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    Archive for the ‘Slimfast’ Category

    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.


    Real Women, Real Misinformation

    Time to scan through the celebrity magazines — and get into my zen “irritability rolls off my back” mode — to see what they’re saying about nutrition.

    This time, I turn my attention to People Magazine’s June 2 issue, which contains a feature on five “normal women” who each lost 100 – or more — pounds.

    Jessica, 22, has been on Slimfast for almost three years.

    Alright, first problem. The Slimfast plan – two shakes a day plus dinner and small snacks – doesn’t teach many nutrition principles; it simply restricts calories.

    I don’t necessarily have a problem with it in a “need to shed five pounds quickly” short-term situation, but three years drinking that twice a day?

    What is Jessica supposed to do when she lunch or brunch with friends? Take a can of Slimfast with her?

    And whatever happened to variety?

    Then there’s Nichole, who “eats [a can of tuna] as a protein boost on her way to the gym.”

    By the way, the article has the above quote aside as an “FYI,” almost a recommendation for readers.

    Except there is no need for a “protein boost” on your way to the gym.

    If you choose to have a pre-workout snack, it should be approximately 2 hours before exerciseing, and should consist of low-calorie, easy to digest carbohydrates (think a piece of fruit).

    The body does not use protein for energy unless it is in a severely critical situation, so that can of tuna serves no value as a pre-workout snack.

    Nichole also claims to carry a 3-liter jug of water with her. That volume of water is absolutely excessive and results in nothing but extraneous urination.

    While we’re on the topic of water, let’s talk about the most disturbing comment of the piece, courtesy of Katherine, who claims to resorts to water to fill up her stomach if it growls after she has finished a meal.

    It is one thing to satisfy hunger with low calorie snacks, but downing glasses of water when the body is craving calories is not a wise – or healthy – idea.

    Finally, there’s Kim, who has replaced her old dessert – a bowl of ice cream with brownies — with “sugar-free Jell-O with a tablespoon of fat-free whipped cream.”

    Although her customary dessert certainly needed a makeunder, I am not too happy with her new choice.

    The “diet-friendly” dessert provides no fat, fiber, or protein. In other words, it’s just not satisfying or filling.

    I also don’t approve of the synthetic nature of it all. It’s practically a Franken-snack.

    I would suggest having an actual piece of fruit or a cup of fat-free or low-fat yogurt sprinkled with ground flaxseed meal.

    The two “desserts” I just mentioned provide plenty of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients not present in sugar-free gelatin or fat-free whipped cream.

    Although I commend these women on achieving their health goals, I can’t say I condone some of their methods.

    What bothers me most is that People appears to use these women as an example and, by doing so, gets some major nutrition points confused.

    If these magazines want to start featuring pieces on weight loss and management, I strongly suggest they form a nutrition advisory board consisting of registered dietitians and medical professionals so as to ensure that readers are getting valid information.


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