distraction. Open containers of hot or cold liquids can cause a lack of concentration when spilled across a shirt or lap.

8. Jelly or Cream-Filled Donuts! Imagine the disaster as messy jelly oozes onto a driver's shirt or lap.

7. Fried Chicken! Greasy hands are a major distraction. And grease on a steering wheel is almost impossible to get off.

6. Barbecued Food: Always keep in mind, "If it can drip, don't eat it while you drive!"

5. Juicy Burgers! A $5 hamburger deluxe could turn into $500 worth of repairs if dripping condiments, special sauces or greasy meat juices distract the driver.

4. Chili! Steering chili-covered foods to your mouth while steering a car around a corner requires more dexterity than many of us are blessed with.

3. Tacos! It's tough enough to cleanly eat a crispy shelled taco at home. One good road bump and the seat of your car will look like a salad bar.

2. Hot Soups! Eating soup while trying to shift and steer can land you in hot water quick. It's the equivalent of a circus juggling act.

1. Coffee! Uncovered drinks are the worst offenders for distracting splashes and spills. Hot coffee is often served at lava-like temperatures. If it burns your mouth, you can imagine how badly it will feel as it rains down in your lap.

Additional food for thought:

  • More food-related accidents happen in the morning. Why? Mainly because people are concerned about their appearance on the way to work.

  • The odds of having a food-related accident doubles if the car, truck or SUV has a stick shift.

  • The most hazardous situation: a combo of eating and gabbing on your cell phone.

    YOUR FEEDBACK

    I am not a registered eDiets user but I get your Worst Foods Newsletter. Here is a "mental vision" aid that was brought about by my 10-year-old daughter's recent science project. She did an analysis of fat and sugar content in a few junk food items. In order to get the point across we made a visual aid to display with her data. Using Crisco shortening and granulated sugar to represent the fat and sugar content in the foods and by using the nutrition info labels we calculated the following:

    1 Tablespoon of shortening = 12 Grams of fat
    1 Teaspoon of sugar = 4 Grams of sugar

    So for example, eating 1 serving (1/2 cup) of B & J's Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream is just like eating 1 1/2 Tbsp. of shortening and 22 1/2 tsp. (or just under 1/2 cup!) of sugar. But who only eats 1/4 of a pint in a sitting??? I usually eat what equals 2 servings!!!

    When you put it into shortening and sugar terms, it doesn't seem so appealing (but it TASTES soooo good!).

    Now when I read the nutrition labels I have my "mental picture" of shortening and sugar and I can better decide if something is worth eating. We accidentally turned my hubby off of his favorite snack food (potato chips) when we did a visual for him of 1 serving: A mere 17 chips contain 1 TABLESPOON of shortening!!! Now will you eat just one???

    I hope I didn't ruin your lunch. :)
    Lisa Hillborn

    I don't understand why anyone would buy packaged food when it is obvious that the sodium content will cause your veins to burst. I work fulltime, have outside activities and still manage to cook from scratch everyday. Meals never take more than 10 minutes to prep and they are well balanced and nutritional. I can generally put dinner on the table half an hour after I have started. No my family doesn't get plain meals. Hamburger is not a staple in my house except for those rare occasions when we really want an old fashion hamburger. It just makes more sense to buy fresh veggies, meats, fish and poultry and have a nice meal.
    Mary Helen Reichardt

    I wanted to mention something about the effect of "Big Foods" in American culture. When I was a boy, standard operating procedure at the dinner table was "clean your plate." It was required that I eat everything placed in front of me. My question is this: What the %@H#*& were our parents thinking? That attitude is so ingrained in me now I unconsciously will pick at my plate even when I'm full, and usually until it's gone. Therefore, the bigger the meal, the more I'm eating. And the more I'm eating, the heavier I'm getting. And the heavier I'm getting, the more I want to eat. And thus the vicious circle continues. As a result, I've struggled with my weight all of my life. My advice to parents: If your kid says he's full, then HE'S FULL! If you're worried about waste, then set the leftovers aside and if he asks for a snack let him finish them. Don't use leftovers as some sort of bizarre punishment and don't EVER mention the poor starving children of Uzbekistan!
    Matt Y.

