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.
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.