The Sugar Question
I promised to look at sweet treats today, so lets take a look at the most popular ones (common to most vending machines) and see which is the “healthiest” of the junk.
Poptarts (cinnamon): 84.6% sugar, 37.5% fat [if you eat both, and most people do.]
(read this for more about how poptarts are probably the worst choice of snack ever because people think they are healthy…)
3 Musketeers Bar (130% sugar [more than you are supposed to have in 24 hours] and 16% fat)
Snickers Bar (100% sugar, 28.6% fat)
M&Ms (103% sugar, 18% fat)
Pay Day (70% sugar, 27% fat)
(Winner) Grandma’s Mini Sandwich Cremes (50% sugar, 22% fat)
Now here is the thing. The daily recommended values change depending on who you ask. Also, funny thing, there is NO daily reccomended value for sugar set by the government. Look at this and then click “GDA” and notice how there is nothing under the sugar category, and read the little asterisk. So really the message there is to just try not to eat a lot of sugar, I suppose. The breakdown above is based on Fitness Pal (which has a lower allotment of fat and sugar than some other websites, and no one can know for sure).
Read this for more about sugar intake.
So the important thing to do is just remember to eat a little bit of everything in moderation, and that nobody really knows how much of what we are supposed to eat, especially not me. Just be conscious of your choices and allow yourself to have a treat once in a while.
(Also, carry dollar bills in your pocket between classes, just in case).
Today I had about 30 minutes between class and a meeting so I stopped by the vending machine in the basement of hill. I purchased a two ounce bag of cheez-its for a dollar.
Just a heads up, they are probably THE WORST snack for you, in terms of the salt division.
A 2oz bag has 17% of your recommended daily salt intake and a whopping 31% of your daily recommended fat intake. Salt wise, its basically equivalent to eating TWO bags of cheddar and sour cream ruffles, and fat wise, its basically equivalent to eating THREE bags of 1 1/8oz bags of baked lays!
(They are at the top of the list of bad junk food, even worse than fritos, but I am proud to say, I ate them regardless, and they were delicious).
The Decker Vending Machine:
Some critiques: There are two spots empty. Restock please! There are 4 sets of doubles! (Cheetos, Utz regular potato chips, Fritos regular and Fritos barbeque). That’s just no fun. Also Fritos are labeled a dollar and 5 cents. That’s just odd and inconvenient if you don’t have change.
A positive: It’s the new high-tech one with the pretty blue lights (ages more advanced than the one in the basement of hill). Much easier to use and see exactly what you are inputting.
Salty Snack Choices:
Now let’s say you are on your way to class, don’t have time to stop at the pub, and want a salty snack. Which is healthiest?
The winner is: 1 1/8oz Baked Lays (9% salt, 7%fat).
Now what if you aren’t into the whole “baked” thing?
Runner up: 1 oz Utz potato chips (surprisingly contain over 10% of your daily needed potassium, 10% vitamin C, and 2% iron, the bad stuff? only 4% of recommended salt intake and , 18% fat intake which is admittedly a lot for a tiny bag of chips, BUT look at the others…)
1 ¾ oz Doritos (14% salt, 29% fat)
1 oz Smart Food Popcorn (11% salt, 20% fat)
1 oz Cheetos (10% salt, 20% fat)
1 oz Cheddar & Sour Cream Ruffles (7.2% salt, 20% fat)
2oz Fritos Original (6.4% salt, 20% fat)
Now is there a HUGE difference in the healthiness of which bag you are craving? No. But, one thing to pay attention to is how much you food you are actually getting. Some bags are 1oz, some are 2, and some are a strange in between of 1 ½ or 1 ¾. But, this isn’t very helpful, because no one in their right mind would eat only an ounce of Doritos and save the rest for later, right?
That’s it for now. Sweet treats come next week!
Until then, remember that as yummy as Doritos are, they contain the most salt and fat compared to their other junk food friends.
