Before I get to the math part of this post (and math being my favorite subject makes it hard for me to get side-tracked from those wonderful numbers) I have to give credit to my friend Marcia for getting me to even think about this matter.
Marcia is a dear friend who shares my love of home and family and CAMP!, but most importantly and independent of our other interests, a love of Jesus Christ our Savior. Marcia has been sharing her spiritual and physical battle with obesity in her blog Fat Little Secrets. I appreciate Marcia's candidness about her struggles and her willingness to be a help to other women who may also be struggling.
Marcia is using the Weight Watchers program and exercise to manage her diet and get her health under control. She is working, hard! Her program is not a quick-fix-easy-eat-as-you-please routine. I have appreciated her advice on food substitutions and portion control as I navigate my own journey through middle age and a natural change in metabolism.
So, all of these things were sort of floating in the back of my brain recently when I passed a Twinkie display in the grocery store. I saw them, and I wanted one. I REALLY wanted one. And the dumb thing was, and I knew it was dumb, is that I don't even like Twinkies! I just felt like eating something and they looked good and somehow as a kid I guess I thought I liked them, or bought into the advertizing that said I liked them. But I knew I didn't really want to buy a box of them because after one bite I would remember why I didn't like them.
So, I just went to the aisle and walked past them to make myself feel better. There, right next to the real deal was the Weight Watchers version, and I thought of Marcia and her substitutions (which sometimes, but certainly not always, include the program's name brand products).
And I wondered what the difference was between the two treats. I picked up the boxes and compared. Regular cake--150 calories, Diet cake--80 calories. Hmmm, almost half the calories, not bad. I put the boxes back and walked on.
I stopped and wondered what the difference was in the "serving size". I turned around. Regular cake--43 grams (this was not included on the label, but 10 cakes were 430 grams and, well, I told you I like math (I did it in my head, too); Diet cake--25 grams. Hmmm, almost half the serving size, too.
Something started to click. I didn't have enough math cells or time to do too much in-the-store figuring so I got out a pen and paper and jotted down the numbers to compare at home.
I headed for the checkout. I stopped and wondered what the price difference was between those cakes (you think I'd have thought of that earlier). I dismissed it and kept going. But it got to me and I turned around. Regular cakes--$0.24 per cake, Diet cake--$0.50 per cake. Hmmm, the diet cake, rather than halving the regular just doubled it.
I went home and did the math. When lining up the two cakes, gram for gram (comparing a whole diet cake with slightly more than half a regular cake) the difference was this--7 calories (2 fat calories), 3.4 mg cholesterol, 50 mg sodium, and .7 g carbohydrates.
An even half of a regular cake was 22.5 grams compared to the diet cake's 25 grams with an overall difference of 5 calories, .75 g cholesterol, 30 mg sodium, and 1.5 g carbohydrates.
It turns out you could buy a box of the regular cakes and cut each one in half and have 20 servings instead of getting a box of diet cakes with 6 servings. The cost for a serving with the half a regular cake is $0.12 versus $0.50 for the diet.
So Marcia, this one's for you. I know that you have achieved an amazing level of discipline as you have so faithfully followed your diet and exercise plan. I don't even know if you LIKE Twinkies, but if you do...there's the math. (Keep up the good work!!)
NOTE: It goes without saying, even though I'm saying it anyway, that if someone would struggle with spreading out those 20 servings of half-cakes over their determined number of days they may be better off to just spend the money and let that psychological factor of "I got to eat the whole thing" work for them. I was just doing the math!