>> Monday, February 8, 2010
Image by The Suss-Man (Mike) via FlickrAs a result of my recent post about Girl Scout cookies, a couple of conversations came up from friends and acquaintences of mine, and it occurs to me that a lot of people might have similar questions.
Dan, a guy came into our office today helping his daughter with her girl scout cookie sales so I looked at his sheet tallking about all the kinds of cookies and EVERYONE of them stated that they had 0 trans fats. So who told you they were loaded with trans fats?
The answer? The ingredients on the side of the box. If you check them out, you'll see partially hydrogenated oils and/or vegetable shortening listed. Not ALL of the cookies have it, so they should at least admit that SOME of their cookies have trans fat. This is a very shameful and deceptive practice that food manufacturers everywhere follow; they lobbied so that there would be a loophole (in the labeling laws) they could take advantage of. The government says that if a food has less than .5 gram of trans fat per serving, then the manufacturer can say it has 0 grams of trans fat. It gets even worse when you realize that the manufacturer sets the serving size - so if you finish off a box, you're going to wind up having eaten several grams of trans fats. It's legal permission to lie, in other words. There is no amount of trans fat that you should let "slip by" in your food.
So what can you do? The first step you'll want to take is to learn to identify trans fats in your food by yourself. This is an absolute necessity for staying healthy in a world of modern food processing. You could write to the companies that create the cookies, and you could write to the Girl Scout Organization directly as well. Maria Tchijov contacted me about the petition on Change.org she set up that additionally sends an email to Michelle Tompkins (Girl Scouts Media Relations) and Kathy Cloninger (Girl Scouts CEO). Signing here will not only bring a consolidation of voices together, but directly delivers your message automatically as well. You can customize the letter that is sent out, so add a sentence or so to show your personal feelings.
Together we can make a difference!
While you're writing your letter, you may want to think about some other aspects of processed foods in general, which apply to Girl Scout cookies as well: Even though some of the cookies don't have trans fat (just over half do), there are all sorts of other unhealthy ingredients in them:
1. Enriched flour: this is actually one of my top 4 things that people should be avoiding: white flour, sugar, bad oils, and bad dairy. However it's pretty danged hard to avoid! (We actually still do have this in our house, but are working at completely replacing it with real food alternatives)
2. Sugar, dextrose, high-fructose corn syrup: That we should avoid these is self-explanatory. Sugar should be considered an anti-nutrient.
3. Soybean, rapeseed (canola), cottonseed oils: Even when not hydrogenated, these are already rancid by the time they're done processing. Additionally, odds are very high that these come from genetically-modified food sources.
4. Natural and artificial flavor, artificial color: These wreak havoc on our bodies and is associated with many common allergies today. Please read The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O'Brien for further details.