Tuesday, June 03, 2008

America Drinks...and Gains Weight

Men's Health (via Boing Boing) rounds up the unhealthiest beverages in America, barring the obvious like soda and booze. Some choice examples:
Worst "Healthy" Drink
Glaceau VitaminWater (any flavor; 20 oz bottle)
130 calories
33 grams sugar

Vitamins and water might sound like the ultimate nutritional tag team, but what the label doesn’t say is that a bottle of this stuff carries nearly as much sugar and calories as a can of Coke. Makes sense, though, since this so-called functional beverage is produced by our often-sugar-crazy friends at The Coca-Cola Company.
I never quite understood the point of "vitamin water" or and less so "protein water." Special K has a product called "Special K20" and all I can think of is that it is some kind of potassium oxide (the chemical symbol for potassium is K). But then maybe it is. Oh, and elemental potassium explodes when it comes into contact with water, which would certainly make the water aisle at Price Chopper more entertaining.

Consumer Reports this month also ponders why water has gotten more complex than it needs to be. Sorry, I remain happy with tap water run through a Brita filter pitcher, although I have not changed the filter in about five years, so I'm probably making it worse. (OK, I do have somewhat of a weakness for Saratoga Sparkling Spring Water but, hey, I live here.) If I ever need vitamins, I shall take them. If I ever need more protein than I think I get, I'll have a steak, which would be far more enjoyable than water anyway.

This just sounds vile:
Worst Smoothie
Jamba Juice Peanut Butter Moo’d Power Smoothie (30 oz)
1,170 calories
169 g sugars
30 g fat

Jamba Juice calls it a smoothie; we call it a milkshake, with more sugar than an entire bag of chocolate chips. (Note: We're pretty sure this is the drink Hollywood actors rely on when looking to put on 20 pounds for the role as a heavy!)
I confess I've never had a smoothie; they always just sounded gross to me. Well, except for a chocolate milkshake...

I'm not a huge fan of pina coladas, and even less a fan of Rupert Holmes' "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)":
Worst Summer Cocktail
Pina Colada
625 calories
75 g sugars

Made from a blend of sickly-sweet pineapple juice and fat-riddled coconut milk, pina coladas may be this summer's biggest beach-body saboteurs. In fact, the only redeeming part of this drink is the garnish — that lonely chunk of pineapple hanging from the rim. Try a lime daiquiri or a mojito instead and save up to 400 calories a drink.
I'm on board with the mojito substitution... Oh, and speaking of vile, check out the calorie count of this:
The Unhealthiest Drink in America
Baskin Robbin’s Large Heath Bar Shake (32 oz)
2,310 calories
266 g sugar
108 g fat (64 g saturated)
Good lord! It's basically a diabetic coma in a cup!

I do not claim to be an expert on health or nutrition by any stretch of the imagination. But I do read nutrition labels and once I do the math and convert "calories per serving" from the decidedly unrealistic serving sizes that companies come up with to make their stuff look healthier than it is, I balance that figure against what my treadmill tells me I work off--I burn 620 calories in a one-hour workout. Any food I buy--especially junk food or snacks, which I generally avoid like the plague (OK, I have a weakness for pistachio nuts, the most addictive food in the world)--is always weighed (so to speak) against the question, "How many extra hours will it take me to work this off?"

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