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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Girl Scout Cookies Now With Nutrifusion™ or Just Confusion?

By David Grotto, RD, LDN

Girl Scout Cookies Nutrition Label

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.

Photo: Girl Scouts

Posted by: David Grotto, RD, LDN at 11:04 am

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