A hearty, spicy roll drizzled with sweet frosting

I took the silica gel's advice.


  1. Looks like you didn’t miss much.  Aesthetics aside, that is the smallest cinnamon bun I’ve ever seen.

    1. Spoken like a another fat American (of which I am one)

      Lots of places in the world have more reasonable sizes. Small than that one.

      1.  That’s not a snack or dessert, that’s the entire meal and it’s only 1.8 ounces. Where in the world is less 1.8 ounces considered a reasonable size for a meal?

    1. Or have allergies. Or other special dietary needs. Or are on an airplane. Or live in one of the many, many, many places in the US where there are no local bakeries because the Wal-Mart’s eaten them all. Or are traveling, have no clue where the local bakery is, and don’t really want to exit the freeway to get there. Or are hungry right now. Or have a health condition that may require you to have carbs on hand. Or any number of other ways you couldn’t give people the benefit of the doubt. :(

      1. So he has a health condition that requires eating only old rolls due to allergies, while on a plane, that flies to Wal-Mart locations in non-urban areas and is avoiding highway exits.  Plus he is hungry right now and must raid the Nutri-System stash!

        1.  That does sound pretty crazy when you put it that way. Every flight I’ve ever taken would end up on a highway exit ramp at some point.

    2. According to the packaging it is an example of Nutrisystem’s prepackaged food for their weight loss program. People on the plan have to buy the specially formulated and portioned foods and eat them according to schedule. It apparently aids in weight loss by killing one’s appetite.

  2. The actual roll looks nothing like the picture on the wrapper.  It’s like deceptive advertising or something.  Is that possible?

    1. Nah, it says “serving suggestion” in small print to the lower right of the muffin. They suggest you scrape off the topping, add one of your own, and then put a couple raspberries next to it.

        1. If more than half the audience understands the headline on first pass, you’ve failed. We have no business coddling the reader. This one’s a winner.

    2. Actually, the roll and the icing are all very much NutriSystem items that you get in the package. However, and this is a big however, it is not delivered with the icing already on and they have literally a ton of rolls to choose the ideal “representative” product. It’s actually pretty standard work for a food dresser and food photographer. They have a TON of tricks they can use even before the limited Photoshop work. 
      It’s also perfectly and totally legal.

  3. Although, if you want to go into business making “Edible Silica Gel” – thus packing new suitcases with a tasty treat for the recipient – I think it could catch on – give me a call.

  4. If it has an “ingredients” label, it’s not real food.  It’s processed metabolic entertainment,  optimized for psychological addictiveness rather than nutrition.  It’s someone trying to make a buck by slowly killing you.

    Eat real food.  Not plastic packets of “consumer chow”.

    1. but it has the word “Nutrisystem” on the packet, in a reassuringly sciencey sort of font.   I, for one, am convinced that this product has been engineered by some of our planet’s finest nutritionologists.

    2. Plenty of real foods have ingredients labels.  Otherwise I agree with you.

      I have no problem with the fact that there are lists of ingredients on things like yogurt and bread.  I just prefer the ingredients to all be food.

          1. That depends on the person consuming the food. But no, they aren’t all “bad”.  I didn’t imply that, but maybe you were replying to the previous comment.

        1. If we consider bread and yoghurt to be processed foods, and presumably also any other cooked, baked or otherwise interfered-with food (which is, after all, what processed literally means, I guess, to be fair) then cheese must also be a processed food.  What on earth, then, is “processed cheese”?

          Could it be, perhaps, that in certain contexts words like “processed” take on special meanings which render “processed cheese” a non-tautological expression?  I certainly know the difference between cheese and processed cheese.


          1. lol, yes – @boingboing-7020b2c8a7fcf98937fced7a6028f188:disqus  they haven’t actually been refried y’know!

            (why can I not reply to those messages?? odd…)

            @boingboing-82164bffe4ccc2dbd0163c9486f9e62a:disqus biscotti have actually been baked twice, so the use of “twice-baked” is perfectly sensible and not tautological at all.

