Raging Bull

There's been a lot of talk of "discretionary calories" lately but I would like to discuss my favourite calories, and those are Bullshit Calories.

These are either 1) the calorie-dense foods that you can bullshit yourself into eating excessively by focusing on their flimsy bit of nutritional merit OR conversely 2) foods with poor nutritional merit that you bullshit yourself into eating excessively because their calorie content is low.


Fry's Turkish Delight
Small bar (approx. 3 x 1.5 inches) of turkish delight coated in delicious milk chocolate. Only 185 calories and 3.5g of fat. This falls into Bullshit Calories when you say, "Wow, that's only got 185 calories and 3.5g fat compared to the 40g fat and 1500 calories if I were to eat that 100g block of Green & Blacks chocolate!".

Well of course if you're going to compare a punch in the nose to having a family car dropped on your head, one scenario is clearly more favourable than the other – but that doesn't necessarily mean the punch in the nose isn't going to hurt you. Especially if you get three of them.

High in calories, high in fat, but absolutely packed with health. Nutritionists say three brazil nuts a day is all you need to get a healthy dose of selenium, magnesium, and thiamin. A handful of almonds provides calcium and protects against heart disease. Walnuts ain't too shabby either.

But do you think I can stop at three brazils? And what's a handful of almonds look like? I've got quite a hefty hand. I have the ability to gnash my way through dozens of nuts and seeds in a typical work day, far above the suggested servings. My colleagues ask me if Polly wants a cracker, and I shout back at them with pulverised pecans clinging to my gums and trapped between my teeth, "But they're good for you!".

Marks and Spencer Greek Style Natural Yogurt & Greek Cherry Compote
I love for Marks & Spencer and their ridiculously over-named and over-priced products. Right before our Baltic trip I'd ran out of yogurt for breakfast and grabbed one of the above on my way to work. I cannot resist anything with cherries. I knew full well that the compote was about 2% cherries with half a pound of sugar, but surely that was balanced out by the goodness of YOGURT? Everyone knows greek yogurt is good for you, it has acidophilous and snuffleuphagus and all that healthy bacteria. The 310 calories in this product clearly come under the category of Bullshit, but this didn't stop me scoffing another three of them last week.

So what are your favourite Bullshit Calories?

28 thoughts on “Raging Bull

  1. I have this open for I dunno how long and can’t decide what to write first! Tons of things come to my mind! And you made me realise that! You precious girl you!
    Ok…I will only one: pita bread! 2 points according to my ex WW leader (Im still counting points in my head!!!) so tis only six if I have 3 huh?

  2. I can’t help but feel self-righteous when I’m scoffing a Power Bar! Caramel Nut Blast is not much more than a glorified Snickers with some vitamins thrown in for respectability.

  3. Oof, I’m right with you on the nuts. Every time I make the trip to the bulk food store to buy nuts, I promise myself that this time they’ll last, and I’ll only use them when I have them budgeted in my meal plans. And then that night finds me sitting there with a half empty bag of almonds.

  4. I have the nut problem too. Half a handful last night (that I’d budgeted for) turned into two handfuls (that I certainly hadn’t). And it would have been more if the packet hadn’t fortunately been near empty already!

    Dried fruit is even worse. And I snack on cereal bars with far too much sugar in them that I kid myself are okay because they’re not chocolate….

  5. Trail mix…I love it and I try to justify it by pointing out that the raisens and the nuts are healthy but really I’m in it for the m&m’s

  6. Here’s what I know about bullshit calories…I was on WW a couple of years ago and was pleased to find out that Oreo cookies (trans-fats and all) were only 1 Point each. Now, imagine the true thrill I felt when I Pointed the whole bag and realized that I could have 30 cookies for a mere 23 Points!!! So, really, if I had 10 cookies, it would only be 8 Points. Although I might not have eaten a whole bag in a day, ten was certainly within the realm of possibility.

  7. I’ve re-discovered dried figs this week…mmm, they’re so sweet, and I’m sure they’re healthy, because it’s FRUIT!
    Ok,ok…I know it isn’t healthy, but I think it’s better than cookies. Actually I don’t have to think about them again, because I ate the last one about an hour ago!

    one of belgium’s diet girl fans!

  8. muahahaha well yes Fry’s Turkish Delight and Brazil Nuts are certainly on my list, in fact I have some of both (albeit unopened – yet) in my desk drawer at work. Hmm maybe that’s why I can’t lose weight πŸ˜› Are you sure that you’re not my Id writing while I sleep? heh.

