Now the Girl Scouts offer a sugar-free cookie called Little Brownies
Give yourself a big pat on the back because I think we may have had an influence with the decision makers at the Girl Scouts after something I blogged about last year. Long-term readers will remember this blog post I wrote in January 2006 about Girl Scout cookies and how they were teaching little girls that it's okay to push a product that is loaded with sugar and excessive carbohydrates.
I said a few more things in that post that stirred the pot a bit, but the basic theme of my column was about encouraging them to come up with a sugar-free cookie for diabetics and people on a low-carb diet to enjoy since we can't or don't want sugar in our food.
Last year they heralded the fact that they removed the trans fats from their cookies (which I applaud them for doing), but I asked them to take their initiative to make healthier cookie offerings one step further by removing the sugar.
Here's what I suggested:
Why don't they offer some SUGAR-FREE versions? 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, 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.
That's why I urged my readers at the time to e-mail the Girl Scouts directly with their concerns regarding the absence of any kind of Girl Scout cookie for diabetics and low-carbers and to encourage them to make a sugar-free cookie available next year.
Apparently, they listened to us! :)
Here's a statement released about the demand for sugar-free cookies:
"In response to consumer requests received received by the hundreds of thousands of Girl Scouts who visit with consumers each year during Girl Scout Cookie Season, we have worked diligently to produce great-tasting brownie treats while eliminating the sugar content."
YEAH! WOO HOO! Party time! Can you tell I'm excited?! :)
Little Brownies are the first sugar-free Girl Scout cookie
To meet the demand of sugar-free consumers, including diabetics and low-carbers, the Girl Scouts commissioned one of their vendors Louisville, KY-based cookie manufacturer Little Brownie Bakers to come up with a delicious, bite-sized chocolate cookie without the sugar. The result was a brand new sugar-free cookie called Little Brownies.
I came across these cookies just yesterday when the local Girl Scouts troop were parked directly in front of my local grocery store selling away to the people passing by. When the cute little energetic girl asked me if I would like to buy a box of cookies, I responded, "Do you have any that are sugar-free?" She surprised me when she enthusiastically retorted, "Yep, we sure do!"
This took me back a little since I hadn't heard that they made a sugar-free cookie beforehand, so I asked the adult who was with her if she knew what the cookies were sweetened with and if they tasted good or not. She didn't know about the sweeteners, but she let me look at the box with the ingredients list. Also, they were also very curious about how they tasted and opened up a package to try. I was offered one to try for myself.
When I first bit into it, I was bracing myself for that disappointing "wang" you get when you eat something low-quality that is sugar-free (generally made with inferior ingredients). But, to my delight, these "brownies" were remarkably tasty and actually resembled a real cookie, but without the sugar. WHOA!
Don't let the name Little Brownies fool you, though. They're not soft and chewy like a brownie would be. But these are still minature cookies that had flavorful little chocolate chips in them, too! If you have a hankering for something chocolately and sweet, then this would certainly be your fix.
As I was licking my tongue around in my teeth enjoying this new sugar-free Girl Scouts cookie, I continued reading the label. A serving size of 4 Little Brownies gives you 130 calories, 8g fat (4.5g of saturated fat), 2g protein, and 18g total carbohydrates. Of course, although there is no sugar in these cookies, they do have some sugar alcohols and fiber in them. There are 4g sugar alcohols and 1g fiber for a net carb count of 13g.
This is not a completely terrible option for people who are livin' la vida low-carb at a little more than 3g net carbs per cookie (but you wouldn't want to eat more than 1-2 of these if you are in the earlier stages of your low-carb weight loss plan). I'd still prefer to see them try to get rid of the flour as the #1 ingredient to make them even lower in carbs and still taste just as delicious. There are ways to do that, but this is a VERY good start on their part! KUDOS!
What about the sugar alcohols, you ask? Well, with only 4g for 4 cookies, that's just 1g sugar alcohol per cookie. Unless you down the whole box at one time (which is quite possible if you aren't careful because they taste so good!), you should be okay. For those of you who are wondering, the Little Brownies include a blended mixture of a little bit of all the popular sugar alternatives: polydextrose, maltitol, sorbitol, isomalt, ACE-K, and Splenda. There is no aspartame in these cookies (Thank God!).