            But fair play, we do say tautological stuff all the time.  It wasn’t so much the core of the argument as the development of my thought.  My point is rather than the “processed” in “processed food” is a different from the “process” in “any food product which has been through any process”.  What is the difference?  Heck, I dunno – nor do I have to.  I merely observe that there is a difference.  I haven’t done a comprehensive survey, but I nevertheless dare to assert that when most English speakers are talking about “processed food” they do not mean “freshly baked bread”.  Perhaps they should, but they don’t.

          2.  I consider the inclusion of an h in the word yogurt to be a form of unnecessary processing. 

          3. cheese is a “processed food”. It is the mother of processed food. Curd is separated from whey and formed into a portable and sometimes preserved method of consuming milk. I love cheese.

    3. Naturalistic fallacy. Just because its natural doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Nature wants nothing more than to kill every one of us, something I’m reminded of every time I walk out the door. And I live in one of the nicest places on earth. 

      1.  Nature itself, or things that make up Nature? A Lion may be happy to kill a human and eat them, does that mean that Gaia herself told the Lion to do that? It’s a competitive system, the strong and wily survive, the others, less well.

      2. Nature wants nothing more than to kill every one of us

        It’s worse than that. Nature doesn’t give a shit. Nature doesn’t know or care that you exist. Nature will eventually and inevitably kill you without even noticing you were there.

        1. But simultaneously – and not to be overlooked – Nature will assist and benefit you constantly.  It will give you freebies, it will bail you out when you have no other hope.  It will take care of you and protect you with no demand for repayment.
          Nature is.

    4. If it has an “ingredients” label, it’s not real food.

      This is the sort of nonsensical twaddle that gives locavores, otherwise-sensible people, a bad name.

    5. What type of food does _not_ have an ingredients label?

      Afaik, _everything_ that has ingredients must name them. 
      So … fresh fruit and vegetables, raw meat, and … eggs?

      I’d like to know whether you can actually live on an “ingredient-free” diet, but I doubt it.
      Okay, so if you’re lucky, where you live, flour doesn’t have an ingredients label, so you might be able to bake your own bread, but what are you gonna put on it? Honey ? This is getting hard.

      Pro tip: If they sell you stuff at the bakery without a label, that label is still on display, at least in my part of the world. Because, you know, if they _have_ ingredients, they need to name them.

      1. Dude! Seriously?  Eggs from my neighbour’s chickens, potatoes and tomatoes from the garden, apples from trees, nettles from waste ground and mushrooms from the forest.  Whole buncha food all over the place with no ingredients on it.

    6. I know for a fact troll chow is made of the tears of the innocent preserved with citric acid, so this is a completely moot point, food troll.

  5. There’s probably as much nutrition in the silica gel packet and packaging as their is in the food unit. Also, the non-food unit to food unit ratio is very high.

    1.  I literally laughed out loud at that. I appreciate your honesty and found the presentation hilarious. Kudos.

  6. What is it made of?  Processed wood fiber, petroleum derived flavors, and chlorine blasted sugar product?  The silica gel is probably better for you.  Either that or go out and chew on the bark of a tree.  The maples are slightly sweet.

    1. Leave the maples alone!!!! The Vermont Sugar Maples, for example, are very disturbed by global warming and are moving north.

  7. Why is there a silica gel packet in with the pastry?  I would expect that it is desirable to keep the pastry moist–not dry.

    1. I’m guessing it’s designed to have a shelf-life of 10,000 years.  Any moisture would allow some kind of extremophile bacteria to survive and breed in there.

    2. it actually indicates a lack of preservatives. The silica gel is there to absorb moisture – if there were preservatives, it wouldn’t matter if moisture was present or not.

    3. Simple – it’s not meant for carbon-based lifeforms. Rigellia XII’s denizens buy these by the caseload and wonder why there’s a bunch of inedible carbon and glucose.

