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    Archive for the ‘Say What’ Category

    Say What?: Who Green-lighted This?

    dulcolaxEarlier today, I relaxed on the couch and enjoyed an episode of Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares.

    Don’t you love that show?  Those producers do a marvelous job of mixing humor and repulsiveness.

    During the second commercial break, an advertisement for a product named Dulcolax popped up.

    It was rather vague, claiming that while water is helpful for constipation, it sometimes “doesn’t get where it needs to”, which is why Dulcolax is a better choice.

    Utterly confused — and with red flags in mind — I Googled the product (which, I’m sure, is exactly what its makers want).

    Here are some “are you kidding me?” snippets from the website:

    • “Water alone may not be enough [to treat constipation] because you can’t be sure that the water you drink will go directly to the colon.”
    • “Dulcolax works with the water.”
    • “Dulcolax makes water work harder to help restore balance gently.”

    Looks like someone completely tossed basic human physiology out the window!

    For whatever reason, both the television advertisement and the product’s webpage leave out a vital piece of information — Dulcolax simply contains a popular laxative known as polyethylene glycol 3350.

    It’s not that Dulcolax contains some secret magic spell that makes water work harder; it’s nothing more than a laxative in powder form that you add to liquids!

    The notion that water is not enough to help with constipation is silly; one of the most effective ways to treat that condition is to consume more fiber and water.

    Truth is, the vast majority of individuals with constipation do not need laxatives.  All they require is additional fiber in their diet, which is not a difficult task:

    • Apple (medium, with skin): 3.5 grams
    • Almonds (23 pieces): 3.4 grams
    • Avocado (medium, one half): 6.5 grams
    • Banana (medium): 3 grams
    • Barley (1/2 cup, cooked): 3 grams
    • Black beans (1/2 cup): 7 grams
    • Broccoli (1/2 cup, cooked): 3 grams
    • Chickpeas (1/2 cup): 5 grams
    • Ground flaxseed (2 tablespoons): 4 grams
    • Lentils (1/2 cup): 8 grams
    • Medjool dates (2 pieces): 3 grams
    • Nutritional yeast (2 tablespoons): 4 grams
    • Oatmeal (1 cup, cooked): 4 grams
    • Potato (medium, with skin): 4 grams
    • Raspberries (1/2 cup): 4 grams
    • Sunflower seeds (1/4 cup): 3 grams
    • Sweet potato (medium, with skin): 4 grams
    • Tempeh (4 ounces/half package of Lightlife brand): 8 grams
    • Whole wheat pasta (1 cup, cooked): 4 grams
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    Say What?: Wait, I Thought This Magazine Had The Word “Health” In the Title…

    scoopsMany thanks to Small Bites reader Corey Clark who saw this article on the Men’s Health website and notified me of a few bits of information that didn’t quite add up.

    In his e-mail Corey asked me to read the article and claimed that “it seems okay until tip number 8, but then it gets ridiculous.”

    Does it ever!

    The article — titled “10 Surprising Hydrators” — is based on the recommendations of a Registered Dietitian and promises to unveil ten “alternative ways to hydrate… with fluid-filled foods.”

    In fact, the article goes on to claim that if you consume these foods, “you could, theoretically, never drink a drop of plain ol’ water again.”

    Ooookay.

    The piece starts out with the standards: skim milk, watermelon, salad greens.

    Then it goes downhill drives off a cliff before exploding into a fireball of nonsense.

    I am still trying to wrap my head around the last three suggestions:

    “#8 (Soda): Yep, you read that right.  [Registered Dietitian Nancy] Clark says that caffeine, sugar, and water combo can make [for] a great post-exercise slug if it’s your beverage of choice.  It doesn’t make a difference if you crack open a diet or a regular.  But add some salty pretzels or a brat to help your body  hold on to the fluid.”

    If I were a cartoon character, you would see my eyes bulge out, my entire face turn red, and then steam come out of both my ears.

    Soda and a bratwurst following a workout?  Did the writers from The Onion hack the Men’s Health website?

