Girl Scout cookies don't have trans fats, but they are still rat poison
I'm going to touch on a subject today that I KNOW is going to create quite a stir in the United States because it is something that is deeply-rooted in American tradition is in regards to an organization that has imparted positive values for little girls for generations. Of course, I'm referring to the Girl Scouts.
Well-known as a highly-respected organization helping tutor the future successful businesswomen of the world by shaping their character, building their confidence, and recognizing achievement, the Girl Scouts is a household name that is equated with everything that is right about America. These qualities they bestow on young women are ones that we should all strive to attain in our lives regardless of our gender, age, or race.
But can you tell me what the first thing is that comes to mind when you hear the words "Girl Scouts?" Why it's COOKIES, of course. For decades since they first started being sold in 1917, selling Girl Scout cookies has become an American rite of passage for many little girls. It is the first opportunity that many young ladies are exposed to the economics and marketing that make our country the greatest nation in the world.
The tremendous sales from these Girl Scout cookies help fund the local Girl Scout troops and their various activities. Who could argue against such a noble cause as this?
Well, I have a BIG problem with it, especially since I began my low-carb lifestyle.
The main problem I have is that Girl Scout cookies are packed with a multitude of unnecessary sugars, including white sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk, as well as enriched flour. These are all very high-carb ingredient in these cookies which are being marketed to a population of people who are already getting fatter and fatter as the obesity rates have reached epidemic proportions.
And I have to tell you I am quite disappointed in the response that the Girl Scouts organization provided on their web site to this very real concern about selling sugary cookies in a society already plagued by obesity.
Here's their take on the subject:
"Starting with our youngest members, the Girl Scout organization promotes a healthy lifestyle for its girl members, which includes a well-balanced diet and plenty of exercise. Our health and fitness programs encourage girls to adopt healthy fitness and eating habits early in life and continue them into adulthood."
That's all well and good, but why not let the Girl Scouts sell alcoholic beverages instead? After all, since the group "promotes a healthy lifestyle for its girl members," there shouldn't be any concern with them selling something that obviously CONTRADICTS this message!!! Sheez people! Has common sense gone completely out the window these days?!
While it is admirable that the Girl Scouts is teaching the girls to "adopt healthy fitness and eating habits," what about all the overweight and obese adults that are being asked to buy these cookies? How can you expect them to resist the puppy eyes of a 9-year old little girl who simply asks, "Wanna buy some Girl Scout cookies?" Who can tell this precious one no?
We shouldn't put young ladies in that position nor should we expect adults to give in to the tempation that they are doing something good by purchasing the cookies. If you want to help the Girl Scouts, then make a donation to their organization and tell them to keep their cookies. In the long run, you will be glad you did.
I admit I was a big fan of Girl Scout cookies for most of my life. Let's face it, they taste good despite costing about 2-3 times as expensive as the ones you could get at your local grocery store. But, again, you're helping with a good cause, right?
But when I started livin' la vida low-carb and paying attention to how many carbs I was putting in my mouth, I was simply flabbergasted to learn about the nutritional content (and there's even more info here) of some of my favorite Girl Scout cookies:
THIN MINTS - 22g carbs for 4 cookies
SAMOAS - 19g carbs for 2 cookies
DO-SI-DOS - 11g carbs for 3 cookies
LEMON COOLERS - 22g carbs for 5 cookies
CARAMEL DELIGHTS - 19g carbs for 2 cookies
PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICH - 24g carbs for 3 cookies
REDUCED FAT LEMON PASTRY CREMES - 22g carbs for 3 cookies
REDUCED FAT CARTWHEELS - 24g carbs for 5 cookies
Although much has been made over the Girl Scouts' decision to remove the trans fats from their cookies last year to comply with the new labeling law that went into effect on January 1, 2006, these cookies are still very far from being healthy.
The Girl Scouts respond to criticism like this in typical fashion:
"It is important to remember that Girl Scout Cookies are a snack food and are meant to be consumed in limited quantities within the context of a balanced diet."
Yeah, but how many people follow that guideline? Am I the ONLY one who has ever eaten a whole box of Girl Scout cookies in one sitting? These cookies are addictive because the sugar in them keep you coming back over and over and over again. That's why they sell so well and why the Girl Scouts continue to sell them for profit in 2006. If people ate them as part of a "balanced diet," then nobody would ever buy 10 boxes at one time? Can I get a witness anyone?
But sugar is rat poison, as those of you who have read my book already know. The danger to your health that sugar imposes is a much greater threat than any fat that you may consume.
So what do we do from here? More importantly, what should the Girl Scouts do?
For starters, we should end the insane cycle of feeling obligated to buy these cookies year-in and year-out just because we think it's for a good cause. While it is indeed for a good cause, there has to be a better way for the Girl Scouts to make money in this fat-laden culture we live in.
It may not be a compelling to sell them as cookies are, but how about if the Girl Scouts sold gym memberships? They could sell them by the number of weeks someone wants to use them. Yeah, I'll purchase 3 weeks please. Is this not a great idea?
Or, if cookies HAVE to be sold, why don't we offer some SUGAR-FREE versions? Again, I was disappointed in the politician-like answer provided by the Girl Scouts organization regarding concerns that both diabetics and low-carb supporters have with their cookies:
"The ingredients and nutritional elements of all cookies are listed on the order forms and the side of the cookie box so those concerned about carbohydrates can make informed choices. For more information, check the bakers' Web sites."
I did that and it wasn't a pretty story. As we have already seen from the carbohydrate totals I have already listed (that were obtained from those bakers sites), you're pretty much out of luck when it comes to eating Girl Scout cookies if you are staying committed to livin' la vida low-carb. This clear lack of concern by the Girl Scouts disturbs me and it should you as well.
Because of this, I must stand up and say that Girl Scout cookies are still rat poison for anyone trying to eat healthy even without the trans fats. As much as I love and support the Girl Scouts and what they are doing, I cannot idly sit back and allow them to continue to push these cookies on a population of people who definitely do NOT need to consume any more sugar and unnecessary carbs than they already do. It's time to make a change in the fundraising tactics of the Girl Scouts.
Click here to send an e-mail to the Girl Scouts and let them know about your concerns with the poor nutritional content of their cookie. Be sure to urge them to change to healthier fundraising options instead. Do not let this opportunity to share your concerns about a growing obesity problem pass you by. Make your voice heard TODAY!