Healthy foods, like reality show stars, tend to be both high-maintenance and tasteless. As lazy and spoiled people, we try to find any shortcuts we can to eating healthy without having to prepare fresh food or eat tofu.
Unfortunately, as we all learned from watching children's cartoons, taking shortcuts can lead to a hilarious comedy of errors. And diabetes.
The two biggest players in the "vitamin water" game are the original Vitamin Water, owned by Coke, and Sobe Life Water, owned by Pepsi, which should start to raise the red flags right there.
There are a bunch of other drinks playing the same game, with their light to clear colors and healthy sounding names that make it sound like they are plain old water with some nutrients added. Which is true, if you consider eight teaspoons of sugar a nutrient.
Al Pacino takes his daily vitamin supplement.
Vitamin Water and Life Water both contain 32.5 grams of sugar per bottle, so you might as well hydrate after a workout by drinking a bottle of water and tossing a full sized Snickers (30 grams of sugar) down your throat. But hey, at least that's half a Snickers less than a can of Coke, so really it might as well be water.
There are low calorie versions out there, like Vitamin Water 10, but it still has to appeal to their customer base: people who refuse to drink anything that isn't sweet, even their daily vitamins.
"Man, if only these came in doughnut form."
That means you're trading sugar for artificial sweeteners, and experts say that's a bad idea from multiple angles. Those sweeteners have some possible long-term side effects and might even trick your body into slowing down its metabolism, causing you to actually gain more weight than if you were on the regular stuff. But maybe your particular brand uses stevia, the trendy natural sugar substitute. Well, you should know it might even be more controversial than artificial sweeteners and has been banned in the EU.
Basically, you name a sugar substitute, and we'll name you an organ failure or type of cancer.
Which, coincidentally, is a fun party game at Weight Watchers meetings.
Bran tastes terrible, and therefore must be good for you. One of the easier ways to stuff that sawdust-like substance down your reluctant gullet is with a bran muffin. Unfortunately, like Mary Poppins's medicine, any type of muffin you use is sending the good stuff down with a spoonful of sugar and enough fat to choke a Japanese Whaler.
The main ingredient in muffins is cake, and the main ingredient in cake is fat. If you noticed that muffin wrappers tend to be grease soaked to the point of translucence, you might have put this together already. But you might not know that a medium-sized blueberry muffin has more calories than a McDonald's Sausage McMuffin that's the same size. Almost half of those calories are from fat. Specifically, a third of the fat you are supposed to eat in an entire day.
Damn you, you delicious, puffy pastry ... aw, we can't stay mad at you.
Switching to bran doesn't stop the muffin from being worth its weight in sausage, egg and heart attacks. Assuming bran muffins are any better for you is like switching out the chocolate chips in chocolate chip cookies for raisins and declaring it health food. Structurally, it's still mostly cookie. Switching to a bran muffin gets you down to a just under the calorie count of a Sausage McMuffin, which is not the kind of breakfast that will get your body on the cover of Shapely Ass magazine.
Or even the soon-to-be-launched ASS! Magazine.
Trendy places like Starbucks are already on top of this with low fat muffins. As you can see, they brought the fat calories down to a much smaller percentage of the whole, but the overall calorie count is still very much in the McMuffin range. Also, taking the fat out of a muffin steals its soul. It's like a damned scone or some shit.