Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Diet Bar From Outer Space

Imagine that it's 1961, and before diet plans like the Dieta Atkins, the dieta mediterranea and even the dieta Fricker. These three diets are all based on different ways of combining and eating real foods - things like proteins and vegetables, fruits and olive oil (on Atkins you are not eating the fruit so much, of course - it is a very low carb eating plan).You can eat salads, vegetable soups, eggs, nuts and seeds, maybe some Greek yogurt if it's on plan. In other words, real food with real vitamins and minerals and fiber - all sorts of good things, but in specific proportions and with specific restrictions.

In 1961 - and now too, for that matter -  people sometimes liked to turn to meal replacement bars, if they were particularly rushed and just wanted to grab something, because you can't just shove an egg white omelet in your purse. In that pre-granola-bar age, what sort of things might you have grabbed? How about a Taper Diet Bar, approved by the astronauts? Ever heard of it? Me neither; and there's very very little online about them - as far as I could tell, just this 1961 advertisement. I remember Space Sticks from 1969, after the moon landing (not a diet food per se, but a snack that was supposed to make you feel as adventurous as Neil Armstrong et al), but not the Taper Diet Bar.

Wikimedia Commons
It was probably one of the earliest food bars ever made, and it was created by the "bioastronautical research scientists of the National Research and Development Corporation" - in other words, you were eating something that was perfectly Modern and Scientific. Also convenient, since you could lug it around with you in your purse or your pocket. It was made of eggs, milk solids "and other wholesome natural food products' that the bioastronautical scientists didn't feel like mentioning. Oh, and plenty of fiber, to bulk it up.

The Taper Bar came in three flavors: Lemon, Chocolate and Spice. They contained 416 calories and was scored so that you could break it into 4 pieces of exactly 104 calories each. This of course makes you wonder what precisely was in those 16 extra calories. Maybe they just made it up to make things sound like they had been calibrated exactly by the research scientists. You were supposed to eat three Taper Bars a day (which was 1248 calories exactly) and make sure to chug lots of water, black coffee or tea, and "dietetic soft drinks." I think that would have been OK once in awhile, not three times a day. I might have tried these in 1961 (if it hadn't been for obstacles like not having been born yet), but as a rule, I prefer sticking to salads, and fruit - and yes, the wildly un-portable egg white omelet.

1 comment:

Mae West NYC said...

TANG (dry crystals you combined with water to make a citrus drink) got a big boost, thanks to the astronauts, who supposedly were drinking it up there on their orbits. Never heard of Taper Bar. You find all the good stuff, Lidian!!!!

Come up and see Mae sometime . . . and pls send Mae a Taper Bar for her birthday (August 17, 1893).