Monday, July 16, 2012

Instant rant-meal: just add water

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.

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