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.
Granola bars have to be good for you, right? Well, if they taste awful, then yes. If they taste good, it's probably the same ingredients that make candy bars taste good: sugar, fat and chocolate.
Sure, these bars all look really similar, with white or green boxes sporting pictures of lumpy beige bars and smiling women in yoga clothes, but they run the gamut from healthy sawdust bricks to Snickers bars in eco-themed wrappers.
"If this wasn't healthy, would I be eating it during yoga?"
The Quaker Oats True Delights Bar contains raspberries and chocolate and allegedly tastes pretty good, and it had better, because pound for pound, it's pretty much got the same amount of fat and calories as a Snickers bar. It's also this big.
Are your mouths watering, readers?
If you've got gigantic hands and therefore think that looks pretty big, basically it's only half the size of a Snickers (1.2 ounces versus 2.0 ounces) so there's a good chance you'll wind up eating two--or eating something else when you get hungry again. Either way you might as well have eaten the candy bar, for all the good it's doing you.
Plus, Mr. T endorses Snickers. So, there's that.
Sure, there are granola bars out there that are actually good for you and not made of candy, but they taste like freaking granola. If you want to be healthy, you gotta pay the price. Your body won't like doing without fat because through most of the history of our species, fat meant quick energy we could use to run away from a woolly mammoth. You can't trick your body into not wanting it--you just have to suffer through.
Vitamin C has been touted as a cure-all for everything from preventing colds to curing cancer. The latter claim was popularized by Linus Pauling and eaten up by people who forgot that he got a Nobel Prize in chemistry and not medicine. The movement was dealt a bit of a setback when he died of cancer in 1994.
Anyway, Vitamin C may not cure cancer or AIDS (that's been claimed too) but it is good for you. And for people who hate oranges or pills, the only solution is chewable Vitamin C tablets.
Or maybe people just really want to devour Barney Rubble.
However, with some chewable tablets, while you are eating the tablets, the tablets are also eating you. The scientific name for Vitamin C is ascorbic acid, which gives you a hint as to the problem.
Studies have shown that in some cases, chewable Vitamin C tablets can cause people's teeth to erode.
Dentists suggest you brush your teeth afterwards (although dentists suggest you brush your teeth after everything) and try to buy a brand that has Vitamin C in its non-acidic form. Or man up and swallow the pill.
Unless you're some kind of pussy.