Friday, January 21, 2005

who's responsible for what goes in your mouth?

I found this somewhat depressing online poll yesterday. Nearly half the respondents to a question of whether the new Dietary Guidelines the US Government published would actually do any good or not said "Not unless food manufacturers do their part to make food more healthy." Um, yeah. First, the new guidelines explicitly recommend in at least a couple of places NOT eating packaged foods, and even if food manufacturers made them healthier they still wouldn't approach real food in terms of nutrition/fat content/weird-ass chemicals. Let's face it, if you want food in a bag, a box, a frozen package or a can to taste good after a couple of months, you have to add nasty stuff. Sure, you can improve the degree of nastiness, but it's still nasty.

The biggest problem I have with this, though, is that people are sooooo willing to blame "food manufacturers" for their dietary problems, when there's nobody but them actually putting the stuff in their mouths. Leaving aside the "make your own damn food" argument, it's not like packages don't list ingredients, and it's not like people don't know that anything "oil" = fat. And I have to give credit to most food manufacturers for clearly listing what constitutes a serving size on the package. It's smaller than what most people eat. But whose fault is that? Generally (and no, not in all cases) the serving size listed on a package corresponds pretty well to what the food guides say a serving of whatever is (ie, when a cereal package says a serving is 3/4 cup, that's pretty close to what a serving of grains should be.) So if someone pours 2 cups into a bowl, followed by a cup of milk and maybe some extra sugar, and wonders why this "low-fat" cereal isn't helping him lose weight, is that seriously the cereal manufacturer's fault???? I don't think so.

Taking responsibility for your own actions seems problematic for humans today. At least on this continent. We suck.

Ok enough of that. Last night I made zucchini pancakes, without a recipe, and I really couldn't tell you how much of what I put in, beyond it was a whole zucchini, grated, salted, rinsed & drained (loses a lot of bulk that way) and one egg, plus some crumbled goat cheese, salt, pepper, herbs (thyme & basil), very thinly sliced onion (1/4 med onion) and flour to get it to the right consistency. Plus a couple tbsp olive oil in the non-stick pan, medium heat, etc. Basically just comfort food, served with red cabbage coleslaw made with yogurt dressing (4 parts yogurt to 1 part mayo, plus a little vinegar, salt, and sugar).

Oh and according to my fancy new scale I've dropped a percent off my body fat. Yay!


Blogger Sue said...

Actually, I've often thought that food manufacturers should put two sets of stats on the bag where they show the calories, etc. There should be one set of stats for an accurate serving size according to the US Dietary folks, and then a set of stats that shows you what you'll be eating if you eat the WHOLE FRIGGING BAG. Since people tend to finish off the entire package of whatever they open, they should at least be able to easily see how much they're stuffing their faces with, without having to do any inconvenient or challenging math. (I say that last part with part shame and part derision).

3:13 PM  
Blogger spughy said...

I guess any math is inconvenient. I looked up what a Doritos label actually says (and remember, Doritos don't actually fit into any of the food groups, really) and it clearly says not only that a serving size is 1 oz (11 chips) but that there are 13 such servings in that bag. There are 140 calories (70 of which are from yummy yummy fat) in each serving.

I don't know about you, but I can do that in my head: 140 * 13 = (140 *10) + (140 * 3) = 1400 + 420 = 1820. Holy crap, that's more calories than I eat in a day.

So, do you think anyone would even BUY Doritos if they put "contains 1820 calories" on the label?

10:15 AM  

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