Cream 'Isn't Health Food'
The healthy food watchdog that
took all the fun out of Chinese take-out and movie popcorn has
done it again, this time with summer's favored treat -- ice cream.
"Everyone knows that ice cream
isn't a health food," the Center for Science in the Public Interest,
an independent, nonprofit group, said in a study released on Wednesday.
"But the staggering calorie and
saturated fat content of most of the treats served up at chains
like Baskin-Robbins, Ben and Jerry's, Cold Stone Creamery, Friendly's,
Haagen-Dazs and TCBY is bound to surprise most consumers."
The CSPI said an empty Ben & Jerry's
chocolate-dipped waffle cone, designed to hold at least two scoops
of ice cream, itself packs 320 calories and 10 grams or half a
day's worth of saturated fat.
"If you put a regular scoop of
Chunky Monkey ice cream in that cone, it is going to be worse
for you than (a) one-pound rack of baby back ribs, with 820 calories
and 30 grams of saturated fat," CSPI nutritionist Jayne Hurley
told a news conference to publicize the study.
"This is something eaten by people
strolling around a mall," she added. "They have no idea they have
just eaten 820 calories and one and a half days worth of saturated
Haagen-Dazs's Mint Chip Dazzler,
a sundae in a cup, has three scoops of ice cream, fudge, cookies,
sprinkles and cream -- and 1,270 calories, the group said.
Its 38 grams of fat is more more
than the day's allowance as calculated by the U.S. government,
which says the average American should eat between 2,000 and 2,500
calories a day.
The CSPI called on restaurants
and ice cream parlors to list the fat and calorie content of food
AMERICANS TOO FAT
The CSPI's Michael Jacobson said
the report supported his group's argument that restaurants carry
at least some responsibility for the obesity epidemic in the United
More than two-thirds of Americans
are overweight and 30 percent are obese, both of which raise the
risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other big killers.
"It is clear that companies are
using every means that they can devise to get us to eat more and
bigger products and therefore to spend more in their shops," Jacobsen
said. "The least they can do, the least they must do, is provide
customers with factual information."
Ben & Jerry's spokeswoman Chrystie
Heimert said calorie and nutritional information is available
online or in notebooks kept in stores, but it is hard to calculate
how much each customer gets from a cone with various toppings.
"It would be tough to provide that
information since it's a kind of scooper's choice," she said in
a telephone interview. Asked if she knew that a chocolate-dip
waffle cone contained 320 calories, she responded: "Well yes,
but I may not be the right person to ask because I work for an
ice cream company."
Jacobson said even food that is
labeled contains hidden fat. "Cold Stone Creamery offers fat-free
frozen yogurt, or so they would have you believe," Jacobson said.
CSPI tests showed a small, 7 ounce serving contained 11 grams
of fat and 7 grams of artery-clogging saturated fat.
"Ice cream is an indulgent dessert,
and like any indulgence, is meant be enjoyed in moderation," Cold
Stone Creamery spokesman Kevin Donnellan responded in a statement.
Baskin-Robbins is owned by British
food and drink group Allied Domecq Plc, Anglo-Dutch group Unilever
owns Ben & Jerry's and Haagen-Dazs is marketed by Swiss food giant
In the past CSPI has put out reports
publicizing the health-threatening qualities of other popular
foods, including Chinese take-out meals, burgers and popcorn.
Reference Source 89