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© Stas Ofsky
© Stas Ofsky
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This Sneaky New York Trick Could Save You Calories, But It's Controversial

Picture of Alice Johnston
Food Editor
Updated: 29 November 2017
Pizza by the slice. Dense, creamy cheesecake. And bagels stuffed with everything from cream cheese to tomatoes.

New York has a rich culinary heritage, and it’s easy to eat well in the city. Your waistline might say it’s too easy. If you’re looking to cut calories while still enjoying your favourite doughy foods stuffed with fillings, we have the answer – but you might not like it.

It’s called scooping your bagel, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. When ordering a bagel at your favourite deli, you can ask them to tear the bready innards out of your bagel, leaving only the shell behind.

This does save calories, and it leaves more space for filling if you haven’t yet learned to unhinge your jaw like a python (mental note: learn to do this). If you prefer extra cream cheese and whitefish to doughy insides, it’s a win all round.

It is wasteful, however, as those scoopings go directly into the bin. In a city where there are hungry people on the streets and food banks distribute food to 1.5 million New Yorkers a year, that could be difficult to swallow.

Some have argued that by scooping, you are literally throwing away NYC’s culinary heritage, and it’s true that you might see a few raised eyebrows if you order your bagel scooped. The city does run on dollar pizza slices and bagels, after all, and there’s a rich cultural history behind the chewy foodstuff.

There’s even been a book called Should I Scoop Out My Bagel by dietitian Ilyse Schapiro and Hallie Rich. They claim that ‘scooping a bagel won’t leave you missing anything important, but it will help you cut excess calories and carbs’.

When you think about it, the scooped-out part isn’t even that good. You still get the chewy, flavoursome dough, you just don’t have to chew through a brick-sized wedge of it.

Experts say that the number of calories saved is minimal. ‘You’re saving maximum 75 calories by scooping it out,’ says nutritionist Marissa Lippert. That’s around the number of calories in an apple.

It comes down to personal preference. America is a land where you can buy a rainbow bagel covered with sprinkles, deep-fried butter and pizzas can be 1.3 miles long. In the land of opportunity, where anything goes, order your bagel scooped if you want to, and no-one is going to stop you.