>> Sunday, January 16, 2011
'Tis the time of year for cute little girls in brown vests to smile at your door with an order form for boxes of irresistible cookies. Girl Scout cookies really do have a mystique about them, don't they? What is it about these cookies that makes everyone drool?
I know! Maybe it's the partially hydrogenated oil!
Yeah, sorry, total buzzkill here. Since we gave up high fructose corn syrup (HFCS for the uninitiated) a few years ago, I have been disappointed in Girl Scout Cookies. This wholesome organization promoting good things for girls, well, you'd think that the product they sell would be a little more wholesome for their clientele. I don't begrudge the cookies at all, but I do have issues with the ingredient lists.
To keep things simple, we'll focus on the two ingredients on my "do not buy" list - HFCS and partially hydrogenated oils. The first is an automatic signal that this product contains cheap, fake ingredients, and the second contains trans fat. (Need reasons to eliminate partially hydrogenated oils and artificial trans fat from your diet? Read my post on trans fat.) Of course, because of lax labeling laws, Girl Scout cookies that contain partially hydrogenated oils can claim to have 0% trans fat. By law, a product can claim to contain 0% trans fat if it has less than 0.5 g of trans fat per serving. So, a product can contain a measurable amount of trans fat, albeit small, and claim to have none.
So, which cookies have the offending ingredients? Here's a rundown:
Samoas (my favorite in times past) - partially hydrogenated oil
Tagalongs - partially hydrogenated oil
Thin Mints - partially hydrogenated oil
Caramel DeLites - partially hydrogenated oil, and HFCS
Peanut Butter Patties - partially hydrogenated oil, and HFCS
Peanut Butter Sandwich - partially hydrogenated oil
Thanks-A-Lot - partially hydrogenated oil, and HFCS
Lemonades - partially hydrogenated oil
Dulce De Leche - HFCS
The only cookies with ingredient lists free from partially hydrogenated oil and HFCS: Trefoils, Shout Outs, Shortbread, Do-Si-Dos, and Thank U Berry Much. Both Do-Si-Dos and Thank U Berry Much contain invert sugar, so if you are concerned about processed free fructose in your product, these would be no-nos as well.
I would really like to buy some cookies from the cute girls selling them that I'll see at my grocery store, but I probably won't - not even the ones on the short list. Unfortunately, the Girl Scout organization has no real incentive to clean up their cookies' ingredient lists because people will buy the cookies - boxes upon boxes of them. It's unfortunate that this organization chooses to sell a product with trans fat and other undesirable ingredients in them - cheap cookies made with cheap ingredients that are unhealthy even in small amounts.
For shame, Girl Scouts!
If you'd like to check out the ingredients for yourself, please visit the Girl Scout Cookies official page where there is a link to all of the nutritional and ingredient information for all of their cookies.
I know many young Girl Scouts and will not be confronting them with this information. I'll speak with my pocketbook and my blog, but I see no reason to rain on some little girl's parade. I also won't be haranguing my friends who do buy Girl Scout cookies with this information. Education is great, but in the right time and place.