    If the intent is to get readers to consume caffeine, sugar, and water after a workout, how about suggesting something that doesn’t leach calcium from bones.  Perhaps an iced unsweetened latte?

    “#9 (Ice Cream): Stop and get yourself a post-workout cup of Phish Food on your way home from the gym.  Ideally, you’ll choose the light version, but in a moment of weakness, you’ll still be hydrating with that frozen fluid.  We’ll take Ben & Jerry’s over a bottle of Dasani any day.”

    You know that feeling you get when you see Kate and Jon (of “Plus 8” fame) on every magazine cover and television show?  That feeling of  “what sort of messed up parallel universe do I live in?”  That’s pretty much the feeling I got after I read that paragraph.

    By the way, that cup of Phish Food adds up to:

    • 560 calories
    • 90% of a day’s worth of saturated fat
    • 9 teaspoons of added sugar

    “# 10 (Beer): Ok, sort of.  The general consensus among trusted nutritionists is that beer is a dehydrator, not a hydrator.  However, Clark says that a Beer Shandy — one part lager to one part lemonade or Sprite — is OK.”

    Let me get this straight.  Beer is a dehydrator, so therefore it is okay to drink after a workout as long as it is mixed with another fluid?

    I am still in shock that a health magazine would encourage readers to consume soda and ice cream after engaging in physical activity.

    That’s akin to me suggesting chocolate ice cream with almonds as a way to get calcium and vitamin E, or a double cheeseburger as a good source of protein.

    I would like to think this is an example of a sloppy reporter completely taking a professional’s advice out of context.

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    Say What?: Great, Now Elizabeth Hasselbeck Throws Her Hat In The Ring

    g_free_diet_coverFormer Survivor contestant — and perpetually-exasperated panelist on the shark-jumped The View — Elizabeth Hasselbeck has been making the talk show rounds to promote her latest “diet book”, The G Free Diet.

    The book focuses on gluten, the protein in wheat that causes weakened immune function, fatigue, and horribly painful gastrointestinal symptoms to those with celiac disease, an autoimmune condition Hasselbeck herself developed several years back.

    While I always applaud efforts to raise awareness on celiac disease — as it is so grossly underdiagnosed — I was horrified to read this excerpt from a recent article penned by Ms. Hasselbeck:

    “…a gluten-free lifestyle can help countless others as well. People suffering from a wide range of diseases—from autism to osteoporosis, from diabetes to rheumatoid arthritis—can often benefit from this change in diet. Even people with no health issues have a great deal to gain by giving up gluten. The G-free diet can help with weight management. It can elevate your energy levels, improve your attention span, and speed up your digestion.”

    (Insert eyeroll here).  Give me a break!  Can you say “please buy this book, even if the subject matter has nothing to do with you!”?

    Giving up gluten can improve attention span?  How?  And, exactly what health problems can arise if someone who can digest gluten consumes it?

    While there is some interesting research pointing to gluten-free diets as viable nutrition therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder, that is very different from stating that going gluten-free helps the general population with their attention span!

    Not surprisingly, Ms. Hasselbeck is spouting nutritional non-sense.

    There is absolutely no reason to believe that people who can tolerate gluten are able to reduce osteoporosis or arthritis risk by shunning it from the diet.

    What I think Ms. Hasselbeck is trying to convey is that it is possible to feel sick after eating wheat products even if one does not have celiac disease (but instead has a wheat allergy or gluten sensitivity).

    One problem with sweeping statements like “going gluten-free can help prevent osteoporosis” is that it does not take into account the simple fact that people with such conditions also have undiagnosed celiac disease, hence the immense difference they feel once the wheat protein is gone from their diets.

    Of course, since they were never officially diagnosed as having celiac disease, they instead think wheat is a disease-producing food for the general public.

    As for the “going gluten-free is good for weight management” claim — I have absolutely no clue where she pulled that from.  Seems to me she is her publishers are simply trying to market the book to non-celiacs in the hopes of getting a few more ka-chings.

    Hasselbeck claims going gluten-free can result in a “healthier, longer life.”  Funny, I’ve also heard that about abstaining from The View.

