Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Advanced Search

Feeling rather advanced today, we proceed to the "three-step process to search according to brand(Healthy Choice, Marie Callender's, etc.), category (Frozen Foods, Snacks, etc.), or more detailed dietary restritions."

As an amusing aside, I copied and pasted the above line from the website and voila! a typo. Granted, I didn't catch it while reading the site but the spell checker on trusty blogspot was quick to notice. 

Step 1 gives us the choice to search by Brands or Categories. Upon making a selection (in this case Brands) you are then presented with step 2 and a giant list of Brands Available. You choose your brand and click >>ADD. You can choose more than one brand or add all brands. Interesting... 

In keeping with our theme, we'll choose Manwich and proceed to step 3. This is where things get even more advanced! In step 3 you're presented with two drop down boxes. The first one includes: 
  • Less than 
  • Less than or equal to
  • Equal to
  • Greater than or equal to
  • Greater than
I'm having flashbacks to elementary school math and something to do with which way the fish mouth is facing. Let's not spend too long in that nightmare and proceed.

In theory, the next step would be the little box to the right of the first drop down and before the second drop down box. I'm not sure what to put in the box so we'll move on to drop down box number two. Oh my... This is a dizzying array of choices. 

Is this helpful? Does some doctor say only eat things with more than 50 milligrams of potassium per serving? What about less an 50 milligrams of sodium per serving? That seems a bit more possible, though I think unlikely. Let's see what happens... Darn. If you were searching for Manwich with less than 50 milligrams of sodium per serving you would be very disappointed. "No results found. Please broaden your search criteria." What about with less than 100 milligrams of sodium per serving? Nope. No, Manwich for you.

How frustrating! What if I'm craving some Manwich and am trying to watch my sodium intake? 150 milligrams? So sorry. 200? Nope. 300? No again. 400? And, no. Finally, we get to searching for Manwich with less than 500 milligrams of sodium per serving and.... drum roll, please.... we have Manwich! And two choices of Manwich! Let's select the "i" for the Manwich Original 15.5 oz can and see what nutritional powerhouse is in store for us.

To make it easier to read, some results:
  • Serving size: 1/4 cup
  • Calories per serving: 40
  • Sodium: 410 mg (17% of your recommended daily intake)
  • Protein: less than 1 g
By eating 1/4 cup of Manwich (probably unlikely... I suspect most people mound at least 1/2 cup on a bun), you are rewarded with nearly 1/3 of the amount of sodium likely to be contained in the new daily recommendation guidelines due out later this year. And, it took you about 20 minutes to figure it out using the ConAgra website.

For the record, if you don't select or enter any data in the boxes you'll be presented with a list of all of the Manwich options. Granted, the website doesn't actually say you don't have to go through all of that agony to get an answer. If you do that, you get one more Manwich choice: Manwich Bold 16oz. And for the brave and the bold? You'll get 70 calories and 800 mg of sodium per a 1/4 cup serving.

I must admit, I would have given up on this crazy website long, long ago were it not for a greater purpose. An hour devoted to your health, dear readers. My advice? Avoid Manwich. Sorry, ConAgra but I think it should be against the rules to make such stuff and pawn it off as food. People need actual help not ill-health in a 1/4 cup serving.

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