Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Girl Scout cOoKiEs- The NOT so THIN mints

Did you know that today is National Girl Scout Cookie Day? I had no idea there was actually a day designated for these beloved cookies.

Now I am not trying to make anyone angry, but I have some reasons why I will not be buying these any longer. If you don't want to read anything negative about 'thin mints' I suggest you don't read on.

Many of the cookies contain some combination of enriched wheat flour, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, and/or high fructose corn sweetener, the same combination of highly processed ingredients fast food chains are often attacked for using.

And then there are the calorie and fat contents. Four Thin Mint cookies pack in 160 calories, 70 calories from fat, and 8 grams of fat. Four Samoas pack in 280 calories, 140 calories from fat, and 14 grams of fat. And Four Tagalongs pack 280 calories, 160 calories from fat, and 18 grams of fat.

And who eats just four cookies in one sitting?

To put that in perspective, four thin mint cookies have just about the same amount of fat as a McDonald's hamburger, four Samoas have the same amount of fat as about a hamburger and a half and four Tagalongs — yes, that's just four little cookies — have the same amount of fat as two McDonand's hamburgers. And at least with the hamburgers you're getting some protein and a bite or two of vegetables.

I'm not arguing that, in general, people shouldn't eat cookies. Sweet, fatty treats, when eaten in moderation, can be a part of a healthy diet. By all means, people should continue to bake, sell and eat delicious cookies.

But it's an entirely different question whether the Girl Scouts should be encouraging its 2.3 million young participants to peddle deceivingly unhealthy products to raise funds, especially at a time when childhood obesity rates are reaching epidemic levels.

Childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years. Around 20 percent of 6 to 11 year olds are obese, while 18 percent of 12 to 19 year olds are.

I do that that it's wonderful that selling cookies can help girls learn how to manage money and think like business people.

And it's also great that some of the cookie proceeds help girls stay active, make friends and learn other valuable life skills.

But those ends don't justify the organization's role in perpetuating unhealthy eating choices among Americans, especially young girls.

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