Monday, January 16, 2006

Girl Scout Cookies Are Still Rat Poison

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!


Blogger wurkoutgurl said...

Great site, very informational and fun to read too.

1/16/2006 6:53 PM  
Blogger April said...

Great post!!! Eating tons of sugar and saturated fat is promoted as an all-American charitable activity! Not healthy at all.

Thank you for the excellent post... off to read more entries.

April CR

1/16/2006 6:59 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

"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."

LOL! I'm making an informed choice now - the choice to NOT eat their cookies!

I loved your suggestion about them offering sugar free. I'd buy those.

Oh yeah, I was a girl scout and sold cookies as a kid. :)

1/16/2006 8:37 PM  
Blogger Jeff Hamlin said...

Saturated fat is NOT the problem, April.

1/16/2006 11:52 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Precisely. Nutritional science defines essential fats, and essential proteins. Saturated fats are essential fats and extremely healthy, especially MCFA's as coconut oil, lard, tallow, and such, as well as those found in, for example, eggs.

1/17/2006 10:42 AM  
Blogger rayna said...

My daughter was recently diagnosed with juvenile Type I diabetes, she is only nine years old. She cried herself to sleep because she couldn’t understand why God did this to her. She lost thirty pounds in six weeks (mostly muscle)and was hospitalized for over a week with an IV. Now she has to take insulin shots twice a day and has to prick her finger four times daily and it will probably alway be this way.

She is a girl scout and I am her troop leader. When cookie time came I was worried about her reaction to selling cookies since we had cleaned out all sweets from the house only three months earlier.
Do I skip cookie sales for the whole troop? We count on that money to take trips and for supplies.
Do I make my daughter feel even more alianated by excluding her?
We asked her specialist what to do. His answer, she needs to learn to face temptation and make the responsible decision.

We are two weeks into the cookies sales and yes we have opened and eatened our favorite cookies but she has taken responsibility for herself and looked on the box to see how many she is allowed and eats one or two as her snack. She has chose to do this only twice in the past two weeks.

My point? You are telling people to complain about an organization that sold cookies before the obesity rate went up. I do not believe that Girl Scout cookies are in anyway contributing to obesity. Your choices are. You make a choice to buy “10 boxes” of cookies instead of one. You choose whether you eat them all now or put them in the freezer. You choose whether you donate money directly to the troop or buy cookies. You choose to get a box for yourself or donate a box to the military (you can donate a box to be sent to our soldiers and Girl Scouts will ship them, our troop even decorates the boxes with thank you’s for keeping our country safe before they are shipped).

If my nine year old daughter can take responsibility for her carb intake I do not understand why grown ups can not do the same.

"On the large scale, history shows that an uncritical and misinformed populace is a breeding ground for all manner of intolerant beliefs and practices. The discovery that truth has to fight for its survival is not a pleasant one, but is an essential realization in maintaining civilization. And in a society as open and susceptible to fraud as ours is, truth needs all the help it can get." -- Anthony Garrett

I copied your own quote so that maybe you can keep it in mind as you reread your complaint on girl scout cookies and your lack of confidence in your readers decision making capabilities. Your feeding them your opinion and trying to pass it off as truth and it saddens me.

The “truth” is that we live in a society that blames others for things we should take responsibility for ourselves. You are responsible for your own actions.

2/18/2006 5:13 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Dear Rayna,

THANKS so much for writing and sharing your comments with me. I know you are proud of your 9-year-old for being so brave in the face of a terrible disease like diabetes. And I'm glad to see she's making good choices.

But to blindly dismiss sugar and the impact it has had on the obesity rates in the U.S. is just plain foolish. All the evidence is pointing more and more to the sugar and other refined carbohydrates we are eating are just making us fatter and fatter.

I applaud the Girl Scouts for what they are doing to impress upon the women of tomorrow how important it is to have certain valued instilled within them. But can't they come up with some other way to raise money than with cookies? That's my main concern. It look hypocritical on their part.

THANKS again for writing and I do wish you and your daughter the best with her diabetes. Take care!


2/18/2006 9:12 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

Looks like Girl Scouts listened. They have a sugar-free, diabetic cookie this year!

1/26/2007 12:18 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

That's so cool, Jen! THANKS for sharing this with me.

1/26/2007 9:41 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Blankenship said...

Perhaps rather than complaining about what manufacturer's are producing we should be focusing on making better choices ourselves. In today's society what are we telling our children when we say things such as Girl Scouts should not be allow to sell cookies because adults can not monitor their own health and make good decisions? If enough consumers were to decide to make healthy choices then sales would decline and manufacturers would change their products. However, this has not happened. Americans need to quit blaming others for their decisions and start taking responsibility for their own lives and choices. Personally, I struggle to keep my cholesterol level in the proper range, therefore I do not sit down and eat an entire box of Girl Scout cookies in one sitting. I eat two or three and put them down. It is not the fault of Girl Scouts that I have high cholesterol or that you feel you need to eat less carbs or less sugar, it is because of the choices we have made in our lifestyle. If you can't tell yourself no with a box of cookies in the house, then don't answer the door when the Girl Scout, who is learning communication skills, financial skills, and a wealth of other skills through the sales process INCLUDING how to handle rejection in an appropriate manner.

11/29/2007 9:50 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

I'm not saying Girl Scouts should be able to sell products to raise money for their group. Instead, let's promote BETTER choices for them to be offering people to set the example for them that will last well beyond their youth. That was the message of my column. THANK YOU for your comments.

11/29/2007 10:15 AM  

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