Okay, before I enter into this rant, you have to understand something: I watch a lot of TV that, if it was food, would be empty calories. I use it as the background noise that keeps me from thinking that every creak in the wall is a serial killer, and to try and quiet the many trains of thought constantly leaving the station of my brain.
Having said that, Saturday night I was watching the second season of 'Biggest Loser' on Netflix Instant, with our newly-returned access to the internet. I tend to favor TV series that don't require me to be constantly paying attention. Unfortunately, during a moment that I was paying attention to the ever-so-slightly contrived weight loss show, they were in the middle of one of those really obvious infomercial moments. A trainer walks in and asks if they've eaten breakfast, then takes them into the kitchen to show them a great option: oatmeal!
'We can eat oatmeal?' a contestant asks. Why yes, in fact, you can! But this isn't just oatmeal. It's Quaker Weight Control Instant Oatmeal. It has fiber and protein and dairy-flavored pixie dust, and just 160 calories in a single packet. Wait, what?! I went from doing something random online to searching for someone to rant to. Because that's freaking ridiculous. In that one packet there couldn't have been more than 1/4 of a cup of actual instant oatmeal. And I am obsessed with making oatmeal (seriously, I had it for dinner last night), so I know that that amount of straight-up oatmeal is just 75 calories. So that means that over half of the calories are coming from whatever else is in there. Basically, the powdered dairy and flavorings.
Now, I am not against ready-made, portion-controlled things. I mean, I stuck Stove Top in a mushroom, I'm always doctoring up cake mixes in baking, and I do often take advantage of things that are 'light' for the sake of a few calories. It just made me so mad, because the people who saw this little vignette could save calories and cash by just taking a regular old tub of instant oatmeal, some non-dairy creamer, maybe some Splenda and dried fruit, put it into little baggies, and they'd have the exact same thing. I know it's advertising, the point is to sell something. I just hate that the selling point in this case is a statistic that relies on the consumer not having the rest of the numbers in order to look impressive.
Okay, I feel better now. You can all go about your regularly-scheduled Monday now.