Sunday, February 26, 2006

Bastion of Healthitude

I have been eating a lot of "bad" food (to give it a moral characterization) since I've been pregnant. This is mainly because I've been so sick that I was actually losing weight for a few weeks there and could only tolerate bland, processed, sticky, comfort foods.

Therefore I was really quite excited to see that Kraft had recently come out with a new, supposedly more nutritious version of Mac & Cheese (or Kraft Dinner, for those north of the border). Especially exciting was the part about its containing whole grain, since highly processed starches are among those few foods that I deem about as nutritious as whipped toilet paper.

Now don't get me wrong--I'm a junk food advocate, and believe that the demonization of individual food items contributes to America's bizarre come-here-go-away compulsion around eating. Therefore, it's important to focus more on increasing healthful components to one's diet than to focus on restriction and denial of those less-nutrient-rich components. (I did my Mistress's thesis on aspects of this, so for once believe me when I say I actually know what I'm talking about.)

Eww. Restriction and denial: bad!

So anyway, it's not that I'm against even empty calories, but I do try to emphasize foods with more nutrients than not. This normally does not include Mac & Cheese to any great extent. In fact what I have often done--you may laugh if you like--is to get a big box of whole wheat elbows and several boxes of Mac & Cheese, and just use the wheat elbows in place of the Kraft ones, which I would throw out except for the seasoning packet.

But since they've started making Mac & Cheese with ("with"?) whole grain, maybe I wouldn't have to do that at all. In viewing the ingredients panel, I noted that the whole grain was second in the list after wheat (read: white, since it's not preceded by whole) flour. In my jaded food-analyzing experience, this means that the second ingredient is there primarily as a token, though not always.

I finally found a site that describes the food as containing 8 grams of whole grain per serving ("a good source"!) Well, okay--except that the entire box of noodles contains 170 grams--three servings--meaning that a serving is approximately 57 grams of noodles.

Using my superior and highly advanced statistics training (also a calculator that can divide), I therefore conclude that the ratio of processed to whole-grain flour in this product is about 6:1. (Disappointed sigh.)

Nevertheless, I will likely continue to eat it for a little while, as I shall eat anything that strikes my fancy enough for me to overcome my general queasiness and put it into my mouth.

Less-nutritious food is far better than no food at all!


argotnaut said...

Sound like my nutrition strategy is a good one then: "Maximize vegetable and whole grain intake." I try to always choose the menu item with the most vegetables in it, generally. Except on days when I decide I need junk.

I just uncovered your nutrition/gender survey while going through [deleting] that big pile of half-used notebooks!

argotnaut said...

Gahhh! SoundS!

liz said...

Don't feel bad. Anyone can typo/