Incidentally, that listing of sweeteners is in order of most to least--sucralose (Splenda) was dead last as usual. But don't you know they heralded the fact that it is "sweetened with Splenda." No, it's actually MORE sweetened with everything else. Nevertheless, for all intents and purposes this cookie has not been a problem for me even after having 4 at one time. That's my personal limit despite the temptation to eat more than that.
Each 5.5-ounce box of Little Brownies sugar-free Girl Scout cookies contains around 22 cookies and they are designed specifically for people with diabetes and who are watching their sugar intake. Just be sure to stay within the portion size and you should be fine whether you are a low-carber or diabetic. Ask your healthcare professional if you have any specific concerns about eating this product.
By the way, here's the complete ingredients listing:
Enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate [vitamin B1], riboflavin [vitamin B12], folic acid), vegetable oil (partially hydrogenated soybean, cottonseed and/or palm oils; coconut oil; TBHQ and citric acid to preserve freshness), semisweet chocolate (maltitol, chocolate [processed with alkali], cocoa butter, soy lecithin, natural flavor), polydextrose, cocoa, maltitol, sorbitol, contains two percent or less of isomalt, gum arabic, natural and artificial flavor, maltodextrin, cocoa processed with alkali, malted barley flour, whey (milk), salt, chocolate, caramel color, leavening (monocalcium phosphate, baking soda), soy lecithin, modified corn starch, acesulfame potassium (ACE-K), sucralose (Splenda).
Has anyone else tried these new sugar-free Little Brownies from the Girl Scouts yet? If you did, then what did YOU think about them? I'm really interested in your feedback, questions, and concerns so please leave a comment.
Maybe you want to share a compliment with the Girl Scouts about their new cookie offering for diabetics and low-carbers this year. It's a bold move on their part considering virtually every food company in the United States is completely ignoring the diabetic and low-carb market of consumers right now. I highly encourage you to let the Girl Scouts organization know how much we appreciate their efforts to cater to our desire to enjoy cookies without the sugar.
E-mail them and let 'em know what you think!
3-5-07 UPDATE: A registered nurse was concerned about what she believed was my endorsement of these Girl Scout cookies in an e-mail to me today.
I applaud your weight loss efforts and your success in doing so. However, I am very concerned about your excitement about Girl Scout Cookies having aspartame and artificial anything in it!
I feel that Americans would be much better off eating "real food" instead of all this additive-laden junk that is so widely advertised. I am also very concerned about children ingesting all of these chemicals.
I hope that you find it in your heart to start researching these chemical additives before you applaud them. And don't just take the company's word for it either.
I was a huge Diet Coke drinker and now know that I was terribly addicted to it! This was 3 years ago right before being diagnosed with CNS lupus. Aspartame is a neuroexitotoxin and just isn't a good thing for any living creature.
I hope that you think long and hard before you applaud such efforts of businesses who are only making money off of poisoning the population. This is why studies have been suppressed as they have. Too much money is being made in the sweetener industry.
I wish you the best, Jimmy!
THANKS so much for your e-mail and expressing your concerns about my apparent "excitement" over the new sugar-free Girl Scout cookies. But I think you were mistaken to think I was endorsing this prouduct.
I could not agree MORE with your assessment about aspartame. It is something I have hit hard and hit often in my writings and I STRONGLY urge my readers to avoid it at all costs.
Sure, I still support Splenda, but I am vehemently opposed to sugar alcohols like maltitol as well as NASTY-tame. My column was more an applause to the Girl Scouts and their cookie manufacturer for moving in a POSITIVE direction. Sure, it would be great to have the kids eating more whole foods, but the reality is they're not gonna do it overnight.
I'm a big believer in incrementalism, so sugar-free, low-carb options to popular foods like Girl Scout cookies is what truly excites me because we can get them to start thinking about eating healthier and healthier. It's a lesson I wish I had learned when I was their age.
Again, THANK YOU for sharing your comments! I'm right there in agreement with you. :)