    4. It might not actually be silica gel.  I can’t read the label.  It could be an oxygen absorber.

  8. I might add that silica gel is also a common “ingredient” in beef jerky packs.



    1. The ironic thing is, beyond the long scary names and frightening capital letters, none of these except for the hydrogenated oils are really disturbing or dangerous in the slightest. It may not taste as good as a “real” cinnamon bun from Le Pretense, hand-knitted from wheat grown in the patissier’s own ears and ethically sourced Bolivian spider honey but I don’t think you’re going to notice a whole lot of health difference as long as you’re observing the principle of “Don’t eat cinnamon buns every day of your life, schmuck.”

      1. GMO Soybean oil, cellulose (made from wood), inulin (more wood), soy flour (more GMO soy), artificial flavors, corn fiber (ground up corn cobs),  potassium sorbate (preservative), hydrogenated oils (trans fats), titanium dioxide (paint or sunscreen)…

        Yeah…no thanks. Maybe your not picky. Great! Not me. I won’t eat that. It doesn’t taste good, it’s not good for you. It lacks nutrition and is chock full of stuff I don’t want in my body.

        Having treats once in a while is a completely different topic.

        1. Corn fiber is not made from ground up corn cobs.  Hydrogenated oils are saturated fats, not trans fats (you’re thinking of partially hydrogenated oils).  What makes you think the soy is GMO?

          1. Scary genetically modified soy!

            Does GM mean bad at the moment in the US? I mean I’m all for organic, but pretty much every vegetable we eat has been genetically modified at some point. This isn’t a crowd I expected to be scared of the science boogeyman.

            Also, no one cares about the use if palm oil, purely on ethical grounds?

        2. Tell me, in scientific, non-BS terms, how this product is anymore deficient in nutrients than a fresh-baked, 100% non-GMO organic roll is. I’m assuming you mean micronutrients because, except for its fiber content, the vast majority of its mass is water and macronutrients. In any case, any fat-drenched, refined sugar-heavy, flour-based concoction that comes out of a patisserie is a chemistry experiment that *I* sure as hell don’t want in *my* body.

          1. I didn’t say that. I said I *don’t want to eat whats in it!* !!! Jesus. The rest of you can have at it.  BTW, I don’t make a habit of eating baked goods. It doesn’t matter if they are organic. It’s not really good for anyone to eat on a regular basis.

        3. You know what else is made of cellulose, other than wood? Every damn cell wall in every other plant on the planet.

          So, are you telling me that you’re somehow maintaining a plant-free diet in order to avoid the demon cellulose?

        4. Cellulose….uh oh, scary!

          Ever eaten a vegetable? You know cellulose is the most common organic molecule in the world, right? 

          No? Thought not. Learn something.

          1. Oh my god. That’s the revelation of my life, thank you genius commenter. This is in regards to cellulose in the context of food ingredients. Not the whole of biology.

        5. It just strikes me as perhaps naive to argue something is dangerous because it has a scary-sounding name, scary-sounding source, or scary-sounding uses, when it’s demonstrably not that harmful in moderation. (e.g., The corn fiber bit is IMHO ridiculous, unless there’s some grotesque health hazard here I’m ignorant of. Are you one of those people who freaks out over carrageenan because it sounds funny too? Marketers love that attitude, it helps them immensely. :( )

          The GMO stuff, I will at least admit the jury’s out, though I think statistically clear it’s not causing health problems for most already healthy people and… come on, I already *granted* you the trans fats (i.e. hydrogenated oils) are not so good. Those do distress me, because they’re unnecessary, the evidence *is* good they’re very harmful, and the labeling around them is full of loopholes.

          But I’m sorry. I used to work with a vegan health fanatic who fretted at me just like this for years, and none of his assertions ever convinced me after I did the research. These issues are not the cut-and-dried things you say, and while I’ll hardly blame you for being cautious, treating this only modestly unwholesome pastry like utter non-food is kinda silly.

