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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Forbes' Picks for "Healthy Desserts"

With great anticipation, I opened this article on Forbes about Healthy Desserts. I anticipated bowls of berries with coconut and cinnamon and other fruit concoctions, sufficient to satisfy the sweet tooth, but without loads of sugar. Boy was I wrong. Ok, I really didn't anticipate that. I anticipated pretty much what was in the article. Let's look a bit deeper into these options for eating dessert without adding pounds to your waistline.

  • MaggieMoo's 16-oz Creamy Mango Zoomer - 2.5g fat, 400 calories - So let's do some simple math here: 2.5g fat * 9 calories per gram = 22.5. Subtracting that from 400 gives us another 388 (rounded) calories to account for. If we assume, very conservatively, that the remaining calories are half from carbohydrates and half from protein, we are left with 188 calories from carbs or, dividing by 4 calories per gram, 48.5 grams of carbohydrates, mostly from the sugar and fruit. Furthermore, I'm willing to bet that there's relatively little protein in this treat, so it's probably somewhere more like 70-80g of sugar. In 16oz. That's probably worse than a Coca-Cola. But it's low-fat, so it's "healthful". At least it is made with real fruit.

  • Yogen Fruz Non-fat Frozen Yogurt - 0g fat, 120 calories - Rejoice! This one is fat-free! We can eat it to our heart's content and gain nary an ounce! Excuse my cynicism. 120 calories is 30g of combined carbohydrates and protein. Any bets on which one dominates this frosty treat?

  • WholeSoy & Co. Creme Caramel Frozen Yogurt - 1g fat, 120 calories - Nearly identical nutrition profile as the Yogen Fruz above. But wait, this one is made with soy! Needless to say, I'm unimpressed.

  • Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Light Ice Cream - 6g fat, 200 calories - More of the same. Light. 54 calories from fat and 146 from carbs/protein or nearly 40g. Bet ya it's sugar.

  • Cold Stone Creamery's Birthday Cake Remix Creation with Light Cake Batter Ice Cream - 6g fat, 220 calories - Light, light, light! It must be alright. Oh look, I can rhyme. Add 5g of carbs/protein to the Ben and Jerry's above.

  • TCBY's 16-oz., Beriyo Smoothie - 2g fat, 230 calories - 2g of fat equals 18 calories. So the other 212 probably come predominantly from SUGAR! That's 53g of carbs/protein for those keeping score at home. I bet once again that it's not protein giving us most of those calories.

  • Stonyfield Farm Organic Raspberry White Chocolate Chunk Low-Fat Frozen Yogurt - 1.5g fat, 120 calories - Low-fat. Bleh....still 106 calories, mostly from sugar.

  • Dreyer's and Edy's Chocolate Fudge Brownie Slow Churned Yogurt Blends - 3.5g fat, 120 calories - Let's just go ahead and make it clear that anything with the words "Chocolate Fudge Brownie" in its name is unlikely to ever be good for you. And for the low-fatters, over 25% of the calories in this one are from fat.

So what is being touted as "healthy" is more of the same low-fat/fat-free gibberish that we've been hearing for 20 years. It's obvious by the fact that they list nothing other than fat and calories. This is the same gibberish that has 2/3 of Americans overweight. Unfortunately, people still have this notion that if they don't eat fat, they won't get fat. The reality is that all of the sugar is cranking up insulin and burning out insulin receptors, leading to Type II Diabetes. All of the insulin has the body in fat storage mode, so it's impossible to lose the pooch around the middle. And to make sure we're eating "healthy," we take away the fat, which serves to keep the sugar from entering the blood as quickly ( i.e., lowering the insulin response and helping to negate the effects I described above).

If you want an ice cream treat, don't trick yourself into thinking that it's going to be healthful; it's not. So enjoy the full-fat ice cream. The full-fat stuff is likely to have less sugar and because it has fat, it will satiate you much better, meaning you'll eat less of it. The blood sugar/insulin spike will be lower, wreaking less metabolic havok on your body. Those of us fighting the low-fat dogma have a long road ahead of us.