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October 1st, 2004


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03:44 pm - Why Americans are Obese
The other day, I hadn't really eaten anything by 3:00pm, so I was feeling a bit peckish, as they say. I happened to be in the office for a meeting, and when I went in to grab a packet of pretzels from the snack machine, I noticed that someone had brought in muffins from Costco for the office to share.

Hmm, I thought. A nice poppyseed muffin would be good, and probably healthier than anything out of the vending machine. In all innocence, I picked one up, scarfed it down, then went in for my meeting.

After an hour or so of tech talk, I headed home to enter the muffin into my FitDay.com food journal. I figured, okay, anything worth eating is at least a couple hundred calories, and a muffin is probably the equivalent of a couple of slices of good, dense, whole-wheat bread, so I figured it'd be no more than 400 calories or so.

I was, as it turns out, sadly, TRAGICALLY, mistaken.



Costco, for those not familiar with it, is a warehouse-type store. They offer things in bulk at discounted prices. You buy a membership card, and you get to shop there. Costco, in addition to the 400-roll toilet paper packages and 40-gallon drums of pickle relish, also has a bakery section which offers bread, bagels, pastries and, of course, muffins.

Costco muffins are significant in that they stay moist and soft in or out of their plastic wrap for at least a couple of weeks (which is the longest they've ever managed to stay around my house). They're tasty and chewy and sweet and yummy: the very epitome of muffinly goodness. So round, so firm, so fully packed! They're almost like big cupcakes without the frosting.

Yes, I love me some Costco muffins.

But, best of all, muffins are good for you, right? Sure they are! Your mom or your Grandma or somebody must have made muffins when you were a kid, and encouraged you to eat them. Muffins are wholesome and healthy! If you had a choice between a muffin and a McDonald's Quarter Pounder with cheese or a Large Fries, which should you have? The muffin, hands down, right?

I got home and went to Google to type in "Costco muffin nutrition information." Sure enough, there it was on CalorieKing.com. Gotta love CalorieKing. I clicked through "Costco," then "Cakes: Kirkland Muffins: Poppyseed," and beheld the data.

Folks, imagine the horror. For what to my wondering eyes did appear but not 200 calories. Not 300 calories. No, not 500 calories, but ... Six. Hundred. Seventy. Calories.

In one single Costco muffin.

All right, though, that's okay. I mean, it could be worse. It's a pretty densely packed little thing after all, so I guess that makes sense. It's still healthy, though, I'm sure.

Yes.

I'm sure.

Or, I was sure until I looked down a little more and saw that it contains Thirty. Eight. Grams. of FAT!
By contrast, the McDonald's Quarter Pounder with Cheese has a mere 510 calories and 25 grams of fat. A McDonald's LARGE fries is slightly higher calorically at 520 calories, but also with 25 grams of fat.

"No, no, I'm not eating at McDonald's today. I think I'll have something healthy."

"LIKE A FUCKING MUFFIN!"

This brought back my previous traumatic experience with the soft pretzel (500 calories), and visions of The Daily Show's Stephen Colbert discussing the "almost pornographic 47 grams of fat" in Taco Bell's Fiesta Taco salad whirled through my head.

"No, no, I won't have a muffin. I'll just have something that's really healthy."

"LIKE A FUCKING 870-CALORIE SALAD!"

Okay, but that's a taco salad. How about a nice "Market Fresh Chicken Salad" from Arby's? Chicken is low fat, low in calories, and with "Market Fresh" in the name, how could you go wrong? Yes, I think I'll go to Arby's instead, and have the nice Market Fresh Chicken Salad ... at 860 calories and 44 grams of fat! Or a nice, lean, roast turkey ranch and bacon wrap from the "Low Carbys" menu at 710 calories and 39 grams of fat!

Salad is not diet food, folks.

Turkey and chicken are not diet food.

And muffins, sadly, most heinous of all, muffins, that wholesome treat from our childhoods -- gone. GONE, I tell you.

And that, my friends, THAT is why Americans are obese.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to have a nice, low-calorie diet meal consisting of no less than twelve Eggo waffles, a half-gallon of syrup, and a stick of butter.

Which, according to my calculations, is still much lower in calories and fat than a Costco muffin.

(28 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:passion_nymph
Date:October 1st, 2004 04:32 pm (UTC)
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Oh my god.

What's the nutritional value of the meals, after the calories? I know there's a difference..some things can be high in calories but still have a high nutritional value?

...and I couldn't eat a baked good that stayed fresh for weeks... wrapped or not... That's like, um, a Twinkie to me.

I, however, am ordering the sushi dinner. I figure its healthier for me than pizza or Chinese.
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:October 1st, 2004 04:59 pm (UTC)
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Most of the fast-food places have nutrition information including carbs, protein, and some vitamins on their websites. You type in "McDonalds nutrition information" or "Arby's nutrition information" into Google and you'll find it.

Here's one for sushi.
[User Picture]
From:passion_nymph
Date:October 1st, 2004 05:17 pm (UTC)
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Oh yeah, the sushi dinner is DEFINITELY better for me than pizza or chinese!

And looking at their numbers, to really do damage with sushi, you'd have to eat it all day every day for the rest of your life. If its possible to do damage with sushi...

I can't eat 16 tuna pieces, then another 9 pieces of avocado... etc etc...

Oh. My dinner is here. YAY!
[User Picture]
From:sushirob
Date:October 1st, 2004 07:13 pm (UTC)
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Sushi is a 3000 calorie affair for me on a light day. They add up, especially if you have rolls. Nigiri isnt bad.
[User Picture]
From:passion_nymph
Date:October 1st, 2004 08:07 pm (UTC)
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3 rolls, soup, and salad fill me up. To the point you have to roll me away from the table.