          I’ll agree with you that it’s not good for you, but dammit, neither is the aforementioned $14 “wholesome” bun from some yuppie locavore health food store, and you presented no reason to think it’s that much better, which was my whole point. Food science is not in itself evil; substances with >10 letter names are not inherently harmful.

          There’s just a whole lot of [citation needed] in your comment.

          [Edit: For instance, everything I can find on titanium dioxide toxicity, from anything besides direct inhalation of particles, looks totally speculative. Care to back that one up?]

      2. I’m pretty committed to the “eat closer to home, with real-er foods” thing, but…

        “Bolivian spider honey” is a damned good fun-poking. I’ll be adding it to my self-deprecation arsenal.  

    2. thank you…why eat processed overpriced convenience crap when it is so easy to eat real food? I will never eat this shit, you can’t make me….I’m not an elitist, I’m simply happy….stick yo head in the microwave if you think my comment is offensive…..

      1. Same thing that makes Oreo cookie stuffing white and skim milk appear richer.  Interestingly, I believe that Titanium Dioxide doesn’t even have to be on the label because it passes through the body unaltered (info from a seminar I attended on paint).  So props to them for being so up front about the ingredients.

        1. Same thing that makes Oreo cookie stuffing white…it passes through the body unaltered

          So if one were to eat a sufficient quantity of Oreo cookie stuffing…

          1. People said that about lead. And asbestos.

            If you don’t need it and it’s made in a lab, it’s generally best to avoid it. Aluminium in deodorant anyone?

            I love oreos, btw, but that doesn’t change the principle.

          2. If you don’t need it and it’s made in a lab, it’s generally best to avoid it

            Titanium dioxide isn’t made in a lab, it’s dug up out of the ground.

            Aluminium in deodorant anyone?

            Not sure what your point is. Alum deodorants contain aluminium, and have a very long tradition. Alternatively, you don’t need deodorants, and they’re made in a lab.

        1. I don’t use sunscreen made with lead white. 
          Although it tastes better.  Slightly sweet. 

  10. Google says that Nutrisystem is a weight loss brand. I guess their method is to make looking enough to lose appetite.

    1. Another approach is to replace the light bulb in your refrigerator with a blue colored bulb.  It makes the food look less appetizing and can help some people cut down.

  11. Food elitism is really annoying.

    Is this a cage-free, farm-fresh, gourmand treat? No. Is it perfectly edible, safe, and part of a system desperately unhappy people are using to try regaining control over their bodies? Looks like it.

    It must be easy to pick fresh fruit from the passing trees when you’re up on a high horse.

    1. Wouldn’t it make sense to have the volume of frosting be more like that shown on the picture though? I think it’s the apparent 1:1 bun-to-frosting ratio that is putting most people off here.

      Looking at the tone of and offerings on the website, I’m also dubious about just how much “regaining control over their bodies” the company actually allows “desperately unhappy people”. It’s all footnotes and not-actually-free freebies. “Exploitation” might be a more apt term.

      1. Really? Because the comments here are all about implying there’s something untoward about all those “ingredients” the package dare list, or the smart inclusion of a silica packet. I see sparse mention of the frosting.

        Oh, I’m not saying Nutrisystem is a GOOD system for losing weight, but it is what it is.

        1. I think of it this way: delicious, nutritious, and cheap are three important characteristics of food. Hitting all three typically requires the presence of a good cook in the family (and maybe living in the countryside). Hitting two is typically straightforward and frequently encountered. Junk food is delicious and cheap, a nice restaurant or home assembled (i.e. simpler than home cooked) meal is delicious and nutritious, and something basic is nutritious and cheap. Because hitting two is relatively straightforward, hitting one will tend to elicit some criticism. Whether it is just delicious (e.g. molecular gastronomy at exorbitant prices), just nutritious (e.g. a stomach-turning health shake), or just cheap (this frosting-slathered, infinite shelf-life excuse for a cinnamon bun).