    I worked this little diner in upstate New York. After awhile you knew all of the customers well enough to just yell out back to the cook and say the person's name, and wouldn't ya know we were always right about what they were going to eat... except this one man who we joked about behind his back. We called him Hannibal Lector because he liked all his meat raw. We are talking flip once on the grill and then he would eat it. Sometimes it would be as simple as a double cheeseburger but I have say when he ordered liver and onions I would about faint from that bloody piece of meat with blood dripping slowly. The owner would have him sign a slip of paper saying that he would not sue him.
    Sharon

    I worked at a pizza place in St. Mathew's, Kentucky. It was known as the home of the "Ten Pound Pizza." No one really ordered it until there was a coupon given out for it ($29.99 plus tax). It started out as an 18-ounce piece of dough rolled out to a circle 17 inches in diameter. Then tomato sauce and garlic salt are spread onto it. Followed by a layer of sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, green pepper, onion, green and black olives, hamburger, a layer of cheese (to hold the toppings on the pizza), pork link sausage, Italian sausage, ham, banana peppers, bacon, roast beef, and finally cheese that had to be packed on. It was put through the conveyor oven once, then it had to be placed on three pans (to keep the crust from burning) in an industrial oven for 15-20 minutes.
    Laura Lane

    I just love reading Mr. Bad food articles. It's too bad some people can't see the humor in the articles and have to send negative emails about what they read. No one is telling you to eat a five-patty hamburger just because you read about it. Grow up!! Laugh with the rest of us! Keep up the good work Mr. Bad Food!!
    Alva

    Chicken wings are NOT "dark meat" as you claim. They are white meat and an extension of the white-meat breast of chicken. Their fat calories come from the fact that they have little meat and are mostly skin (the tastiest part of the chicken). The skin has an undercoating of fat. The usual wings are deep-fried, adding to the fat. What they are fried in should be of concern. Wings can also be baked, melting out their inherent fat, and adding no more fat in the process. Yet the same crispy taste. I have been an RN for nearly 30 years. My husband was just diagnosed with diabetes. I have educated myself, in order to help him.
    Diana

    I think a recent article may have been mistaken about a small detail. Chicken wings are actually white meat. It is turkey wings that are considered dark meat. My parents have owned a KFC for almost 30 years and that is what we always thought to be true. When one orders a dinner of dark meat, there are never any wings in it. Love your articles!
    Emily Diehl

    Hey, John, here's a great low-fat version of nachos. I take a can of fat free refried beans with Jalapenos and dice some onion into it. I put all of it in a heavy fry pan and heat on top of the stove. I sprinkle some low-fat Mexican cheese on top and heat further until the cheese melts. I put out a side of fat free sour cream and some salsa (my husband also likes extra Jalapeno chips). Use the low-fat baked tortilla chips to dip and this make a wonderful munchie. Just put the pan out on a hot pad and let everyone dip and add sides to the chips. Of course, if you eat the whole thing by yourself... but, if you have several people munching, it's got to be better for you than the restaurant servings.
    Marty

    I really love your column. The jokes you sometimes put at the end are some of the funniest I get. I also think the Worst of the Worst is enjoyable. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who indulges in awful stuff every now and then. You also have so many good points and ideas. Thanks again!
    Laura

    I just wanted to say thank you for including non-animal food choices as healthy alternatives. Tofu dogs, Boca anything, and mushroom burgers all taste so fabulous, and they're cruelty-free (not to mention leagues better for the human body)! Kudos to you and your e-zines.
    Shawn Vougeot

    John! I love your articles. They're funny and great. Your recipes are wonderful. But I'm sorry... you're letting us down here! OK, if you like Budweiser, but you may as well be lapping out of the sink as to drink Bud Light! The reason Bud made you cringe is because you have good taste. So, quit fooling yourself! Don't even bother with Bud. Drink REAL beer. I can guarantee it, you'll drink less and it'll taste better. A good lager doesn't have enough more calories than Bud or Bud Light (known around here as "Blight") to make it worth lowering yourself to drinking such weak and watery stuff. I can hardly believe a smart, funny and good eatin' type of guy like yourself would try to tell the rest of us to drink...light beer! Pardon me, I need to go off and revive myself with a quick bike ride and a glass of amber ale. Your faithful reader and fellow sports fan,
    Ms. G

    OK, to tell this story I have to admit going to McDonald's, but I just have to know if this is a local thing or nationwide. Friday night is McDonald's treat night for my son, and he always gets a #5, Chicken Nuggets with fries and Coke. In the last two weeks, the order taker has asked, "Is that large or super-size?" WOW, what a sales ploy. You have to be on the ball to realize NO, you want the medium (the choice not mentioned). I have to admit I got caught the first week, just answered large, then smacked my forehead in dismay when I realized I'd been caught. Has anyone else emailed you about this? I generally only frequent one McD's location so I haven't had a chance to test this out. Love your column, and I know people complain about the horrible foods people eat around the country, but I find it quite entertaining. I also appreciate the nutrition info and alternative healthy foods suggested. Keep up the good work!
    Sally Kennedy

    MISCELLANEOUS MEANDERINGS

    I don't know about you, but over the past few days I have been slammed with email offers for one "miracle" diet after another. Folks, by now I hope you know: if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. For weight loss that lasts, you need a healthy diet that'll make you drop 1-2 pounds PER WEEK. Yes, I am referring to the time-proven eDiets program.