That's why I've never bothered with all you can eat places. 20 bucks for maybe 12 dollars worth of sushi. No.
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:October 2nd, 2004 09:12 am (UTC)

20 bucks? Whatta ripoff!

(Link)
Try $9.95 for all-you-can-eat sushi. That's what we pay.

Well, that's what we pay on Sunday - Thursday. Friday and Saturday I think it's like $12.95.

And heck, three rolls is like at LEAST 12 bucks. We only have to eat enough to make it worthwhile.

So there.

Nyah.

:-)


(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:October 1st, 2004 04:56 pm (UTC)

A smaller muffin?

(Link)
BLASPHEMY!!!

I must have the giant Costco muffin or NOTHING AT ALL!

Next you'll be saying something can be "too chocolatey" or "too rich."

Smaller muffin.

Hmph!
[User Picture]
From:cookiegirlie
Date:October 1st, 2004 04:59 pm (UTC)

Re: A smaller muffin?

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That's just crazy talk!
(Deleted comment)
From:citizen_gkar
Date:October 1st, 2004 04:44 pm (UTC)
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Nothing from a fast food joint is diet food, sweetie. If it's not bad for you when they get it, they inject it full of crap to make sure it is by the time it gets to your digestive tract.

And Costco, around christmastime every year, has this absolutely FABULOUS horseradish cheese! I can only imagine the calorie and fat content of that. Really. Imagine. Because there's no way I'm gonna look the actual info up and ruin an otherwise splendid cheese! ;)
[User Picture]
From:cookiegirlie
Date:October 1st, 2004 04:45 pm (UTC)
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Of course, I had that Taco Bell salad for lunch today. *L* I think it's not that bad if you don't eat the shell, but come on! The shell is the best part.

I think the Wendy's salads are healthier, sweetie. * ducks *

Remember to save the AA thingies from waffle boxes for RLJ.


* runs *
[User Picture]
From:sushirob
Date:October 1st, 2004 07:14 pm (UTC)
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the shell may be a couple hundred, but its the cheese....

I dont mind cheese though, at least its high in protein.

[User Picture]
From:cookiegirlie
Date:October 2nd, 2004 10:07 am (UTC)
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Don't forget that sour cream.
[User Picture]
From:cookiegirlie
Date:October 1st, 2004 04:52 pm (UTC)

Btw...

(Link)
Never trust a muffin that doesn't go stale.
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:October 1st, 2004 04:57 pm (UTC)

Re: Btw...

(Link)
Hey, man. Propylene glycol is one of the four basic food groups!
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:October 1st, 2004 04:58 pm (UTC)

Re: Btw...

(Link)
And, propylene glycol makes a damn fine pair of no-snag stockings.
[User Picture]
From:cookiegirlie
Date:October 1st, 2004 04:58 pm (UTC)

Re: Btw...

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Yup.

Right up there with crack and rat hair.
From:citizen_gkar
Date:October 1st, 2004 05:00 pm (UTC)

Re: Btw...

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It's also a clean-burning fuel that makes totally kickass grilled burgers!

*runs*
[User Picture]
From:passion_nymph
Date:October 1st, 2004 05:17 pm (UTC)

Re: Btw...

(Link)
::twitches::

Mommy, I'm scared...
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:October 1st, 2004 05:18 pm (UTC)

Re: Btw...

(Link)
There, there, dear.

Have a nice MUFFIN.
[User Picture]
From:passion_nymph
Date:October 1st, 2004 05:20 pm (UTC)

Re: Btw...

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mu..mu...muffin?

Is it chocolatey and rich?
[User Picture]
From:ktkatrina
Date:October 1st, 2004 05:32 pm (UTC)
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now I know who to give all the free muffins to... *LOL*

We don't have costco near here, but we do have BJs and Price Club.

And for some reason, people are always donating baked goods from these places to the church attached to my dance school. The church runs a food bank, but people don't seem to comprehend the 'non-perishable' idea.
They simply can't get the food sorted and out to where its needed before it spoils.

so guess where they put it?
Right in the dance school's kitchen with a 'please take me home!' sign. *LOL*
I've lost count of the custards, cakes, muffins, and bagels I've ended up with in this manner.

oh, and the answer is to eat HALF a muffin. for now. then the other half in an hour. ;o)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:kungfubarbie
Date:October 2nd, 2004 09:09 am (UTC)
(Link)
oh my god mrs v i love you.

this entry has cracked me up.

sadly it's so so SO true.

i found this great website that lists WW points for like every resturant EVER.

I can NEVER eat at friendly's again.

Feh.
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:October 2nd, 2004 09:17 am (UTC)
(Link)
Suddenly, the fat guy who's suing McDonalds doesn't look so bad after all.

Although, honestly, he should have skipped McDonalds and sued Costco and Taco Bell.

I can see him in court:

"It was a SALAD! I thought it was HEALTHY! Who knew it was EIGHT HUNDRED CALORIES! And FORTY-SEVEN grams of FAT! In a SALAD! Ohhhhh....my arteries!!!!!"

And then he could break down, sobbing, and periodically mutter incoherently, "The CHILDREN, think of the CHILDREN!"

Yeah.

I'd pay to see that, baby.
[User Picture]
From:sushirob
Date:October 2nd, 2004 12:38 pm (UTC)
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He's win too, if at that moment he dropped dead of a heart attack.

I mean, if you're going to go for something, you should have the dedication to go all out.
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:October 2nd, 2004 12:40 pm (UTC)
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Damn straight.

Hey, why are you commenting on my blog instead of taking me to SUSHI!

Dammit!

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