          1. The idea that junk food is delicious is sort of like the idea that meth makes you peppy.

          2. Antinous, I’m not sure where this ‘tude of yours is coming from, but it’s not helping you make your case any.

            Some people enjoy certain foods more than others. You may group all “junk” food into the non-delicious category, but it’s a big world out there with lots of opinions. Realize that people differ.

            And maybe I’m just totally misreading you, because you seem to be implying that you believe junk food to not be delicious, but methamphetamine ABSOLUTELY makes users peppy, so I’m a bit confused.

          3. Junk food is revolting. Claiming that it’s delicious sounds like a crackhead saying that he smokes because it’s fun, not because he’s addicted.

    2. ” It must be easy to pick fresh fruit from the passing trees when you’re up on a high horse.”

      Actually it is a ladder, I can see how the four ‘feet’ through you off though. And yeah, if you use a ladder, your hands, your knees, etc to pick your food, it might actually be better for you.

      “Food elitism is really annoying.” Then why are you doing it?

      1. When I was 8 year old one of my favourite hobbies was to pick wild cherries in the woods, climbing barefoot on cherry trees. Really a posh thing to do.
        What about picking figs with a tin can tied with a corn stem?

      2.  So when there’s 2 feet of snow on the ground you subsist on the root vegetables in your cellar and whatever you canned last summer, hoping the rats don’t get your flour and the shortening holds up till spring?

    3. Why is it annoying? You can still eat all the crap you want. No one is stopping you. Why does it bother you that some folks have higher standards? Stop taking it personally, no one cares.

      1. Sounds like you do.  I’ve never seen so much butt hurt in my life outside of conversations concerning child rearing and food choices.  I’ve seen several replies from you and you’re all “stop taking it personally, no one cares”?  Christ on a nutrisystem cracker.

      2. Well, maybe because we have a few folks left on the planet who are starving to death, and they could be fed but for our fads. And over-consumption of meat of course.

        There’s nothing bad about hybrid foods: grow better; grow more abundantly; resist critters; last longer; rape less soil; require less infrastructure…

        But as long as we can have our vanity foods then FTW eh?

    4. You might want to examine your own diet, because something seems to be making your spleen swell.

    5. I don’t see how preying on desperate people who are made so insecure about their body that they feel obligated to try every method under the sun to “lose those few extra pounds” is anything near a good thing…

      1. Not that I’m lining up for Nutri System, but I’m 6’2″, 250lbs, and I am *not* an athlete.  If I lost 30-40 lbs, I would be much healthier and probably happier.  We DO have a real weight problem in this country and the percent with a distorted body image is much much smaller than the percentage that really do need to shed some weight.

  12. If the Nutrisystem goal is to wean you off food by presenting this object as food, then they may well succeed.

  13. While some of Nutrisystem food is crap, that particular item tastes great once heated in a microwave. It’s all shelf stable, so resembles vending machine food a bit.

    Cinnabun it is not, but it’s part of a breakfast you can have every day (you eat that with a fruit serving, such as strawberries or half a banana if I recall correctly

    I found the breakfast food and lunch bars most appetizing, the lunch soups least appetizing  (very bad cup o noodlesesque).

    While I eventually stopped it, for someone who’s horrible at cooking (not me), and short on time, I think it’s a workable system. 

    1. Ever try eating a real cinnamon bun with breakfast? Probably save you money, and be twice as delicious, and equally void of any nutritional value.

  14. Is Nutrisystem the one about which Graham Norton said it works just like bulimia, only bulimia tastes better?

  15. Lord Rob, if you are trying to lose weight hopefully this will work out for you, but if not, hope you find a way that includes more appetizing foods. That looks like a perfect combination of not filling and not pleasing, practically guaranteed to induce a mid-day binge. 

