Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Rant: Serving Sizes Suck!

So, in the spirit of Friday, I've decided not to blog about snow. Yes, I know you're shocked but it'll pass, I'm sure.

Instead, I'm going to just do a teensy-tiny bit of ranting. I think I shouldn't listen to media in the morning. I've stopped listening to the awful "Two Angry Guys" from Cincinnati because, frankly, all they do is shout over the top of one another and talk about stupid things. Now, normally, stupid topics don't bother me when they're discussed well. But when it comes down to two men shouting to see who can talk the loudest, I have no patience. Instead, I've been turning on the TV and listening to the news. This is fine. It's the commercials that bother me.

For example, this morning, it was a Progresso soup commercial. Perhaps you've seen/heard it. There are several women talking about their diet's- one's on the Manhattan Clam Chowder Diet, another a Chicken Noodle Diet, etc. Naturally, it means they're eating Progresso soup because there's only 100 calories per serving.

The thing they don't mention is that in one of those Progresso soup cans, according to the nutritional label, there are 2.5 servings per can. Which means in order to stick to the 100 calorie promise, you'd only be eating less than half a can. That's not much soup. If you live alone, like me, chances are that can of soup will be your entire meal. Yes, on the scale of things, it's still pretty healthy but, of course, just reading the label alone and realizing you're eating enough soup to feed three dieters makes you feel a bit like a giant hippo.

Then there are those little cups that you put water in and microwave. Confession time, I love Stovetop stuffing. I don't like it as much when it's been stuffed into a chicken nor do I like it as much when it's been roasted into stuffing balls. I like it freshly made from the saucepan. So, imagine my delight when i saw that you can get little cups of instant Stovetop. Ok, so they don't have the sage flavour I like best but the Chicken isn't too bad. It's put in a little cup that clearly looks like a Serving for One.

Yes, then I read the back. There are at least two servings per cup. Which means you have to double the nutrition facts. Ok, I get that if you're on a strict diet, Stovetop Stuffing probably isn't really much of an option. Yet if you're trying to just be mostly healthy like me, it is. What am I supposed to do, give someone else a spoon and say "Hey, wanna share my Stovetop Cup?" NO! First of all, NO ONE eats my Stovetop and secondly, that would be kind of silly.

Same goes for crackers. Usually a serving is anywhere from 10 to 16 pieces. When you're hungry, that's not many crackers. Besides, counting them out to put in a baggie is tedious.

Yes, I know. The serving size is just a guide. If you eat more, you can double it. Yet then you feel like a hippo again.

I think my problem is that I should just stop looking at nutrition facts. I mean, who really can just eat one slice of pizza? Usually, without an appetizer, the average portion is 2.5 to three pieces of pizza. Then, when you go to view the nutrition facts, you realize "Crap! I just ate over 1,000 calories".

I know, I know. If I was really on a diet, I wouldn't be eating pizza. I know that. Yet on a normal day, i tend to eat at least 5 to 7 servings of fruit and veggies, often as a main course. So, once in a while, I splurge. The problem comes when I report what I've eaten. I have this neato site that keeps track of my nutrition and exercise. It's great, except it grades you. I've been averaging about a B to B+ for the last two weeks. Then I ate pizza. Bad idea.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that while serving sizes are supposed to moderate you, they don't because a normal person who isn't constantly trying to be a size zero needs more food than that. If I stick to the serving size, I feel good for a little while. Then I'm suddenly hungry again and I'll eat whatever I can find which is usually something not good for me. I mean, honestly, when you've got the munchies and can choose between salt and vinegar crisps, a bar of Cadbury's chocolate or an apple, who's really going to choose the apple? Small serving sizes lead to big cheats. They lead to sudden and inexplicable needs for McDonald's french fries or a big old slice of gooey cheese pizza.

So while those Progresso soup commercials aren't lying per se, they're not telling you the truth. They're not telling you that when you've measured out the one serving and realize that it's a little bowlful, you're going to look at the can and think, "will I really eat this again tomorrow and the next day?" and then dump the rest of it into the saucepan to heat.

Ok, so there's some self-control involved with being on a diet. This might explain why I define my own diet: Lots of healthy fruits and veggies, flavoured with something slightly naughty (like cheese) and balanced with some George Forman cooked stuff. I also sort-of exercise but you'll never see me being one of those die-hard joggers who runs in place until they can cross the street.

And I also do eat junk food because otherwise, when I decide to cheat, I'll really cheat and spreading it out over time, in my book, is better.

Or at least that's what I tell myself.

Happy Friday!

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