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    Say What?: Define “Well”

    036200002506Ragu’s latest advertising campaign, titled “The Taste of America”, praises Michelle Obama’s advocacy efforts towards healthier eating and home vegetable gardens.

    The two-page spread features an advertisement for a new flavor of their Old World Style sauces and reminds parents that a half cup of this pasta sauce offers a full serving of vegetables.  “Feed our kids well” is the emphasized slogan.

    The advertisement also offers a supposedly healthy “American classic” recipe, which bares the “feed our kids well” tagline.

    The version I came across in this week’s Time Magazine shares the recipe for Upside Down Deep Dish Pizza.

    A quick glance at the ingredients — ground beef, jarred pasta sauce, full-fat cheese, and refrigerated refined pizza dough — and the amounts used did not jive with the idea of feeding children well.

    Alas, I crunched some numbers and here is what this particular recipe offers per serving:

    • 857 calories
    • 15.8 grams saturated fat (80% of a day’s worth)
    • 2,404.5 milligrams sodium (100% of a day’s worth)

    No wonder the recipe’s nutrition information is MIA!

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    Say What?: Pasta… in a Bread Bowl?

    Behold the latest creation from Domino’s Pizza — penne pasta entrees… served in a bread bowl!

    As a matter of fact, the chain claims their “pasta is so good, you’ll devour the bowl.”

    Not too surprisingly, calorie information is yet to be posted, and the four calls I made to their corporate headquarters proved unsuccessful.

    It doesn’t take many brain cells, though, to figure out that items like chicken carbonara, Italian sausage marinara, chicken alfredo, pasta primavera, and three cheese mac-n-cheese nestled inside a thick round piece of bread are far from “light” options.

    I’m willing to bet we are dealing with 4-figure calorie values. As soon as the reveal occurs, I will post it on Small Bites.

    In the meantime, I’ll meditate and see if I can come up with the answer to: “What higher-up at Domino’s passionately believes Americans are clamoring for pasta in a bread bowl?”

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    Shame On You/Say What?: Intruder Alert!

    A reader by the name of Rachelle recently left a comment on this blog notifying me about author John Gray’s foray into nutrition.

    If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Mr. Gray is the author of the “let’s make cultural norms seem like biological qualities” pop-psychology book Men Are From Mars, Women are From Venus.

    Despite a lack of nutrition credentials, Mr. Gray now considers himself knowledgeable enough to dole out nutrition advice. Oh, joy.

    Perhaps it is the “PhD” after his name that gave him this confidence, although that credential has been severely questioned.

    In any case, Mr. Gray offers nutritional cleanses retreats (red flag, anyone?) and hawks — are you ready for it? — Mars & Venus shakes.

    According to Mr. Gray, these shakes offer the “ideal balance of nutrients” for men and women. Don’t you love vague pseudo-science catch phrases?

    You do? Great, because here’s another one: “the shakes are designed to assist the brain in functioning in a more balanced and harmonious manner.”

    Mr. Gray also claims these shakes get you to your ideal weight. If you need to lose, you will lose. If you need to gain weight, you will gain. I would love to see the randomized double-blind control trials that confirm this (because I’m so sure he conducted them.)

    Despite having the exact same ingredients in different amounts, Mr. Gray claims the Mars shake produces more dopamine in the brain, while the Venus shake produces more serotonin.

    Huh? Both shakes contain a protein powder. Protein-rich foods cause a surge of dopamine. So, how then, does the Venus shake differ?

    If you’re looking to lose weight, Mr. Gray has you covered!

    All you have to do is buy his shake powder (of course!) and have it as your breakfast and dinner.

    For lunch, you can eat a salad “with as many raw vegetables and avocado as you wish” as well as some form of protein, all topped with olive oil and either lemon juice or vinegar.

    Although Mr. Gray claims the “effortless weight loss” (15 pounds a week, he claims!) is due to the magic ingredients in his shake, it’s clear that the “magic” is simple caloric deprivation.

