Dieting for Dummies

Today I compared lunch items with my e-friend MGF. She emailed me a picture of her dietetic lunch - overdressed salad. I recognized a tomato wedge and a microscopic bit of cucumber which were almost invisibly drowned by a mayonnaise dressing. After a mini-lecture of the significant amount of money she can save by doing homemade lunches, MGF explained that for dieting, one does whatever it takes. Including five bucks for a dietetic meal.

That's when I realized how cunning the food industries are, and how naive the consumers are. They take a regular dish (i.e. lasagna) which isn't extremely unhealthy, add a molecule of something green (which may, or may not, be an actual vegetable) and presto - we've got Delicious Dietetic Dairy Lasagna! From far and wide, you'll find horizontally challenged individuals flocking to the restaurant that sells Delicious Dietetic Dairy Lasagna, stuffing their faces because, "Hey, my diet lets if it has vegetables!"

The same slyness is practiced in the bakery goods department. I once picked up an average bag of chocolate chip cookies from the shelf. In lettering for the blind, it proclaimed "SUGAR FREE!". I flip the package around to the nutrition facts section just to verify (see anecdote below) and true to its label, it has zero grams of sugar. Cool! I sneak a quick peek at the fats section. Oh, wow, wow - there's like 10 more grams of fat in this package of cookies, than in the regular (standard) sugar-full cookies! See, they get you somewhere.

Since the food-producing companies are getting smarter and smarter (and the dieters dumber and dumber) we have to give ourselves a helping of awareness of what dietetic food really means. Here are some examples of valuable dieting info:

  • Dietetic does not equal salad
  • Olive oil doesn't make a food dietetic. It's just a healthier alternative to vegetable oil
  • A diet coke does not cancel out calories from burgers (I meant organic burgers, obviously)
  • If low-fat foods cost more than the regular version, be sure to ask for monetary compensation (if they really are giving you 1/3 less fat, why should you be paying for that third?)
  • If you're a dieter, please don't advertise what you eat. It just gives non-dieters an opportunity to mock your naïveté.
  • Dieting and buying lunch usually works out the way hemming a skirt with masking tape does (it doesn't).

Anecdote: One brand of box drinks had this little orange star-shaped balloon on the front of the box, with the words "Excellent source of Vitamin C!" Turn the box over, and it says, "Not a significant source of Vitamin C"

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