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The Best and Worst Foods a Man Can Eat

We rate 54 common foods, so you always know what's on your plate.

FOOD RATING KEY

A = Eat as often as you like
B = Eat every day, in moderation
C = Eat once a week
D = Limit your intake
F = Public health hazard--be afraid, be very afraid

BREAKFAST

JUICE
In large amounts, your body OD's on the natural and added sugar in juice, storing it as fat instead of burning it as energy (as it would normally when you eat whole fruit). Rating: D

BAGELS
There are two sides to every bagel, and each of them represents one portion. Keep that in mind, and it's OK to indulge your carb cravings. Unless you work out in the morning. In that case, eat both halves to refill depleted energy stores. Rating: B

MARGARINE
It's packed with trans-fatty acids that can raise cholesterol levels. Stick with butter or a trans-fat-free option such as Smart Beat instead. Rating: D

BANANAS
Call it the morning-after fruit: Bananas help to restore the potassium that drunken, dehydrated cells need to fight a hangover. Rating: A

CITRUS FRUITS
Eat oranges and grapefruits, and someday your knees and elbows will thank you. Vitamin C-rich diets appear to lower the risk of some degenerative joint conditions. Rating: A

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EGGS
Research shows you need about 6 grams of essential amino acids before or after your workout to maximize muscle growth. Which is perfect since that's about the amount you'll find in two large eggs. Rating: B

WHEAT GERM
Toss a scoop in yogurt, smoothies, or cereal: Because it's loaded with vitamin E, wheat germ helps to repair the damage to your muscle cells caused by intense exercise, allowing your body to recover faster. Rating: B

BACON
Leave regular bacon to the diner crowd. Pick Canadian instead; it has twice the protein and half the fat. Make the switch and you can bump bacon's grade up to a B. Rating: C

COFFEE
Go ahead, pour yourself a cup. The latest data shows that plain coffee may reduce diabetes risk and enhance power and endurance in well-trained athletes. Rating: B

HIGH FIBER CEREALS
Studies show that guys who eat bran cereal frequently are happier, more alert, and have greater energy levels than guys who don't. Oatmeal is just as powerful, drastically increasing the supply of fuel to working muscles. Rating for both: A

KIDS' CEREALS
Some brands are made up of nearly 45% sugar. If your favorite box has a comic on the back, check the nutrition label stat! If there are 8 g of sugar or fewer per serving, you're fine. Otherwise, it's time to terminate that tiger. Rating: C

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