    How can you NOT lose weight if your only solid meal of the day is a salad and your other two meals each consist of one scoop of powder and eight ounces of water?

    Despite all the fantastic claims, the small print at the bottom of his website reads “John Gray’s Mars & Venus LLC does NOT guarantee weight loss.”

    Hmmmm… interesting how he never mentions that in his breathless infomercials where he mentions how “life changing” his shakes have been!

    Now we come to my favorite part — the head-scratching nutrition-related statements:

    * The weight loss cleanse prohibits the intake of any dairy, yet the shakes — which are a significant part of the cleanse — contain whey protein!

    Newsflash, Mr. Gray, whey protein is a dairy protein!

    * Mr. Gray on Omega-3’s: “A couple of tablespoons of flaxseed [have as many Omega-3’s] as a meal of salmon.”

    Firstly, how big is a “meal of salmon”?

    Additionally, can you say “back to Nutrition 101 for you”? The Omega 3’s in flaxseed consist of alpha linolenic acid, whereas salmon offers Docosahexaonoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

    It is not an equal comparison!

    * Mr. Gray hates soy, mainly due to its phytate content, which blocks mineral absorption.

    Had he bothered to research the topic, he would have realized that although phytates interfere with the absorption of some minerals, they also offer a variety of well-documented health benefits.

    Tannins in coffee and tea interfere with iron absorption, but that doesn’t mean coffee and tea are “bad” beverages.

    * Mr. Gray refers to a food that contains a certain amount of cholesterol as one that provides “3% of the daily requirement.”

    Wrong again! There is no daily requirement for cholesterol; it is not an essential nutrient. The 300 milligram figure is considered a “limit,” not a requirement.

    * Mr. Gray claims coconut is the only food that contains lauric acid.

    Not so! Goat’s milk, cow’s milk, and palm kernel oil also contain the fatty acid.

    These examples merely scratch the non-sense surface.

    As I said in an earlier post — enough is enough! The last thing anyone needs is more inaccurate nutrition advice from individuals who don’t possess even the most basic knowledge!

    This Earthling is not amused.

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    Say What?: I Think I May Be Speechless!

    Let’s wrap up this three-day weekend with a chuckle and a big “Huh????”.

    I think you’ll get a kick out of this; I sure did!

    There is a man by the name of Wiley Brooks who runs the Breatharian Institute of America.

    In case you are not familiar with the concept, breatharians do not believe foods and liquids are necessary for human survival.

    They — the handful of them that exist around the world — claim to simply live off of air and sunlight.

    I know. Just stick with me for a minute– this gets really good, I promise.

    For the mere cost of $10,000,000 (yes, all those zeros belong there), Mr. Brooks will take you on a five-day spiritual journey to Southern Utah and teach you the secrets to living the rest of your life without a bite of food or drop of liquids.

    According to Mr. Brooks, this not only makes you healty and strong — it also heightens your productivity. In his mind, the more you eat, the more you sleep (as a result of being breatharian, he claims to sleep just one hour a day and never feel tired.)

    There is also some overly vague and convoluted promise of leaving the third dimension behind and entering a fifth one.

    The kicker? Prior to taking on your breatharian lifestyle, Mr. Brooks needs you to meditate and subsist on nothing but McDonald’s Quarter Pounders and Diet Coke (something about these foods having the perfect harmonic convergence)!

    If you’re in need of some laughter, you can view his overly detailed instructions here.

    Believe it or not, Mr. Wiley had his share of followers in the 1980s.

    Oh, and this is his retort to skeptics: “if food is good for you, why does the body excrete it?”

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    Say What?: JELL-O With Antioxidants

    Behold JELL-O’s latest creation: sugar-free, vitamin fortified gelatin snack packs.

    Relying on trendy fruit flavors (raspberry-goji berry and strawberry-acai berry), this new product contains 10% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance of two antioxidants: vitamin A and vitamin E.

    Since these two vitamins are simply tacked on (and not naturally contained in an ingredient), you might as well be eating regular JELL-O and chasing it down with a multivitamin.

