Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Stop Breaking Their Bell's.

Many people have been outraged over Taco Bell's new Drive Thru Diet ad campaign, but I think they are heading in the right direction.

We have this vision of what we think is the right way to live in this country. We have this for exercise, for morals, for ethics, and for food.

When it comes to food we tend to demonize and shun. How many times have you said or heard someone say, 'I'm being sooo bad' in relation to food? We have a certain level of guilt over things we eat. A lot of us, myself included, eat too much. What many people do in response to that is to completely shun.

'I stopped drinking pop.'
'I don't eat meat.'
'I don't eat anything processed.'

People shun out of guilt and misinformation. These people DO lose weight in many cases, but may be misled as to why. Pop is 170 - 200 calories a can. Meat(protein) is 9kcal/gram while carbs are I think 4kcal/gram, so not eating meat cuts out a lot of calories. 'Processed' - which is a loaded term - tends to have high caloric values as well. When people lose weight, they lose sight of that and think that it's because those foods were bad and now they are on the good graces of the food gods. It isn't the MSG or HFCS that makes us overweight, it's the extra calories.

OK, so on to Taco Bell...

The ad basically states that by eating certain items on the menu instead of other items, they can lose weight. It really depends on how much you were going there before and what you were ordering. So they aren't lying, it just depends on a couple factors. I do think this is a reasonable and realistic approach to weight loss for many people.

Let's face it folks, many of you are out the door w/out breakfast in the morning, hit a Starbucks drive thru on the way to work, out to eat for lunch, and everybody in your family is scattered going to practices, and games, and working different shifts come dinner time. You probably eat out a lot or eat a lot of frozen dinners/hot pockets and whatnot. Most people preach diets that involve steady meals, mostly eaten at home with some thought and planning put into them. But is that realistic for your life? Ideally, I would suggest planning the weeks menu, using the last off day before the next week as a grocery/prep day so you can quickly and easily make a planned meal every day of that week. Who can honestly commit to that?

Let's think about Jared from Subway for a moment. Remeber when you first saw him holding up his trophy fat pants? What were you thinking?

'Holy shit, I've got to eat more Subway!'

Why did Jared's diet work? Three C's: cutting calories consistently. When he went to Subway, he got one of the same one or two different subs the same way and he walked more. The calories he started taking in were less and they were less consistently. So every day he was running a calorie deficit. Every time that deficit hit 3,500 calories, Jared deducted a pound.

Many diets start off by cutting calories but are too militant, too fast. People get crazy hungry(hungry like the wolf, I say...well, me and Duran Duran) and then go overboard because everything in there body is screaming EAT!!! Jared was consistent. He probably could have cut way more, and shunned everything, but then his diet would have crashed.

OK, back to Taco Bell again... seriously.
If eating a meal or two at Taco Bell interests your taste buds and if the things you would get on the menu are less calories than what you honestly would eat anyway, then you can lose weight. However you can do this with any food. As a matter of fact, Ozzy Osbourne did this on the first season of The Osbournes on MTV. During an episode, Ozzy mentions being on a Chipotle diet, where he'd stock up on his favorite burritos and eat them every day. He would only eat half a burrito at a time and he said he lost 10 pounds. Bam! Chipotle diet. Hell, you could do a Twinkie diet if you really wanted to: All the Twinkies you want as long as the total calories consumed at the end of the day is at a 400 calorie deficit. I guarantee you will lose 1 pound every 8-9 days.

Legit issues with the diet(Taco Bell, not Twinkie) is that it doesn't factor in total fat consumption or sodium. Here's the thing though, were you watching those things before? No? Then worry about the pounds first then fine-tune the diet to factor in nutrients and sodium/potassium.

Takeaway (take out?) Message.
So the diet isn't bullshit, it just depends on what you were eating to begin with. Ricky Gervais does a great joke about a man that weighed 1,000 pounds and was about to have gastric bypass surgery. By the way, if we can live even for a couple years at 1,000 lbs then can we really call 300+ lbs morbidly obese? Really? Anyway, the guy talked about how he ate 9 pie n chips a day. Ricky's line was (while raising his hand) 'Ooh, ooh, I have an idea... 8 pie n chips.'

So quit bustin' the Bell's balls, will ya?

I predict a trend in the coming year will be reduced sodium. This is good, but as with calories, the goal is not zero. Calories are units of energy and you need a certain amount to keep the organs running. Don't believe me, ask Tracy Gold. Sodium plays a role cell fluid opposite of potassium. I would think that we may start seeing some functional foods promoted that contain elevated levels of potassium.

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