    OK, back to these wild offers. I hope none of you fell for these come-ons:

    82% Improvement in Body Fat Loss in 10 Weeks!

    The email proclaims: As seen on NBC, CBS, and CNN, and even Oprah! The health discovery that actually reverses aging while burning fat, without dieting or exercise! This proven discovery has even been reported on by the New England Journal of Medicine. Forget aging and dieting forever! And it's Guaranteed!

    Yes folks this particular product appears to be a cure-all. The marketing hype claims it will...

  • Reduce body fat and build lean muscle WITHOUT EXERCISE!
  • Enhance sexual performance
  • Remove wrinkles and cellulite
  • Lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol profile
  • Improve sleep, vision and memory
  • Restore hair color and growth
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Increase energy and cardiac output
  • Turn back your body's biological time clock 10-20 years in 6 months of usage !!!

    (heavy sigh)... The FTC warns us about such wild claims. In fact, eDiets recently ran a piece on what you should be on the lookout for. To check out that eye-opening article, simply click here for Beware The 8 Biggest Weight Loss Scams.

    A few other email ad gems...

    NO PAINFUL DIETING OR EXERCISE!
    ALL NATURAL & NO SIDE EFFECTS!

    This product promises to:

  • Boost Metabolism
  • Lower Cholesterol
  • Stabilize Blood Sugar
  • Fight Osteoporosis
  • Aid Digestion
  • Increase Energy & Vitality
  • Relieve Arthritis
  • Detoxify The Body
  • Regulate Blood Pressure
  • Promote Anti-Aging
  • Combat Infection
  • Prevent Prostate Problems

    What... no cure for cancer or AIDS, too?

    Seriously, please don't fall for these get-thin-quick schemes. Sure, some of the crazy plans do work... for the short term. The bottom line is a person cannot sustain fast weight loss. It's called yo-yo dieting and it refers to the fact you lose weight, then you gain it back... and then some. It also refers to the fact we are yo-yos if we believe we can effectively lose weight with a miracle do-all diet.

    IN MEMORIAM

    In response to last week's special tribute to the crew of the space shuttle Columbia, reader Kirk Clark contributed the following note and poem:

    Living in the Clear Lake/NASA area intensifies anything others may feel to a hightened state. After living next door to an astronaut, the sense of grief is overpowering. Yesterday, the Bush motorcade drove by less than a block away -- it was all too real.

    As a writer and poet, as you have done, one tends to try to capture the essence that most feel, and as I tried painfully but proudly to do, in "THE SEVEN." See if you agree.

    The Seven

    Look! The dawn of a crystalline day.
    Proud we are as angels pass our way.
    Fifteen minutes until their deed is done.
    Fifteen minutes until again as one.

    But tragedy struck in Titanic ways,
    As the streak of light became shattered rays.
    Around the world came muffled cries
    With hearts so torn under darkening skies.

    The Seven were part of the chosen few,
    Borne with wings of gold and hearts so true.
    With hope we held back the painful tears,
    The silent reply confirmed terrible fears.

    "O this cannot be!" rang far and wide,
    Strength we found huddling side by side.
    For alone our thoughts stagger wills own might.
    Together we brave against the Seven's dark plight.

    "Onward!" came the cry which became louder still,
    As we raised up our souls through glorious will.
    Teeth clenched in passion with furious love,
    Committed to the vision in the skies above.

    The twinkling stars shall I watch tonight,
    Yes tears shall fall for the Seven's plight.
    With sadness not, do I kneeling pray,
    But for the glow of courage to light our way.

    We cannot forsee through times coarse sand,
    Or wrest destiny thus from fates own hand.
    Yet believe we must that in twilights faint gleam,
    The Seven live on as we pursue the dream.

    Until next week, the fridge door is closed. But if you have any questions and/or comments -- or even a poem or a tasteful joke to share -- feel free to write me, eDiets editor-in-chief John McGran, at john@ediets.com.

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