Doesn’t it sometimes seem that the more information we have about food, the fatter we get? I do try to eat as fresh and colorfully as possible, I swear! But instead of living in the Land of Perfection (Fresh! Organic! Raw! Local Farmers! Save the World!) I live in Human Land where there are occasional evenings (last night being a good example for me) where it’s well past 8pm, I still have not eaten and I’m so tired that making a hearty salad from scratch is just too much trouble. The simplest thing like cleaning and chopping raw foods and eating them with delicious balsamic vinegar is too much to contemplate. Darn that kids-home-husband-work-life thing that interferes with my quest for Nutritional Nirvana!
Now that my disclaimer has been noted, I do what I have to do in order to eat something low fat and low cal, and just fill myself with something so I don’t binge on salty foods at 10pm (a trait of mine that I avoid like the plague) . I throw a vegetarian Lean Cuisine in the microwave and eat it on the sofa. Quite frankly, it did the job (okay, it tasted nice too, after I put a little parmesan on top!) and filled me up so I didn’t go to bed with a growling stomach.
I woke up to one though! I flicked on the Today Show to see a segment on the calorie and fat counts of the big diet brands like Lean Cuisine, Weight Watchers Smart Ones and Healthy Choice. It was very disheartening to hear how numbers and percentages are bandied around on the packages, with no reason needed to come anywhere near the truth. If the FDA allows manufactures to throw any number they want on the package (to within a 20 percent accuracy – a huge gap right there), then I suppose being more accurate isn’t at the top of the priority list simply because it doesn’t have to be.
The Today Show sent the most popular meals to a food lab to be analyzed for fat and calorie content. The results were a bit distressing. The Lean Cuisine brand has several meals that are well under their advertised calorie and fat counts, and the same with some Healthy Choice varieties. Some meals up to 20 percent. Good news for me, at least!