    My Other Bullshit Calories – Mars Lite Chocolate Funsize (as if you can stop at one!), Gummi Bears and/ or Licorice (no fat!), Dried Fruit, Rice Crackers, and Air-popped Popcorn…

  9. I’ll third the popcorn. I mean, if it’s not got butter and salt it’s just packing material.

    And I’ll raise Kimba’s rice crackers with a new cheese flavoured corn/rice cracker I found at the supermarket. Tastes just like a Dorito. Oh my god, yum. And only 1.5 points for half a serve (quarter of a box). Which I can demolish just by breathing in too hard.

    Well, if I schlork down an entire box, it’s only 6 points…

  10. At least you eat pure nuts. I managed to convince myself yesterday that white chocolate with whole hazelnuts is not that bad because it contains 23% nuts, leaving only 77% chcolate. And I have a tendency to ignore calories from anything bought in a health food store. Unfortunately the one I frequent sells nougat rings, which have appr. 600 kcals, but they have a whole-wheat base.

  11. It’s definately got to be rice crackers and salsa for me. Yep they are so low in fat that I can eat a whole packet of crackers with a whole jar of salsa as an entree and have absolutely no guilt. Oh did I mention the bottle of crisp, cold chardy that goes with it. It’s just crushed grapes. Isn’t it?

  12. Holy crap, I’m in trouble! My BS calories come from anything I eat as I’m walking through the office that’s out for the sharing….Oh! Someone brought cookies to share! I’ll grab one on my way to the copier! No calories b/c I am definitely burning them off as I walk, right??? RIGHT??????

  13. Marshmallows. Definitley marshmallows. And no, I didn’t buy a bag of cutely coloured ones at the supermarket today when stocking up on veges… OK, I did. I mean, come on! Two slices of bread, or a bag of marshmallows? πŸ˜‰

  14. great blog.I agree with the popcorn! My worst thing for bullshit calories is chips. If they are on some1 elses plate then I fool myself into thinking they have no calories! oh well …I can dream.xxx

  15. Nutri-Grain bars – 3 points for what’s basically a bar of hydrogenated oil. But it’s got FRUIT and GRAIN! See? Healthy!

    I’m also one of those that’s been known to eat a banana for 1 point at breakfast and a 1 point can of soup at lunch so I feel justified in blowing the rest of my 24 points on a bag of Doritos.

  16. Forgot to mention raisins – they’re FRUIT! Come on! All that talk about how they’re loaded with sugar and too easy to overeat pisses me off.

  17. Rice cakes. Definitely. 20cals each, no fat, but they taste a lot better if you put something on them, like brie. Oops. I go through phases of buying them, though every now and then I decide they taste like expanded polystyrene.

    I also tend not to count whatever I have for breakfast (at the moment it’s Cranberry Wheats – shredded wheat is so much nicer with jammy stuff in the middle). I think I’ve translated “It’s better to eat a big breakfast than a big dinner” into “breakfast doesn’t count”.

  18. I would just like to present a brief justification for the bullshit calories that are nuts…
    they’re protein!
    they’re healthy!
    the !Kung live on the mongonut and live long….
    hmmmm….. not convinced?
    they’re protein!
    they’re healthy!
    Yes, I think that you can see that I refuse… that’s right, refuse not to buy the bullshit!!

  19. NUTS! Definetly are my favorite BS calories. I can eat a bag of a trek mix in one day! Trader Joe’s (small market chain in California) has a fantastic trek mix of almonds, cashews and dried cranberries.

  20. rice crackers, “light” chocolate bars – any type, cereal bars, diet yoghurt. Anything loaded up with sugar to disguise the fact that by removing fat they also remove flavour.

  21. I’m sure you all know about broken biscuits (cookies for the US buddies): Any biscuit in the bag that is broken has no calories, because all the calories leaked out through the break. And it still works if you deliberately break them, so long as you don’t eat it immediately after you go the snap. Those two-and-a-half seconds you leave the bikkie before schlorking it up let ALL the calories magically diappear…. well, it’s a good theory anyway.

  22. ooh jelly babies, wine gums, fruit pastilles – they’re all FAT FREE!!! i even can fool myself that fat free is low calorie.

  23. I tend to fool myself eating for example jellybeans instead of chocolate. Well I haven’t been having either of them recently because of my diet. I’m just sick of all the berries, veggies and fruits. In Finland we have nice fresh and cheap stuff very short time from June to September and then it’s all just grapes from India and apples from Italy etc. So now it’s really the easiest time to eat healthy. Blah. ( I read your fabulous book and now I’m stalking you via internet ;))

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