Tuesday, February 23, 2016

This is why you don't see [INSERT POPULAR ATHLETE NAME HERE] eating a burrito during a game.

See this commercial?

It's a commercial for something called Rev Wraps and while it is not everything wrong with America, it is a significant part of what is wrong with America.

Rev Wraps are burritos being marketed as health food to help you be a perfect athlete.  In case you read that really fast, I will summarize:

Burritos = health food 

THIS is America today. I have been seeing commercials for Rev Wraps for about a month now, and they feature young people enduring some terrible workout and having a burrito to get through it.  It is the de-healthenizing of America: taking a food and making the COMPLETELY UNSUPPORTABLE claim that it is health food. And it is getting worse all the time.

YEP THAT'S THE BEER SUPERATHLETES DRINK TO STAY SUPERATHLETES. Order me three, Sweetie, I'm going to do a marathon in the morning.

These commercials drive me NUTS, and not least because in my current state of existence a walk in the park nearly kills me. (Seriously; those pictures from the other day were at the end of a half-mile nature trail and I almost had to go to the hospital after slowly walking there and back.)  I would LIKE to be able to get back to running and exercising and maybe having at least some of my clothes still fit me and I RESENT THE BEJESUS out of people who think having a beer and a burrito makes them healthy.

THEY DO NOT.  Back when I was actually in great shape -- when I finished second in a 5k and when I could run 6 miles in 6-7 minutes per mile, and weighed 172 -- I had a treat for myself every week. Each Friday for lunch after my classes were done, I'd go get myself a gyro, and a pint of Ben & Jerry's, and some sesame sticks. And a Diet Coke. The total meal was about 2,100 calories. I was under no impression that it was healthy. I was under the impression that I'd run 42 miles that week --sometimes more -- and was going to have a treat.  When I wanted to actually lose weight -- I went from 270 to 162-- I ate 1000 calories a day, mostly salads and diet soda, and worked out an hour a day. I would allow myself to eat additional calories equal to the amount I'd burned working out. Even after I let up a bit, I would work out extra to work off those calories -- on Saturdays I'd run and go biking or rollerblading or something.

I never had a burrito to get myself up for working out.

I know some people will say Oh, they're selling that beer as a treat the way you had your Ben & Jerry's at the end of the week.  Others will say well a burrito has carbs and such so it could be energy.


The implicit and explicit message of the beer ad is if you drink this you will be healthier.  Michelob is expressly positioning itself as the drink for athletes. They've even started their "extra mile challenge."  But alcohol has been found to inhibit muscle repair and growth, It can affect your body's ability to store glycogen, so you won't have energy for your next cardio workout.  It's inherently dishonest to suggest that beer is in any way related to being healthier and a better athlete. Beer -- like many recreational foods -- detracts from athletic performance.  You will have to work harder if you have a beer after your run -- Michelob's extra mile is what's required to undo the effect of their beer.

And the burrito with it's protein?  Let's compare something.

The burrito -- I picked the pepperoni pizza variety -- has 290 calories per 77 grams. That's 3.76 calories per gram.

A Twinkie has 150 calories per 42.5 grams. That's 3.52 calories per gram.

But Twinkies, you're probably thinking, are unhealthy in other ways. They are -- but so are the "Rev" Burritos.  Rev has 20g of fat, 9 of which are saturated fats. That's 1 g of saturated fats per 8.5 g of food.  Twinkies have only 2.5 g of saturated fats per serving -- or exactly 1/2 the saturated fats per gram (1 g of fats per 17 g of Twinkie.)

Saturated fats, remember, are the bad ones. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 13g of saturated fats a day -- so 1 1/2 burritos exceeds that, while you could eat 6 Twinkies before you crossed the line.

The burrito has 920 mg of salt.  Twinkies have  220.  Again, on a per gram basis, Revs have 11 mg of salt per gram of food; Twinkies have 5.   2,300 is the max recommended -- so 2.5 Rev burritos, or 10 Twinkies.

While Rev burritos have 13g of protein -- or 5.9 g of protein per gram of food-- Twinkies have 1g per 42.5 grams of food; that's a lot less, but if you ate the maximum 2 burritos you'd get all that bad stuff and 26 grams of protein; you could eat the 10 Twinkies and get 10g of protein -- about 1/2 the protein total for the same amount of bad stuff.

Twinkies, by the way, have about the same protein as a banana. Bananas have only 1 mg of sodium and 0.1 g of saturated fats per banana. If you ate 26 bananas to match the protein of 2 Rev Burritos, you'd end up with 1.3 grams of saturated fat and 2.6 mg of sodium.

I'm not sure if there are young kids out there saying OMG I need to eat a burrito so I can be like whatever athletes are great now -- since Peyton Manning turned out to be a sexual-assaulting jerkoff I'm not sure WHO I can root for anymore -- but as with the beer, it's inherently dishonest to market a pile of sodium and saturated fat as a health food.  I seriously considered mounting a class action suit against the makers of REV Burritos for their deceptive advertising.  Instead, I'm just sitting here fuming in the dark. But maybe I will.  I could be a spokesperson for regular people everywhere, people who don't want to be misled anymore about what is healthy and what is not, people who are tired of having to watch stupid ads like these, people who just want to eat their Twinkies and be left alone.  Well maybe not so much that last group. Or mostly them. Whichever. Now I really want a Twinkie.

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