    More importantly, vitamin A and vitamin E are fat-soluble, meaning they need to be consumed with some fat in order to be absorbed in the small intestine.

    Their presence in a fat-free product like Jell-O completely boggles my mind.

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    Say What?: Sweet (In)justice

    Although Top Chef is one of my favorite competition-based reality shows, the two previous seasons have led to blog postings in which I express my frustration at the contestants’ and producers’ misunderstanding of basic nutrition concepts.

    This current season is no exception.

    This week’s “quickfire challenge” — a 45 minute challenge that grants the winning contestant immunity at the episode’s elimination ceremony — consisted of making a sugar-free dessert.

    Before introducing the challenge, host Padma Lakshmi showed the contestants a cart loaded with the various sugars found in the Top Chef pantry — white, raw, confectioners’, brown, etc. — which she wheeled out of the kitchen once the challenge began.

    “This will be interesting to watch!” I thought.

    Well, the first red flag went up when the concept of sugar-free desserts was referenced in the context of producing healthy, low-calorie options.

    Really? Because, often times, sugar-free varieties of cakes and pies use higher quantities of fat — mainly saturated — to make up for lost texture and taste.

    Consequently, it is not at all odd to find that a slice of sugar-free cake has just as many calories — if not more! — as the traditional version.

    Although “sugar-free” can sometimes be healthier and lower-calorie (i.e.: quick-cooking plain oatmeal is a healthier, lower-calorie alternative to pre-sweetened varieties,) you should never automatically make that connection in your head.

    Then, once the challenge was underway, I saw contestants using honey and agave. Oy.

    Apparently in Top Chef land, the word “sugar” is taken very literally — it only refers to a granulated sweetener that comes in large bags.

    Honey and agave are forms of sugar.

    Yes, it usually takes less agave to match the same level of sweetness of a certain amount of sugar, but a dessert made with agave or honey is NOT sugar-free!

    One contestant even used a chocolate coin in her dish. I immediately thought she would be disqualified, since any chocolate product contains sugar. Alas, the judging panel didn’t seem to have a problem with that.

    Top Chef execs: how about consulting with a Registered Dietitian when creating rules for nutrition-related challenges?

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    FNCE 2008/Say What?: The Sweet Stuff Hits A Sour Note

    In a perfect example of “reaching,” The Sugar Association’s booth at the 2008 American Dietetic Association Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo offered a variety of pamphlets, including one titled “Sugar’s Healing Powers.”

    “There is no doubt that ‘sugar’ tastes good and, therefore in our guilt-ridden society, it is commonly assumed that ‘sugar must not be good for us,” the awkwardly written information sheet begins.

    “Nothing could be further from the truth — sugar is one of Mother Nature’s most miraculous creations,” it continues.

    The argument here is that as far back as 1700 BC, sugar has been used to treat wounds.

    The document quotes three studies — all concluding that sugar exerts antibacterial effects on wounds and promotes faster healing.

    Technically true, but how is that relevant in a society where the problem is the massive amounts of sugar people are putting down their throats?

    Furthermore, what is the purpose of mentioning sugar’s wound healing properties in hospital settings at a nutrition conference?

    In another bizarre move, The Sugar Association provided some recipes (with the comma-less grammatically incorrect title “a little sugar can make healthy nutritious foods taste better”) that left me perplexed.

    Here is a perfect example — adding sugar to a breakfast shake made of orange juice concentrate, milk, and a banana. Huh??

    I am by no means a “sugar is the devil” advocate, but suggesting the addition of sugar to already sweet fruits and promoting its wound healing powers to nutrition professionals seems like a misguided PR move.

    Their tagline (“Make an informed choice. Choose pure natural sugar — 15 calories per teaspoon,”) also does not sit well with me.

    While putting a teaspoon or three of sugar into your coffee every morning (or enjoying an ice cream cone every Saturday night) is by no means a problem, sugar is calorically identical to other caloric sweeteners.

    They ALL offer 14 – 16 calories per tablespoon.

    I am not exactly sure what “informed choice” consumers are making by adding two teaspoons of sugar — rather than that same amount of honey — to a cup of tea.

