Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Nutrition encyclopedia

Subtitle: Who sent the memo that smoothies are "healthy"? Because they're not.

My work had smoothies brought in from Smoothie King late last week. It was sponsored by the Safety Director and the Health and Wellness Committee, which I happen to be the head of. I did not get the idea for the smoothies, but I helped some with the planning and implementation so I was definitely a part of the whole thing. So... people saw "Health and Wellness" and combined it with some mental image of smoothies being something people drink after workouts and said oh hey, smoothies are healthy. I should drink 4 of them. When I was helping with the smoothie distribution people would chuckle and grab 2 or 3 and say they were so glad to have something "healthy."

First- healthy is not a single food. It's not one meal. So that bothered me. Second- smoothies are juice blended with fruit to thicken. One of these has >300 calories and little to no protein. Sure, it's fruit, but oh my goodness, the sugar! There are some with more redeeming stats, but it bugged me endlessly that everyone was under the false impression that this was health food. I totally get a smoothie as a treat. They were delicious. But they're marketed as being in categories called "Trim Down," "Shape Up," (in the shape up category- a smoothie with 900 calories. It may have 25 g of protein but I'm not sure anyone needs to drink 900 calories in one sitting), and "Snack Right."

I forget sometimes that a lot of people don't have an annoying list of nutritional stats in their heads. They don't know that a 300 calorie sugar rush is going to be followed by a major sugar dip, accompanied by hunger. That fat and protein are necessary for feeling full. I marvel at people who are either oblivious or simply don't care. Am I better off because I know that almonds have less saturated fat than peanuts? That whole grain pasta has fiber AND protein and therefore is more satisfying than white pasta? Sigh. I have to be so mindful of what I eat, every single meal, and I guess I am jealous that there are people who don't have to (or choose not to) worry about things like that.

On a positive note: I made super progress on the wallpaper border from hell. Over half of the kitchen is done! It only took 2 hours and a very sore back to get it there. Hooray.

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