Monday 8 October 2007

muffin tops give you...muffin tops

I'm back on the healthy eating train, and it's been one week so far. It's all going swimmingly and I even made it to the gym 4 times last week. I exercised and everything! I didn't just sit and pedal a bike really slowly while catching up with Richard and Judy. I worked up a sweat, burned calories, and lifted heavy things.

So yesterday, we were at Milton Keynes doing some shopping when toddler boy says "I hungry!" Off we went to find a comfy place to sit and have a snack. We went to Costa and I was on a mission: to find a snack for Jack (easy because our kid will eat anything), and healthy snacks for Paul and I. Right. Okay. I looked through the Big Cake Cabinet (BCC) which was next to the Big Sandwich Cabinet (BSC). BCC contained a plethora of fatty fat snacks that were obviously unhealthy, along with one muffin variety that was billed as "low fat". BSC contained mostly high calorie sandwiches, but I spotted a roast chicken one on wholegrain bread. What to do? Split a sandwich with Paul or go for the low fat muffin? I've been burned by muffins before, notably in the 90s when we all thought muffins were healthy until we learned that they were essentially full fat cakes baked in little tins. Muffin...sandwich...muffin...sandwich. I was having a cafe latte, so a muffin it was. I'll look up the nutritional information when we get home just for giggles, I thought.

Laughs? There were none! I discovered that Costa's low fat muffins contain 328 calories with 4.5g of fat (2.8g of which are saturated.) Just to give you an idea of how calorific this is, one of their croissants is 254 calories. And what if I'd shared a roast chicken sandwich with Paul? An entire sandwich is 325 calories with 7.1g fat (0.9g saturated.) Since I am more concerned with calories and saturated fat, the sandwich would have been the better option. Damn.

I checked out the nutritional info for muffins at my other favourite coffee haunt, Starbucks. Their "skinny" muffins range from 286 to 390 calories and 1.3-1.5g of saturated fat. Slightly better on the saturated fats than Costa, but not much of an improvement in terms of calories. Again, to put things in perspective, I can eat an entire meal for 300 calories. Looking through the nutritional information for all food at Starbucks, the roast chicken (or tuna) sandwich comes out the winner once more, along with their salads and fruit cups.

So when people wonder why they can't lose weight even though they eat nothing but foods that are "low fat", this is the answer. What a scam. Yes, we should all read labels and we should all know by now that muffins are never healthy but I didn't realise it was that high in calories. Next time I am either bringing my own snack or I'll enjoy a full fat cake and just eat a little less that day (or workout a little more.) Grrrrrrrrrr.

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