Nutrition Action Healthletter
Center for Science in the Public InterestJanuary/February 2001 — U.S. Edition 
Right StuffFood Porn
Spinach Made Simple
Spinach is one of those vitamin-packed leafy greens that make nutritionists’ eyes go misty. But washing and trimming fresh spinach takes time. And you never know if you’re going to end up with leftover grit or a batch of bitter leaves.

   No more. Ready Pac sells Ready Fixin’s prewashed Spinach in plastic bags that can go right into the microwave. Two to three minutes later, you open and serve. It hasn’t been this easy to eat spinach since Popeye squeezed his out of the can and into his mouth.

   And he was no fool. Each one-cup serving of cooked spinach (a third of a package) provides 140 percent of a day’s worth of vitamin A, 30 percent of a day’s folic acid, 15 percent of a day’s iron and vitamin C (the label mistakenly lists vitamin C at 70 percent), and 10 percent of a day’s potassium—all for only 20 fat-free calories. You also get lutein, which may help protect your eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration. (While the oxalic acid in spinach means that you probably won’t absorb all of its calcium and iron, that’s a small price to pay for such a power-packed vegetable.)

   Feel free to dress up your dish with some sautéed garlic, low-fat tub margarine, lemon juice, or lite soy sauce. But because Ready Pac starts with baby spinach, the tender, non- bitter leaves are good enough to eat as is. The challenge: keeping your fridge packed with enough (bulky) bags to last all week.

Ready Pac: (800) 800-7822.
Raisin' Hell

“Enjoy one of America’s favorite movie snacks,” coos the label on Nestlé’s new Yogurt Raisinets. “Anytime, anywhere, anyplace—watching TV, viewing a video, surfing the Net, at the office, driving in the car.”

   What could be wrong with raisins dipped in a healthy food like yogurt? Not much...if that’s what Nestlé were selling.

   Instead of yogurt, its raisins are coated with (among other things) sugar, palm kernel oil, partially hydrogenated coconut oil, and hydrogenated palm oil.

   Hydrogenated or not, those three tropical oils make lard and beef tallow look like olive oil. How else would a modest, quarter-cup serving of raisins end up with ten grams of fat (nine of them saturated—half a day’s maximum) in about 30 raisins?

   (Perhaps you didn’t notice the words “creamy yogurt flavor” on the package. That’s the subtle clue that you’re not getting any yogurt.)

   And Nestlé, always concerned about your well-being, is full of handy suggestions for when and where you can mindlessly munch on its candies, at 210 calories a serving. Never mind that in each case you’re sitting on your behind, barely moving.

   Just what Americans need: something to eat while gaining weight.

Nestlé: (800) 225-2270.
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