    I don’t even understand why The Sugar Association is present at a nutrition conference to begin with.

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    Say What?: Japanese Dieters Go Bananas

    And you thought the Master Cleanse diet was as ridiculous as it could get?

    CBS-3 in Philadelphia is reporting that Japan’s “morning banana diet” fad has led to shortages of the yellow-skinned tropical fruit.

    What exactly does the morning banana diet entail, you ask?

    Oh, just the usual nonsense.

    Apparently, you can eat whatever you want –in unlimited quantities, no less — for lunch and dinner (although dinner should preferably be no later than 6 p.m.) as long as you consume one raw, unfrozen banana for breakfast.

    That’s right, feel free to wolf down cheeseburgers, fries, and milkshakes — the bananas will magically help you lose weight!

    Two other rules — you may only drink water and exercise is completely optional!

    The diet’s “official website,” which credits a “white-collar worked named Hitoshi Watanabe” as creating the diet, provides some laughable theories as to why this weight-loss plan “works.”

    My favorites?

    * “Bananas contain enzymes that assist in digestion, speeding it up and thus reducing the amount of time the intestines need to work to digest food, resulting in a metabolism more suited to losing weight. These enzymes only exist if the bananas are eaten in their raw state.

    Oh, look, the digestive enzyme myth again!

    Humans already have necessary digestive enzymes; we do not need any from our food supply.

    Additionally, speeding up digestion sounds like a dieter’s nightmare, as it would mean faster gastric emptying (and thus feeling hungry more quickly!)

    * “Laying off the manditory[sic] exercise and allowing afternoon sweets reduces stress, which would otherwise lead to overeating.

    There’s a new one! So popping bonbons at four in the afternoon creates as many “feel good” endorphins as lifting some weights or jogging?

    Who knew nutrition could be so comical?

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    Say What?: Hospital Food SOS

    Some hospital food service decisions leave me absolutely perplexed.

    Allow me to explain.

    I side with the belief that with some cancer patients — who can have a tremendously difficult time working up an appetite — it is a good idea to liberalize their diet in order to include foods they love and, therefore, will WANT to eat.

    One of the many goals is getting them off tube feedings and increase their caloric intake through solid food or beverages.

    But I was rather horrified to see thick pre-packaged slices of Sara Lee pound cake on some patients’ trays at one New York City hospital.

    What on EARTH is a medical establishment doing serving up a product with trans fats to patients whose health has already taken a turn for the worse?

    I would like to think that, of all places, a hospital would specifically seek out baked goods and treats free of partially hydrogenated oils.

    I am not asking for cancer patients to be denied a treat. Far from it!

    If a brownie offers as much as a single minute of pleasure in what is otherwise an unpleasant stay, they should certainly be provided with one.

    But the notion of feeding sick patients foods with trans fats in them leaves me very, very confused. And, frankly, very upset.

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    Say What?/Celebrity Diet Secrets: Teri Hatcher

    One of the country’s most famous desperate housewives recently shared some of the images and phrases on her “goal board” (described by Ms. Hatcher as “a collage of images of things you want to achieve in your life… all written, glued or drawn onto a big piece of paper.”)

    Among that inspirational collage? “Don’t eat after 7 PM.”

    Uh oh, looks like the “calorie clock” myth is back!

    Truth is, calories couldn’t care less what time they are consumed.

    A 600 calorie ice cream sundae will provide 600 calories whether it’s gobbled down for breakfast or at 10 PM.

    Let me just say that not eating after 7 PM will very likely result in some weight loss.

    However, this is very simply due to a reduction in total daily caloric intake (rather than avoiding food after an arbitrary bewitching hour where calories are multiplied by twenty!)

    I’m more disturbed by the notion that refusing food after 7 PM is someone’s life goal.

    I would have gone with “develop a healthy attitude towards food.”

    Represented by an illustration of someone happily savoring one (there’s the key!) decadent dark chocolate truffle.

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    Say What?: All That For A T-Shirt??

