By David Grotto, RD, LDN
Don’t worry. This isn’t one of those dietitian versus the Girl Scouts (GS) posts. The fact is, I have a profound respect for the Girl Scouts and all the good that they do for girls in the United States and I will even go so far to profess my love for their cookies. Given enough cold milk, I could easily polish off a box of Somoas. No problem.
Here’s where I do have a problem. I know that when I do eat GS cookies, they are an occasional indulgence and calories can rack up pretty quickly, if I let them. And I never think of them as qualifying as “food” or being “nutritious”.
Not surprisingly, Girl Scouts have received a fair amount of grief about the nutrition profile of their cookies and as being a source of empty calories. Unfortunately, GS is trying to put on a healthy face by offering a Mango Crème cookie variety with Nutrifusion™ , a fruit and vegetable concentrate meant to enhance the nutritional profile of whatever it is added to. The Nutrifusion™ website states that Nutrifusion™ is made without any added synthetic nutrients and contains 100% fruits and vegetables. What could be so wrong with that? As their website states, “Only 14% of children eat sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis” so wouldn’t it help fill that short gap? Maybe but at what cost?
What many consumers don’t know is that Nutrifusion™ doesn’t block the calories, saturated fat and the sugar that make GS cookies so so yummy and keeps you coming back for more. In fact, there are no studies showing a positive health benefit when Nutrifusion™ is added to cookies of any kind. And what I’m concerned about is that some consumers might be duped into thinking that there is such a thing as a “nutritious cookie”. Don’t forget the old saying…”If you put lipstick on a pig…it’s still a pig.”
Bottomline. If you want to eat Girl Scout cookies because you love them like I do, go for it. But do try to show some restraint. If you think that the new NutriFusion™ cookies are a fun new way to ingest more nutrients and improve your health, you might want to pick up some new lipstick while you are at it.