Hold The Protein Bar

I don’t appreciate this New York Times takedown of protein bars.

The lowlights:

“Manufacturers of these products would have you believe that they can improve your health and your workout. The website for Clif Bar shows people hurling kettlebells or racing through the rain; Gatorade describes its protein bar as ‘scientifically designed for athletes.’ Others seem to brand themselves under the squishy umbrella of wellness. Their marketing features photos and videos of serene women writing in journals, with tips for preventing burnout on the side.

Despite the advertising, though, nutrition experts say that protein bars aren’t all that healthy.

‘You can put ‘keto’ or ‘protein’ on a candy bar and sell it, and people don’t even question it,’ said Janet Chrzan, an adjunct assistant professor of nutritional anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.”

Can we trust Chrzan, when she’s missing a vowel or two? Prob not, but she’s not the only one with bad news:

“But many protein bars are also full of sugar. A chocolate chip Clif Bar, for example, contains 16 grams of added sugars, more than what’s in a serving of Thin Mints. A Gatorade protein bar in the flavor chocolate chip contains 28 grams of added sugars, twice the amount in a Dunkin’ Donuts chocolate frosted doughnut with sprinkles.

‘By and large, they’re highly processed, high in sugar and salt — kind of a ‘Frankenfood,’’ Dr. Cutting-Jones said. Dr. Rimm agreed: ‘Many protein bars are really just ‘candy bars with a lot more protein,’ he said.”

Has Cutting-Jones ever seen Thin Mints or a frosted doughnut with sprinkles in the back pocket of a cycling jersey after even a few minutes in the saddle.

Sigh. The one thing nutritionists seemingly agree upon is that we should avoid eating any foods that require removing a wrapper. Guess I’ll wait for some team of scientists to figure out how to grow Snickers in the wild.

Postscript: Is it donut or doughnut?

Best Runs of the Year

The New York Times has a great collection of anecdotes from all types of runners on their best runs of 2022. Here’s one:

I’m 63 years old and took up running during the pandemic. I’m very slow. But I get it done: 3.5 miles, three times a week. I was running on the East River Esplanade and enjoying the first crisp day of autumn when I ran by a young man sitting on a bench strumming his guitar. This was probably the third time I’d run past when I heard “Fitness! Hey, FITNESS!” I looked over and he gave me a thumbs-up and shouted, “Looking good!” Women of a certain age tend to disappear, never to be seen. So, being recognized for trying to better myself felt magical.

— H.K. Watts, 63, New York

On The Tone Of One’s Voice

Late last week, armed only with a headlamp while on an early morning run, I approached the col de Merc (antile Store) in pitch blackness. I vaguely saw something coming right at me in the middle of the lux bike lane, but couldn’t make it out until it got closer. It was a speeding bro dressed in very dark clothes on a very dark bike. He had just descended the col de Merc and was flying when I yelled “GET A LIGHT!” at him. He didn’t u-turn to (try to) kick my ass because he had headphones in.

Maybe he took the Mariners-Astros series too hard and wanted to end it.

Fast forward to yesterday’s early morning pitch black run. I could feel a car behind me as I turned into our hood so I made sure to hug the left shoulder so they had ample room for their left-hand turn. A middle aged man driving a beater Nissan Sentra pulled up right next to me and rolled down his window. “Okay,” I said to myself, “it’s on like Donkey Kong.” Ask Dan, Dan, the Transpo Man, when my heart rate is elevated, I sometimes morph from chillaxed pacifist to too easily triggered numbskull.

He had a kind look on his face and his soft voice was that of a Zen Buddhist. “Hey, I just wanted to let you know, you’re really hard to see from behind.” It wasn’t so much what he said, but HOW he said it. His tone conveyed genuine concern for my well-being.

When I yelled at my dark, speeding, headphoned “friend”, my tone was way, way more self-regarding. “Don’t be an arse,” my shout conveyed, “you easily coulda ran me over.”

Think about how you say things, and be the Zen Buddhist driver, not me.

Molly Seidel—A Case Study For Our Times

Things aren’t always as they appear. Or maybe that saying needs updating. . . things rarely are as they appear.

Case in point, Molly Seidel, Olympic medalist, who is especially ebullient in public.

From Runner’s World, “Molly Seidel Want You to Know That She Still Struggles.”

Another reason to error on the side of kindness.

Apple Is Selling Fear

So says Michael Gartenberg.

After outlining Apple’s new safety-oriented product enhancements, Gartenberg concludes:

“The implied message is: ‘If you want to live, buy our stuff.’ Apple now sells devices the way First Alert sells smoke detectors. 

Sadly, he’s absolutely right. 

A prediction. Apple’s new “life-saving” product enhancements will lead to increased rates of anxiety and related mental health issues. 

Apple is a company that prides itself on being socially conscious, better than the rest.

How disappointing.  

Paragraphs To Ponder

“In 2021, the average American could expect to live until the age of 76, federal health researchers reported on Wednesday. The figure represents a loss of almost three years since 2019, when Americans could expect to live, on average, nearly 79 years.

The reduction has been particularly steep among Native Americans and Alaska Natives, the National Center for Health Statistics reported. Average life expectancy in those groups was shortened by four years in 2020 alone.

The cumulative decline since the pandemic started, more than six and a half years on average, has brought life expectancy to 65 among Native Americans and Alaska Natives — on par with the figure for all Americans in 1944.”

US Life Expectancy Falls Again in ‘Historic’ Setback.

‘You’re Dead To Me’

Kaitlyn Tiffany’s thoughtful reflection on the increasing tendency of people to cut one another out of their lives.

“The internet is wallpapered with advice, much of it delivered in a cut-and-dried, cut-’em-loose tone. Frankly worded listicles abound. For instance: ‘7 Tips for Eliminating Toxic People From Your Life,’ or ‘7 Ways to Cut a Toxic Friend Out of Your Life.’ On Instagram and Pinterest, the mantras are ruthless: ‘There is no better self-care than cutting off people who are toxic for you’; ‘If I cut you off, chances are, you handed me the scissors.’ The signature smugness and sass of Twitter are particularly well suited to dispensing these tidbits of advice. I don’t know who needs to hear this, a tweet will begin, suggesting that almost anyone might need to hear it, but if someone hurts your feelings, you are allowed to get rid of them. There is even a WebMD page about how to identify a ‘toxic person,’ defined aggressively unhelpfully as ‘anyone whose behavior adds negativity and upset to your life.’ Well, by that measure … !”