    Eating contests have always fascinated me, especially the over-the-top portion sizes and nutrition figures that accompany some of these foods.

    Over at Hillbilly Hot Dogs in Huttington, West Virginia, two challenges await adventurous eaters.

    First, the 3.5 pound Homewrecker (pictured at right):

    “The biggest, baddest of all the weenies! One full pounder of beef weenie, deep fried in pure canola oil, piled high with sauteed peppers and onions. Then covered with nacho cheese, our homemade sopicy chili sauce, jalapeños, mustard, ketchup, slaw, ‘maters, lettuce, and shredded cheese. All of it, slammin’ on a grilled bun.”

    Nutrition numbers, you ask?

    My calculations total 3,100 calories, 65 grams of saturated fat (3 days’ worth) and 6,380 milligrams of sodium (also 3 days’ worth!)

    The thing is 15 inches long and can be yours for just $14.99.

    Oh, chow it down in 12 minutes or less and win… a T-shirt.

    If that’s too amateurish, why not attempt to scarf down a Hillbilly 5 pound burger?

    We’re talking about a “five pound patty topped with 12 slices of cheese, 12 slices of tomatoes, a head of lettuce, one whole onion, and a pound of pickles”.

    In this case, per my calculations, you’re looking at 8,601 calories, 245 grams of saturated fat (TEN days’ worth!), and 5,295 milligrams of sodium.

    I spoke with the manager of the establishment a few minutes ago, who told me that one customer has eaten the single wide 5 pound burger in SIXTEEN MINUTES and the Homewrecker in just four!

    In fact, to get a T-shirt AND their money refunded, Homewrecker contenders have to beat his 4 minute record.

    Although “a lot of people” have finished the humongous hot dog in under 12 minutes, I was told “only two or three” other people have downed the single wide burger in one sitting (unlike the 16-minute maniac, they took “several hours.”)

    By the way, there IS a 10 pound hillbilly burger (with double the nutrition figures of the 5-pounder), but no one has ever tried to eat that in one sitting.

    I wonder if you can get the Homewrecker with the chili sauce on the side?

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    Say What?: You Say "Wholesome," I Say "Really?"

    The Slim-Fast Foods Company describes itself as being “committed to the development of wholesome and balanced nutritional products to aid in weight management and improved health.”

    An interesting description, to say the least, given the ingredient list for their 120-calorie chocolate peanut nougat snack bar:

    Maltitol Syrup, Milk Chocolate Flavored Coating (Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Palm Kernel And Palm Oil, Cocoa (Processed With Alkali), Sugar, Roasted Peanuts (Peanuts, Peanut Oil), Sweetened Condensed Skim Milk (Skim Milk, Sugar), Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Palm Kernel And Soybean), Whey Protein Isolate, Gum Arabic, Malted Milk (Extracts Of Wheat Flour And Malt Barley, Milk, Salt, Sodium Bicarbonate), Nonfat Milk, Salt, Egg Whites, Artificial Flavor, Caramel Color, Soy Lecithin, Maltodextrin, Tbhq And Citric Acid, Vitamins And Minerals (Calcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Ferric Orthophosphate, Vitamin E Acetate, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin E Acetate, Niacinamide, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Pyridoxine Hydrocholoride, Riboflavin, Thiamin Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Biotin, Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3), Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12).

    How a product with partially hydrogenated oils and maltitol syrup (the syrup of a sugar alcohol!) as its first ingredient can be described as ‘wholesome’ beats me.

    You might as well eat a small chocolate bar and pop a multivitamin.

    Why not have a handful (160 calories’ worth) of peanuts instead?

    It’s just as convenient and portable a snack as one of these bars, and doesn’t contribute added sugars or partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) to your day.

    Added bonus if you choose peanuts? Heart-healthy monounsaturated fats!

    By the way, the “40% less sugar” banner on the box of these bars is the result of replacing half the sugar with maltitol (the sugar alcohol most likely to cause bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Yum!)

    Craving chocolate but looking to control calories? Have a 100-calorie chocolate bar, sans sugar alcohols. Savor it, enjoy it, and go about your day.

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