When it comes to weight loss, I think it’s pretty clear that veggies are the best way to get the biggest bang for your caloric buck. Vegetables are decidedly lower-calorie for very filling, very fibrous food. But by how much?

large-fries

It’s very rare that we get to see, in all its glory, a real comparison of vegetables stacked up against our – ahem – normal fare.

Thank you, BuzzFeed. May you never view a Cinnabon – or a Chipotle burrito, my word – the same way again. Whew. Good luck burning THAT off.

While I cannot ignore the fact that I’m a firm believer that 2,000 calories of protein in comparison to 2,000 calories of carbs, or 2,000 calories of complex carbs in comparison 2,000 calories of pure sugar all do comparably different things in the body… most people don’t even get that far in their understanding; some of us still, sometimes, need to see the sheer reason why they may be eating junk food and still feel unfulfilled. 2,000 calories of bread and frosting, or 2,000 calories of starchy, white, mushy, goes-down-easyness vs 2,000 calories of bacon or 2,000 calories of nutrition, fiber, and tangy-ness? For the first time in my life, I can admit it: I’d rather eat the bacon.

(It’s still #TeamANTIBacon, though.)

I’m also going to say, that it’s nice to talk about this in terms of Big Macs vs. Carrots, and while we’ll probably go on to wax nutrition about how 4 big macs might be cheaper – and more pleasant and “affirming” to eat – than a bajillion carrots, we need to put this into context. No one buys 4 big macs, by themselves, to eat 4 big macs, by themselves. Chances are high that you’re buying four value meals. It’s not simply 4 big macs – it’s 4 big macs, 4 large fries and 4 monster cokes… hopefully for four people.

On the point about “affirming,” that’s not as complicated as it sounds. Think about it – if all you have is $10, do you feel better about the little money you have if you can buy this giant spread of food – a big sandwich, a mountain of fries and a huge drink – or if you’re simply sticking to the carrots? That’s why those are called value meals. They’re designed to appeal to someone not entirely focused on nutrition, but someone to whom “value” is of the utmost importance: the person with the least amount of cash on hand.

And, if you really want to do epidemiological commentary – because that’s what this begins to boil down to – if you have very limited money on hand, chances are high that it’s because you’re working a demanding job that pays very little… and what goes hand in hand with “demanding job?” “Limited time to cook.” So…are you going to eat raw produce instead of big macs, because you have neither the time to cook (or the time you think it takes to cook) nor the time to learn?

While I can admit that the choice is rarely “do I eat 64 carrots today, or 4 big macs,” it still touches on that implication of the “cheapness” vs. “expensiveness” of one’s food choices, and the very blatant reality that is “the more nutritious the item, the greater the challenges.”

What do you think?