Nutrition Action Healthletter
Center for Science in the Public InterestDecember 2000 — U.S. Edition 
Right StuffFood Porn
Hop On The Bran Wagon

Doughnuts, croissants, and danish are bad. Muffins are good.

   Well, sort of.

   Muffins are indeed better than those other sweets, because they’re so much lower in artery-clogging fat. Still, most muffins are basically little more than white flour and sugar. And an average four-ouncer can pack 400 calories and 20 grams of fat.

   Pick up a box of Duncan Hines All-Bran Muffin Mix and you’ll end up with anything but your average muffin. It’s made with Kellogg’s All-Bran—one of the highest-octane cereals you can buy.

   If you use the box to make 12 muffins, each Apple Cinnamon or Blueberry muffin will give you just 140 calories, five grams of fat (only one of them saturated), and four or five grams of fiber (a fifth of your total for the day). You can add to that the vitamins and phytochemicals brought by the bran.

   The fruit—apple or blueberries—is cooked in corn syrup and sealed in a small pouch. That means that at least some of the muffins’ sweetness comes from real fruit. And the bran gives the muffins a satisfying, toothsome texture that’s missing from the soft, crumbly, white-flour variety. Pair one with a glass of orange juice or low-fat milk for a quick breakfast or snack.

   Now that’s a muffin that lives up to its healthier reputation.

Duncan Hines: (800) 562-3062.
Stuffed Turkey

From the front of the box, Cedarlane’s Mediterranean Stuffed Focaccia (foe-KAH-chee-uh) looks like a real find. The frozen “Light Italian Bread Stuffed with Spinach, Feta Cheese & Mushroom Filling” is “all natural,” “vegetarian,” and made with organic flour and spinach.

   It’s stuffed, all right... with nearly half a day’s saturated fat. In a classic Mediterranean diet, cheese is used sparingly, in meals built around a base of fruits, vegetables, grains, and fish. For most Americans, getting a wallop of sat fat in half of what looks like a modest-sized single-serving pizza just adds insult to the injury caused by dozens of other sat-fat-filled, calorie-dense foods.

   Assuming you stop at half, your “light” Italian bread delivers 410 calories and 14 grams of fat (eight of them saturated), plus 670 mg of sodium (more than a quarter of a day’s worth). If half a Mediterranean Stuffed Focaccia is light, so is a cup of ice cream or a slice of Pizza Hut Big New Yorker pepperoni pizza.

   Cedarlane also makes two other flavors by stuffing the same Italian bread with a tomato and cheese filling (Italian) or with tomatoes, basil, garlic, and mozzarella (Roma Tomato & Basil). Either will make your artery walls look like the inside of a focaccia.

   Cedarlane’s Focaccias may be “natural,” but so is lard. That doesn’t make it good for you.

Cedarlane: (800) 826-3322.
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