Saturday, January 23, 2010
Diet Junk Food by Chris
When traveling down the isles of of the grocery store it is hard not to notice the huge influx of what should be called "diet junk food." Previously diet food meant bland, or barely edible low calorie food. Diet snacks used to mean something akin to a styro-foam textured rice cakes, or a half the flavor and half the calories baked potato chip. Recently the food marketers have discovered that by simply shaving a few calories off of a cookie, or dropping a gram or two of fat out of a rich ice cream treat,
they can label their food as a "healthy alternative" to regular snacks. Apparently the average consumer, anxious to give the appearance of eating right but not wanting to sacrifice anything in doing so, will snap this cleverly marketed junk food right up.
The diet junk food I observed during my recent trip to the grocery store consisted of three categories. The first was the 100 calorie portion size. The second was the deceptively labeled "lean" or "low fat" product. The final one was the just plain disgusting junk, put under a label like "healthy choice."
The hundred calorie portion bag isn't a bad thing at first glance. But it relies on an asset few obese people have. This asset is called "self discipline." If a person has a great deal of self discipline, a "100 calorie" bag of chips is a nice treat during the day. Unfortunately an obese spouse will consume several 100 calorie bags all day long. When someone asks about their consumption of Doritos while on their "diet", they will pipe up, "These are only 100 calorie bags." What these fat people fail to understand is that three one hundred calorie bags of Doritos requires a half hour of intense exercise on an elliptical to work off! Not to mention that a hundred calorie bag of Cheetos is still a 100 empty calories. Oreos are crap whether they come out of a 100 calorie bag or not!
The term "lean" or "low fat" is one of the most abused terms on the shelf. I suspect the FDA has certain regulations on what can be deemed "low fat" and what can not. But unfortunately food manufacturers have seized on this as a way to deceptively mislabel junk food in such a way to make it seem "healthy." Lean is synonymous with "low fat." The food guys have decided that shaving a few grams of fat from a "bad for you product" makes it worthy of the "Lean" nomenclature. One of the most blatant offenders is the Lean Hot Pocket line, made by Nestle. The "lean" "meatballs and mozzarella pocket" will set you back a shocking 290 calories with 7 grams of fat. The label is terribly deceiving. Many consumers read the label and believe that the combined total for BOTH pockets is 290 calories, when in fact this figure
only includes ONE pocket. The typical person who purchases and eats both of these "lean pockets" digests a total of 580 calories with 14 grams of fat. You would get less calories eating a quarter pounder from McDonald's and you would get about the same amount of fat. The name "Lean" has nothing to do with this product. Anyone with common dietary sense can tell this by looking at them on the shelf. However, there is a sizable portion of the consumer public that just wants to feel like they are eating right, your fat spouse is probably one of them. Reading the label and understanding what they are actually eating is secondary.
Another tactic is to produce a label that becomes synonymous with being low calorie or healthy eating then, once the label is established, these food manufacturers start to sell products of questionable nutritional content under this label. One such label is the "Healthy Choice" label from Con Agra. While there frozen meals are arguably a pretty good choice for convenience food, the "Healthy Choice" label couldn't be satisfied with their earned reputation. Instead, recently they have taken to producing a whole line of ice cream, and frozen treats. Granted these items do have a little lower fat and calorie content compared to regular ice cream and frozen snacks. The fact remains that these treats are unnecessary and full non-nutritious calories. Couple this with the fact that the target consumer is someone who has issues with self control, and you have a recipe for gluttony from a container that happens to be labeled "healthy choice." A quick scan of the nutritional information of most ice cream containers will find that the serving size is a mere half a cup. Ask yourself, can you be satisfied with a puny half a cup of ice cream? Then how can we expect someone who is denial, like your fat wife or husband, about the cause of their weight to do the same?
One of the most conspicuous abuses of the diet food nomenclature is the "snackwell" cookie. Where as a typical Oreo has around 70 calories, a devil's food Snackwell cookie contains 50 calories. Whoopee!, it still is a chocolate covered cookie! Once again the target purchaser for this product is someone that already lacks self control. Placing a carton full of empty calorie cookies in front of a fat spouse is in all likelihood just going to alleviate some guilt, regarding eating a whole bunch of empty calories. It will not, however result in any real weight loss. Because of this, the Devil's Food Snackwell cookie earns its' place as the Myfatspouse.com diet junk food champion, for being the most obscene example of a "diet junk food."
Most "fit" spouses in a fat spouse relationship recognize these diet food frauds for what they are. I'm sure that many have shared this websites opinion's of them. For those that feel this way you should be assured that your impressions are correct. Major food manufacturing corporations will continue to find ways to allow the obese to continue to eat what they want, while at the same time making them feel good about it. Denial is a powerful psychological crutch for those with eating issues. Combined with the corporate and advertising forces that are complicit in the obesity problem in America, as a result a fit spouse has quite a task in front of him or her in helping their fat husband or wife overcome their dietary battle.
written by Chris for myfatspouse.com
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