Monday, January 09, 2006


I was shopping with my friend Elizabeth at Costco yesterday. She's a very picky eater. In my opinion she hyperanalyzes the numbers on any food product she can get her hands on: too many calories, too much fat (completely disregarding "good fats" vs. "bad fats") etc.

So I shouldn't have been surprised when we got into this massive discussion over which ginormous box of granola bars to split.

Right next to each other were extreme packs of Quaker Chewy brand bars (flavors: chocolate chip, low fat s'mores, and peanut butter), and Nature Valley Trail Mix bars (flavor: Fruit & Nut, featuring Almonds, Peanuts, Cranberries, and Raisins). Granted, the "chewy" bars featured "whole grain," but all the conventional wisdom I've read would tell me that almonds, peanuts and cranberries beats out chocolate chips in terms of nutritional value any day.

Elizabeth was not convinced, and lobbied that we purchase the chewy bars. (This is odd, because, as I said, she usually prides herself on depriving herself of tasty foods if they run the risk of making her "fat.") Eventually, we turned to the FDA-mandated nutritional panels on the backs of the boxes. (I'd post them for you here, but I can't seem to download the Quaker Chewy info. Instead I'll provide you with competing links: Quaker Chewy vs. Nature Valley (scroll down for Fruit & Nut bars)).

Surprisingly enough, the chocolate chip bars contain, apparently, fewer calories, fewer carbohydrates, and less sugar than the trail mix bars. In addition, the chocolate chip bars provide some iron and calcium, whereas the trail mix bars do not.

Despite this evidence, I couldn't cede my ground. "You must be looking at the wrong numbers," I declared.

"We're looking at the same numbers! They're printed right here on the box!" Elizabeth declared.

"No, I mean there are numbers other than the ones the FDA requires them to print that would make the trail mix bars better."

"Uh, it's got more calories, sugar, and carbs, and no iron or calcium," Elizabeth told me. "What more do you want?"

"This discussion isn't going to get resolved well," I finally said, "because there is absolutely no way you will ever convince me, standing right here in this Costco aisle, that a smores chewy bar, or a chocolate chip bar, or a peanut butter bar, is actually better for you than a trail mix bar which contains almonds, cranberries, raisins and peanuts."



In the end, we didn't buy either of them.

Then we went for dinner, after which I indulged in a triple peanut-butter ice cream concoction, including Reese's Pieces, chopped-up Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and peanut butter ice cream, at Maggie Moo's.


melissa said...

hmmm.... very interesting. I think I'd side with you, even given the evidence to the contrary...

though I still like the Quaker bars better, I don't feel like I'm doing anything "good" by eating them!

nice blog, btw. I just meandered here from real world: bethesda.

Steve said...

You should've bought all of them! Nice comeback with desert, though.

Vince said...

At least you ate a very healthy and sensible desert . . . at least according to my research.


Miss Scarlet said...

Love to be uber healthy one moment and then the complete opposite another:)

Dennis! said...

Melissa: Welcome to MTML! RW:B writes a pretty cool blog. Glad you came by.

Steve: I'm all about fatty non-nutritious desserts.

Vince: I'm with ya on that.

Scarlet: No one who has ever seen my body will ever accuse me of being a health-food nazi. :) But since my bathroom reading consists 100% of Men's Health, certain food suggestions creep in and take hold... like almonds and peanuts and cranberries.

Ryan said...

Aw man, I'm totally out of this discussion. I hate granola! Got any facts about a double Twix?

I just eat when I'm hungry, and don't when I'm not. I'm actually quite fit! :)

Dennis! said...

Yeah, Ryan, rub it in. :)

And, FYI: Twix.

Dop said...

I am very brand-faithful. I've been eating Quaker stuff all my life, so I guess I would side with Elizabeth on this one. Eeks.

duane said...

LOL! you showed her... and your thighs! Oh maggie moos... you have the best cotton candy ice cream ever!