Have you ever heard of dark matter? Astronomers and other smart people have observed the collective gravitational influence of all the things they can see up there (mainly stars) and realized they don’t weigh enough to explain their relative motions. Scientists have hypothesized that dark matter exists to make up the difference, and in quantities greater than all the stars put together. Hold that thought.
There’s no end to the number of diet plans out there. The federal government has estimated that at any given point in time, 137% of Americans are on a diet. These numbers help fuel a diet and health industry that sells nearly eleventy-one billion dollars worth of goods and services every month. Just visit your typical grocery store: aisles upon aisles of “low calorie” this and “fat free” that. It seems that with all these plans and all these products, we should collectively be at our thinnest ever.
But we’re not. And if you’ve ever been on the internet or flipped through your favorite magazine, the reason is clear. It’s because of hidden calories.
So what are “hidden” calories? In short, these are the foods you eat during the day that don’t make it into your calorie count. They’re the dark matter of your daily diet. Let’s say you have a typical dieting day and like a good dieter, you’re logging your foods:
Breakfast: Toast with margarine. Orange juice. Coffee. (280 calories)
Lunch: Small Caesar salad. Bread. Diet Coke. (320 calories)
Dinner: Large Caesar salad. More bread. Regular Coke. (800 calories)
At the end of the day, those are the bright, visible stars that you can observe and easily catalog. But as the scale continues to inch upwards, you begin to theorize there must be unobserved dark calories out there. Now, let’s really take a look at your day.
Breakfast: Oh yeah. You took three swigs of your French vanilla creamer while waiting for the toast to pop. (200 calories)
Morning snack: That’s right. Debbie from Accounting brought in chocolate chip, blueberry, cinnamon and garlic bagels. (And those weren’t four different kinds of bagels: that was one bagel.) (300 calories)
Lunch: Ah, crap. Remember now? Someone asked, “Anyone want these? I don’t!” and dropped off a bag of regular Lay’s potato chips on your desk. (150 calories)
Afternoon snack: Dang it. Bill from Receiving made a round through the office handing out sticks of butter. (800 calories)
Dinner: Wait a sec. That was a Caesar salad. You didn’t need to add two tablespoons of Ranch dressing. (150 calories)
Evening Snack: Slaps forehead! While watching a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air marathon, you got the cashews out, didn’t you? (400 calories)
Aw, man, look at that. A perfect, 1,400 calorie healthy food day ruined by an additional 2,000 calories that somehow snuck in completely undetected.
Thanks a lot, Astronomers.