  16. Good thing they put that “serving suggestion” on the picture on the package.  Otherwise Rob would have been all like, “hey, where’s teh two rasberries?”   :D

    1. That’s simplistic, and that “Professor of Nutrition” has a PhD in Exercise Physiology.

  17. When I decided to lose weight, I bought a used treadmill and started eating out of rice bowls in place of the garden-pond-sized bowls that came with our plates.  That pretty much did it.  Even if you go back for “seconds” you end up eating less.  I used to live on vending machine food, too.  These days, I’d as soon eat the wrapper as that ‘bun’.

  18. I’ve always found the same disconnect between frozen pizza photos on the box and the final product.  There should be some sort of ‘truth in advertising’ law against this!

  19. Portion control IS a big part of healthy eating habits, but there’s so much more that has to happen before an unhealthy person can reach that point. Effective weight loss begins with an effective system. An effective system leads to tangible results. Results lead to a sense of accomplishment and self-control. Finally, self-control leads to the discipline needed to maintain better eating habits, which lead to better stress-coping habits, better exercise habits and so on. But it all starts with that system.

    I can’t speak to Nutrisystem’s effectiveness (or lack thereof), but I can say that is one desperate-looking snack bun.

  20. It took me about 10 seconds to realise that the thing inside the cardboard box and the picture of the cinnamon roll on the wrapping were actually related. I was puzzling at my screen, wondering what a moldy dog turd had in common with a cinnamon roll.

  21. What does it look like after it’s heated? You know that stuff is supposed to melt, right?

  22. The only thing I see delicious in that photo is the glass of water and maybe a  bite out of the granite counter:
    Wikipedia:A worldwide average of the chemical composition of graniteSiO2 — 72.04% (silica)Al2O3 — 14.42% (alumina)K2O — 4.12%Na2O — 3.69%CaO — 1.82%FeO — 1.68%Fe2O3 — 1.22%MgO — 0.71%TiO2 — 0.30%P2O5 — 0.12%MnO — 0.05%

  23. Eating a bun with icing for breakfast — whether from a Park Slope bakery or a vending machine in downtown L.A. — is not the way to lose (or maintain) weight.

    Some protein and a piece of fruit (not juice) would provide much more energy without the mid-morning carb crash, for about the same amount of calories.

  24. I wouldn’t worry about the titanium dioxide. But potassium sorbate, sulfite, phosphate and acetate are not good for you.

  25.  I’m reminded of Carl Sagan’s quote about how to make homemade apple pie from scratch.  First, you need to create the universe . . .

  26. To everyone commenting about deception in advertising, please come out from under your rocks now and realize that NOTHING you see in advertising is real. NOT. ONE. THING (much like most of your facebook pages I’m sure).
    Also, NutriSystem is a weight loss program and it’s there to help people, so lay off. If you’ve never struggled, than good for you. Not everyone has time to cook or prep food on their own. Not everyone can just exercise and watch what they eat and see results they want or need. Also, unless you are buying your food from a local farm, farmers market, bakery or local butcher, growing it yourself or slaughtering it yourself, you are most likely eating processed food.  

    1. Maybe the absence of self respect inherent in being willing to ingest this morsel is a bigger problem than any perceived weight problem.

      1. Maybe your absence of empathy for the people that need nutritional support is a smaller problem than your perceived know-it-all attitude. . . That is, unless we choose to open up this forum to cruel, baseless speculation. I don’t know you (and your burdens) / you do not know me. Neither one of us is likely equipped with the necessary magic powers to make blanket statements AND expect them to be the end-all, be-all.

        1. I am being supportive.  My support is to say, “Stop being so self-loathing about your weight that you’re reduced to eating this crap.”

  27. Back in 2008 (when we were all still on LJ instead of FB) my friend did a month long Nutrisystem trial. And would occasionally post updates on LJ. This is by far the best one:


    Nothing says yummy like freeze dried burger pucks rehydrated with hot water! Yum!

    (She did lose about 11lbs on the diet, but also notes it was not worth the price.)

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