Vending Machines, Evils of Soda, and Cheetos
Eating habits, food, diet, and nutrition are some of the largest, controversial, universal issues still capturing much attention today. Even the food pyramid most people my age learned in the early 90s has been totally debunked. The general gist now is, eat everything in moderation and try not to get cancer or die of a heart attack.
The focus of this blog is of course, junk food and the vending machines which oh-so-generously provide it. Today I will discuss my personal (yet totally grounded in science) vendetta against soda/carbonated-sugary beverages, and take a look at a particular vending machine on campus.
I live in North Village, where everyone has a kitchen and presumably doesn’t need to scour the vending machines for treats. The only vending machine in North Village presides in the laundry room, and only vends drinks. Now, personally, I only buy bottled water from vending machines and only in emergency situations. I know many people that grab a Pepsi or a Coke almost every day. Here’s the thing about soda though, IT’S REALLY BAD FOR YOU.
You may be thinking, well isn’t everything that comes out of those vending machines bad for you? Well, yes, probably, but the stigma against vending machine junk food leaves out one of the worst indulgences of all.
Let’s take a closer look at soda. A classic example, an 8 oz bottle of regular Coca Cola has 27 grams of sugar in it (Pepsi has slightly more, Sprite has slightly less). Guess what the recommended daily value of sugar is? 25-35 grams. Obviously most American’s don’t follow this recommendation. In a classic bag of skittles, there are 44 grams of sugar. In a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar, there are 24 grams of sugar. So basically, drinking an 8 oz bottle of Coca Cola in one sitting is equivalent to eating an entire chocolate bar in terms of sugar intake.
Why do people drink soda? They are thirsty? (I’ve heard water is good for that though), They need the caffeine? (Tea works just as well!), They like the taste? (Then have a freaking chocolate bar). If the idea of eating an entire bar of chocolate in class grosses you out, maybe you should stop buying that soda. Bottom line is, every time you drink a bottle/can of soda, you are having a treat. (You wouldn’t eat candy every day, would you?).
Read this for more on the sugar subject.
Now at this point, I would like to remind you that I do not advocate the eating of vending machine food for every meal, every day. However, if you want a vending machine snack as a treat or a pick-me-up, I will provide extensive information regarding not only what yummy snacks are located where, but also reasons why it is okay to eat vending machine food every-so-often.
Disregarding the beverages, there are several accessible places on campus to get a sugary or salty snack. Popular choices are the basement of Hill, Decker near the mailboxes, the connecting point between Lewis/Eton, the student lounge in Academic Hall, the front coffee room of Hoover Library, etc.
Today’s blog will be focusing on my personal favorite, the basement of Hill Hall. Although it is probably quite old (it has those dirty black square buttons and a tiny readout screen), this vending machine always houses some of my favorite treats.
A Cheesy Snack:
Let’s focus on crunchy Cheetos, universally loved by all junk-food cravers, and coasting an even dollar in the vending machine at Hill Hall. Here we dive into the wonderful world of fat and salt. Now although the fat (10grams) and the dreaded saturated fats (2grams) and the sodium (250miligrams) seems to be just as bad for you as evil soda, there are other factors to consider:1. Daily salt intake 2. Daily fat intake and 3. Comfort food. 1. The recommended daily value of sodium is 2500miligrams (so our bag of Cheetos represents only 10% of your daily allotment). 2. The recommended overall fat intake is around 50grams (saturated being 16grams), meaning our crunchy Cheetos represents 20% of our daily allotment, which is admittedly, not so great. HOWEVER, when you think about how one bottle of soda takes up almost 100% of your daily allotment of sugar, 20% doesn’t seem so bad now does it? 3. Now although this next point is admittedly not totally grounded in science (although eating chocolate does release happy chemicals in the brain), eating your favorite, most craved, type of junk food could improve your mood.
Well, that’s all for now. More coming soon. Just remember: Cheetos > Soda, NO EXCEPTIONS. -JunkFoodGoddess (source for nutrition facts: my fitness pal)