GIRL SCOUT COOKIESPosted on February 19, 2012
I received a box of Girl Scout cookies today (supporting a friend's child). Read the ingredients (a mandatory requirement for health). Here is a discussion of the first 3 ingredients (remember, ingredients are listed in order of quantity - the first ingredient is the most quantity in the product).
ENRICHED FLOUR. Several centuries ago, as food production was being centralized, it became difficult to effectively distribute whole grain bread before it went rancid. The discovered solution was to remove the germ of the grain - the part with the most nutrients. One writer reports the following loss of nutrients with processing. "Modern milling of wheat to 70 per cent extraction white flour removes 50 per cent of the vitamin B5, two-thirds of the folic acid, 72 per cent of the vitamin B6, 77 per cent of the vitamin B1, 80 per cent of the vitamin B2, 81 per cent of the vitamin B3, 86 per cent of the vitamin E, 60 per cent of the calcium, 40 per cent of the chromium, 71 per cent of the phosphorus, 76 per cent of the iron, 77 per cent of the potassium, 78 per cent of the zinc and sodium, 85 per cent of the magnesium, 86 per cent of the manganese and 88 per cent of the cobalt." That is a lot of lost health benefits for the convenience of a longer shelf life. Processing also removes the bran which contains the majority of the fiber and many micronutrients. What is left is the endosperm. This contains the majority of the protein and carbohydrate. Hence, processing removes the majority of the micronutrients and leaves the carbohydrates. Carbs are important but processed carbs result in a spike in your blood sugar leading to a spike in your insulin. A spike in blood sugar results in direct oxidative stress on your cells. A spike in Insulin leads to build up of fat around your gut (Insulin is the fat storage hormone). Chronic blood sugar spikes and Insulin spikes eventually result in diabetes. Flour is enriched when some but not all of the lost micronutrients are put back into the flour. What a great health plan. Take food initially designed to promote our health - a health food. Process it to remove the majority of the health benefits resulting in a product that instead contributes to disease. Add a few of the lost ingredients back which is still insufficient to convert it back to health food. Sell the product to us as a more convenient way to eat.
SUGAR. Eating too much sugar leads to spikes in blood sugar levels and spikes in insulin which leads to (see above)...
VEGETABLE OIL (PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED PALM KERNEL AND/OR COTTONSEED OIL, SOYBEAN AND PALM OIL). Partially Hydrogenated Oils are called Trans Fats. They are pretty much not found in nature. They are the result of chemical manipulation of natural oils. By adding hydrogen and making them trans Fats, these oils have a very long shelf life. Like processing grain, processing fats into trans fats converts a health food into a disease food for the sake of convenience. Trans Fats are very bad for your blood vessels, specifically the lining cells of your blood vessels, called the endothelium. New York City has banned trans fats from being sold in city restaurants because of the disease effect. If you have a box of Girl Scout Cookies Thin Mints, you can read the ingredients and note that it says there are no trans fat in the serving. How can that be? Again, the leniency of the FDA (see prior blog post). The FDA sets a limit on how much trans fat is allowed in the food before the producer has to report it on the box; specifically anything less than 0.5 grams per serving can be labeled as zero. So, if you sell a product with 0.45 grams of trans fats per serving, you can advertise to the public that it is zero (Note: I do not know the specific amount of trans fat in these cookies). If in fact there is 0.45 grams of trans fat per serving and you eat 2 servings (Americans nearly always eat more than one serving of things that come in boxes and cellophane bags) you are eating 0.9 grams of these toxins. The National Academy of Science says trans fats cannot be safely consumed in any amount. Again, if you want health, you need to read the ingredients and know what is healthy and what is not.
This is not a discussion to put down the Girl Scouts. This is an education for your health.
Here is a suggestion for supporting the Girl Scouts without contributing to your body's disease. According to the Girl Scouts web site; nationwide, girls receive an estimated 10 – 20% of the purchase price of each box of cookies sold. So, for the $4.00 I paid for the box of cookies, the local kids receive $0.80, tops. The following statement is also on the web site; by making a monetary contribution to Girl Scouts of the USA, you help make an immediate difference in the lives of girls. Approximately $.89 of every dollar you give goes directly to our program initiatives. Thus, if I gave the $4.00 directly, without purchasing the cookies, the girls would get about $3.56. Appears to be a much better deal and I am not buying something that produces disease. (I assume that if you donate directly, you can designate that the local girls get the majority of the benefit, though my math may not be accurate - it depends on exactly how the monies are distributed from the cookie sales and donations).
LESSONS. 1. Read ingredients. 2. Learn what is healthy. 3. There are often more efficient ways of supporting a program than purchasing something of questionable benefit.
BE WISE. CHOOSE HEALTH.
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