The Girl Scouts have always found a way to fill that sugar void between Valentine’s Day and Easter with their famous cookies, but it used to come with a hefty trans-fat price. This year, however, consumers can quell their health woes while biting into the classic cookies, because the tasty treats are now virtually trans-fat free. Just be sure to count your cookies.
Now in their 90th year in the cookie business, the Girl Scouts abandoned most of the artificial fats that laced their classic recipes, but have been sure to maintain the famous flavors that keep consumers coming back year after year.
Girl Scouts of the USA Vice President Denise J. Pessich said that the two commercial bakeries that make the cookies found alternatives that lost most of the trans-fat without conceding flavor, texture, or shelf life.
The recipe changes come in the wake of a trans-fat free movement sweeping America, with the Food and Drug Administration requiring manufacturers to put trans fat content on food labels and cities nationwide banning trans fats at restaurants. It has also given troop leaders a chance to discuss the importance of making healthy food choices.
Not only have the Girl Scouts altered their classics, they have also come out with new, healthier creations, such as the sugar-free Little Brownie and reduced saturated fat Cartwheel.
Even with the changes, however, the Girl Scouts are not promoting their updated cookies as a health food.
“Like any snack food, you talk about moderation,” Pessich said. “We know we aren’t selling broccoli.”
In reality, the cookies are technically still not completely trans-fat free. When reading the ingredients on the nutrition labels, most contain the primary source of trans fat, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. However, the amount of trans fat is less than half a gram per serving, which is low enough, under FDA rules, to carry the “zero grams trans fat” label.
When indulging the treats, moderation is still extremely important. While each serving may contain less than half a gram of trans fat, it’s easy to go beyond that single serving of four Thin Mints or two Samoas/Carmel deLites.
According to Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, “if somebody ate several servings of those foods a day, someone could consume 2 or 3 grams of trans fat, which is significant.”
To check the labels of your favorite Girl Scout cookies go to ABC/Interbake or Little Brownie Bakers.