Updated Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Friday, March 13, 2009

Read The Wrapper, Doofus (62 Days Remaining)

So, with a wedding coming up I've been working extra hard to drop some of the college weight I've had ever since puberty. If I'm gonna look good in a tux (the only tux I'll probably ever wear) I'm gonna look damn good in a tux.

To that end I've been hitting the gym like a mofo, taking the stairs where I can, eating less and generally doing my damnedest to build muscle to burn fat. (Which, as I'm told, is the best way to do it 'cause "Then you're burning fat even when you're not at the gym!!"... sure.)

In short: I've been a good boy. Haven't had a bag of chips in a good long time, my candy consumption is WAY down and I'm actually starting to feel the effects of beer in small quantities (which is kinda new to me - and a nice turn for my wallet...).

But today I decided to cheat. I haven't had a cheat day in a while, I figured I'd have a candy bar.


Before I continue, I want to get something off my chest:

Fuck you Nestlé.

Fuck you in your Haute-Couture-Coffee-Crisp-Making Ear.

Right, where were we? Oh yes.

So, I spend my dollar, drop it into the vending machine - I opt for the "Coffee Crisp Chocolatey Crunch" chocolate bar. It's NEW. It's got everything I like: It's a Coffee Crisp, it's got Chocolate and it's got CRUNCH.

Fuck, sign me up.

I can practically feel my pupils dilating inside my skull.

A solid thud as it drops into the bin below. A solid, chocolate-y thud. A solid, chocolate-y thud that whispers to me in that smooth Barry Manilow voice "Yeeeeaaaah baaaaaybeeeeee".

I pick it up, preparing to unwrap my prize, damn near drooling on the floor - anticipating the sweet taste of chocolate victory. And then I hear that small, nasal, annoying voice in the back of my head - that lil' bugger that's been making more and more of an appearance lately. That lil' taped-glasses, thin-lipped, scrawny version of myself that goes 'uh-uh-uh!' and wags his finger whenever temptation rears its ugly head.


So I flip the bar over... and I damn-near burst into tears.

Now, Saturated Fat is a funny thing - it's tasty stuff... but apparently it kills you (over time, like so many other tasty things).

How bad is this gunk for you?

Well, lets put it this way: out of a 2000 calorie-a-day diet - which most places just assume you're eating, "normal" for an "average" male... not so much for the "average" female - 20 grams of Saturated Fat is your 'Daily Value'.

That's the MOST you should eat in a day. Obviously if you're supposed to be eating less than 2000 calories a day, you should be eating less than 20 grams of Saturated Fat.

I'm not sure why 20 grams was chosen, I'm sure the information is out there, but that's not my point.

My point is that of this 49 gram chocolate bar, this tempting little chocolate bar that rests so lightly in the palm of my hand, 13 grams is pure Saturated Fat.

Think about that for a second.

This little chocolate bar that an earlier version of myself wouldn't have thought twice about eating - let alone eating 2 or 3 in a day - is worth 64% of my daily Saturated Fat intake. Per bar.

That's not including the 2 boiled eggs I had for breakfast today (3 grams of saturated fat - or 16%). That's not including lunch proper, the various small snacks and the dinner I'm going to have tonight.

And I bought this thing for a dollar, on a whim, because it caught my eye. The less careful version of myself would've eaten that thing in under a minute and forgotten about it in an hour. Maybe picked up another one on my way home 'cause, hell, I bet it's probably quite tasty.

Then I might've grabbed a slice of pizza on the run for dinner... Or a Hamburger. Maybe some fries.

See, I get it; I made a bad choice, I threw away a buck - that's my bad. But what about all those people who don't know, don't understand or don't care?

For most of us, all we'll ever see is this:

(Picture borrowed from a flickr stream brought up on a Google search)

Most of us will only ever see the warm, inviting, Coffee Crisp logo and the EXPLODING Chocolatey CRUNCH (in both English and French!) and, maybe, the tiny reassuring words: "Makes a nice light snack".

To Nestle's credit, if you flip the bar over, underneath the Nutritional facts chart and the barcode - in a 3-point font on a yellow background - the message "Your good health comes from a balanced diet, proper nutrition and physical activity" is written. Beside it, their contact information.

That is, of course, if you'd bothered to take the time to read it. If you hadn't just scarfed the bar and dropped the wrapper in the waste bin.

Interesting side note: They take great pains to put a nice little blue triangle on the front of the package that exclaims "ALLERGY ALERT contains peanuts". Apparently the threat of you immediately dropping into anaphylactic shock with this bar in your hands is enough of a cause for worry that they'd throw that warning right up on the bottom Left-hand corner of the product. No mention of the 64% of your daily Saturated Fat intake - tho' I guess that could be considered counter-productive to their business model.

What kills me is www.nestle.ca and their Nutritional Compass. Call me a hungry cynic but I can't help thinking that this is a classic case of something called "covering your ass".

Anyways, what can you do? A company's gotta make money and all the onus is on us to keep ourselves educated about what's going inside our bodies (something that is fucking hard to do on a day to day basis...).

Frankly, they make their bread and butter off of what I just did today: I got distracted by flashy packaging and spent the buck. Had I've known the nutritional information first, I'd have never made that purchase. Never. But that's not their problem (legally, I mean, and that's all that matters).

They warn you on the back of the package in miniscule print to eat right and exercise so you better damn well do it and don't come crying to them if you enjoy their product and eat yourself into a coronary. It's all right there on their website.

But, hey, at least it's got no Trans-Fat, right?

Anyone who's known me for the last 5 or so years knows that it's taken me a good, long time to work my way down from the 250-ish pounds I used to be (ask me nicely and I'll show you the pic sometime...) yet it's only been in the last few years that I really understood how I got there. And it's shit like this, shitty decisions like this, that've made it such a struggle.

So, consider this my good deed for the day. A bit of vitriol from a weight-challenged guy with a sedentary day job and a goal of fitting into a tux that won't make him look like a defective sausage casing.

Take it for what it cost ya.


P.S: I haven't eaten it, still sitting here on my desk. No snack. Should've taken that buck and bought a bag of apples.

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