June 22, 2008

Triscuit Trouble

Just like the moon, my snacking has phases. I'll be enamored by muenster cheese for six months then switch to Town House crackers. After a few weeks of those, I'll only want something with chocolate.

There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to these phases. It's kind of like pregnancy cravings, only they last six months and I never feel like chewing on dirt. For all I know, they could be dictated by the moon.

Fortunately I'm not planning on deciphering the science of cravings today. Instead I'll be tackling an equally challenging question: Why do Reduced Fat Triscuits exist?

Actually, to be more accurate, the question of the day is why regular Triscuits exist. The two versions of the classic cracker have identical flavors.

It's not as if anyone goes to the store saying, "I'll only buy shredded wheat snacks if they've been drizzled in extra fat." If they do, those people expect to taste that extra fat. Yet the only way to notice the difference between a regular Triscuit and a reduced fat one is to sit them on a paper towel for 20 minutes. The cracker with the bigger grease stain is the regular one.

The nutritional information on the boxes points out a significant difference, though. Regular Triscuits have 4.5 grams of fat and 0.5 grams of saturated fat per 28 gram serving, while Reduced Fat Triscuits only have 3 grams of fat and are completely free of the saturated stuff, according to Nabiscoworld.com.

Granted, those numbers don't seem to stand for much. What, exactly, do 28 grams of Triscuits look like? Unless you're planning on getting out your postal scale when you snack, you'll never know.

It all seems to boil down to this: I can choose to slowly choke my aorta with Reduced Fat Triscuits, or I can choose to choke my aorta a little more quickly with the regular ones. Either way, I have that delightfully crisp crunch and deep salty flavor Triscuits provide.

So I'll be lying awake tonight trying to figure out why Nabisco makes Reduced Fat Triscuits. Maybe it's to attract health nuts. Maybe it's so they can negotiate more shelf space in supermarkets.

Maybe it's because some people actually crave 1.5 more grams of fat in their snacks from time to time. Perhaps when the moon lines up with the Big Dipper, people just aren't satisfied with healthier shredded wheat.

Too bad I can't get pregnant. If I were with child, I might get a quick craving for regular Triscuits and be able to understand it all.

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