Girl Scout cookies and trans fats

I had an interesting exchange with the mom of a Girl Scout recently. It was outside a shopping center, where the Girl Scouts were doing their perennial cookie sales. I had noticed a few years ago that Girl Scout cookies had trans fats in them, in the form of partially hydrogenated oils, which was pretty shocking to me.

I was curious to see if the trans fats were still there, or had been eliminated, like in so many other products, since the evils of trans fats are pretty legion these days.

I picked up one of the boxes and there they were, still lurking in the cookies. I mentioned this to one of the mom’s and asked her if there were any plans to :eliminate them from the cookies in the future. This is what she told me: trans fats were eliminated from one of the cookie brands recently, but they didn’t sell very well, so that’s why they’re still in the cookies.

I walked away, flabbergasted that the Girl Scouts juggernaut would sacrifice health on the altar of money. This mom had no compunction about the fact that these cookies still contain one of the worst things you can put in your body. According to Dr. James Wilson, author of Adrenal Fatigue, the 21st Century Stress Syndrome, trans fats “use up the enzymes that normally would be utilized by the good oils, and prevent your body from creating quality cell membranes and nerve sheaths. As a result, your body cannot transform essential fatty acids into the materials it needs to make various cell wall components and other structures.”

Wilson goes on to reference a clinical study in Canada that “demonstrated that  the metabolism of good oils into substances needed by the body was completely blocked when the people in the study were given hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.”

Is this what the Girl Scouts organization and Girl Scout moms want to be pushing when their daughters’ bodies are still growing?

And, don’t be fooled if somewhere on the box it says “0 grams trans fat”. Check the ingredients themselves; if you see “partially hydrogenated” before any kind of oil, that’s a trans fat, plain and simple.

According to the blog The Week, as long as a food contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, the FDA allows its maker to label it as having no trans fat at all. From The Week:

“This means, says Science Blog, that products that appear healthy could have ‘a significant amount of trans fat that  can exceed recommended limits and potentially lead to various adverse  health effects.’ And since the daily recommended intake of trans fats is 1.11 grams, ‘one would only need to consume a few deceptively labeled trans fat foods  to exceed the healthy recommended intake.'”

So, let’s keep pressure on the Girl Scouts ro remove any trace of trans fats from all of its cookies, as an example, for the health of all the girls involved in this organization, and everyone they sell cookies to.

–D.N.

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