Irritations of Modern Life: 14. Fat-Free Foods
Aside from The Independent, Annalisa Barbieri writes for the Economist's Intelligent Life magazine, and the New Statesman. A former contributing editor of the Independent on Sunday and fishing correspondent of the Independent, she is also patron of Rights of Women
Wednesday 09 September 1998
I understand the point of them. You feel like a naughty snack, you buy an XX per cent fat-free bar of chocolate, you eat it and bingo. No guilt. But not that much pleasure, either. And with not much pleasure comes frustration, and before you know it, there are three wrappers marked XX per cent fat- free stuffed down the side of the sofa.
For that you could have had a Mars Bar and felt satisfied, and your fingers would have been sticky with glorious full-fat chocolate. Instead you feel like a miserable failure.
A McVitie's chocolate biscuit has 23.9g of fat per 100g of product - 87 calories per biscuit. The Go-Ahead version has only 14g of fat per 100g, but it is still 55 calories per biscuit. Yes, I know it is not just the calories that matter but my point is that for an extra 22 measly calories you can lick the melting chocolate off a far-tastier-dunked-in-tea biscuit.
Jacob's launched its Vitalinea range a few months ago. Half-way through a packet of its Crispy Chocolate biscuits a colleague spluttered "Oh God. These still contain 16g of fat and I've just had 140 calories' worth of them" (although this did equate to 10 whole biscuits). All in the name of fat freeness, she would not even have been eating them if that wretched banner proclaiming XX per cent fat-free had not been scrolled across the wrapper. Because yes, doesn't it seem that just by eating them you are on the road to being fat-free?
Now take Entenmann's cakes. Hallelujah, I thought, when I saw its (95 per cent fat-free) Double Chocolate Muffins in Tesco. But it is a simple sum to calculate: little fat, little taste. We are all looking for a short cut; we all want to eat as much as we like but miraculously lose weight. I will let you in to a secret; my new book will be about this and it is called The Secret of Losing Weight. The first chapter is called "Food" and it says "Eat less and you will lose weight". The second (and final) chapter is called "Moving" and it says, "Move more and you will lose weight".
Of all the fat-free garbage we have been bombarded with the best was the Mars Light which, in fact, annoyingly, we were not bombarded with at all. After trialling it only in Wales and the West Country, Mars withdrew it. Bring it back! We would know where we were with this: a gorgeous Mars but with half the fat of the Marianne Faithfull variety.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 3 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway amid dense fog
- 4 Penis size: Study revealing 'what's normal' sends international media into meltdown
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
The Great Comic Relief Bake Off, review: Alexa Chung's secret skills impress but Chris Moyles makes Paul Hollywood gag
Drugs Live: Twitter responds to Jon Snow and Jennie Bond smoking cannabis
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Seth Rogan's pot fumes delay hacked Sony boss’s office move
India's Daughter: BBC Four documentary provokes outrage on Twitter
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin