Friday, June 12, 2009

WTF, Men's Health

A few minutes ago I sat down in my teeny tiny backyard (backconcretesquare) with a delicious piece of French toast (made with Amish whole wheat bread--divine!), some cherries, and a copy of Men's Health that we received when we signed up for the Broad Street Run.  (This is the issue with Trekkie Hottie Chris Pine on the cover, FYI.)

An article called "The Fix for Stubborn Fat" caught my attention--one of these "revolutionary" articles touting (surprise!) healthy eating as though it were a new discovery.  The first item that made me scoff was this follow-up to a paragraph explaining how bad carbs are: "So, what are the best choices for foods that contain carbs?  Almost all vegetable top the list."

Um, OK.  Here's the thing: I love my veggies.  I had a dream once where I had a seven-course eggplant meal and woke up salivating.  But I don't think of veggies as "healthy carbs."  I think of them as VEGETABLES.  Telling someone they'll have to replace their bagels and linguine with broccoli is a good way to stop a diet in its tracks.  To be fair, at the end of the paragraph they did throw in the obligatory mention of whole grains, but it was a little late.

However, what really made me spit out my French toast in laughter was an item on their daily menu.  Just for context, breakfast was basically turkey and lettuce, lunch was a salad with shrimp, dinner was meatloaf and veggies, and there were several snacks like nuts, cottage cheese, etc.  Not a bad day's food.  Except that, with dinner, they suggest "1 cup sliced cucumber, dipped in 4 Tbsp. ranch dressing."

1) 4 tablespoons is a hell of a lot of Ranch for someone who is trying to lose weight.  It's double the recommended serving size.  I love Ranch, but I think I would gladly eat most of the cucumber plain and then enjoy a few dips as a treat--maybe a tablespoon.

2)  Those 4 tablespoons contain 280 calories, 260 of which are from fat.  And not heart-healthy fat or anything like that.  Just crappy saturated fat.  28 GRAMS OF IT!

3)  For the Weight Watchers among us, that is 8 points of salad dressing.  I get 24 points a day.  Seriously?  I'm going to spend 1/3 of my points on salad dressing?  For 8 points, I could eat 2 cups of rice and at least not be hungry five minutes later!*

4)  If you have to have something to dip your cucumber in, why not make it hummus?  Hummus has fiber and other nutritious elements to it.  Ranch does not.  In any way.

Here's the thing: if you love Ranch, eat it.  I don't care.  Eat it in a small portion, or if you really really love it, eat the 4 tablespoons and account for the calories elsewhere.  But why, in the midst of an article that can barely bring itself to allow that whole grains are OK (sometimes, maybe, but don't forget they have CARBS!) does a health magazine advocate eating 28 grams of saturated fat for no good reason?

Just for kicks, other uses of 8 WW points:
4 small glasses of wine
4 eggs
a McDonald's hamburger WITH AN EGG ON TOP
a small bagel with one serving of cream cheese
2 cups of pasta
8 apples
96 jelly bellies


  1. Sorry you did not like the article but it was not a WW diet, so you cannot compare the Stubborn Fat Fix to WW.

    I'd like to point out that the reason for switching veggies for bagels and linguine is because bagels and linguini do not provide any nutrients, veggies do. The rationale behind this diet is to switch your metabolism from burning carbs to burning fat. In my mind, anyone who is trying to lose weight want to burn fat, so it does its job.

    The Stubborn Fat Fix also provides simple quizzes so that your answers might help you find an underlying cause to "Stubborn Fat".

    Everyone should find a nutrition plan that works for their own taste preferences and lifestyle. If you are not getting the results you desire from what you currently eat some people choose to make behavior changes and continue the change because the results motivate them to continue, if The Stubborn Fat Fix can do this for someone than great, if not well there are more options out there.

    For these people it has helped tremendously:

  2. Hi Valerie,
    Thanks for your post. I agree that people need to find the diet that works for them, and the comparison to WW was just for those who are on WW. My main point was that it seemed silly to focus so much on eating healthy, nutritious foods and then suggest eating 4 tablespoons of ranch dressing, which has little to no nutritional value.
    The plan as a whole seemed balanced and helpful.
    And of course someone trying to lose weight should increase veggies and decrease pasta, I just thought the way the author worded it was funny.

  3. That is, indeed, a lot of dressing. I wouldn't even use that much on a giant salad.