Nutrition Action Healthletter
Center for Science in the Public InterestOctober 2000 — U.S. Edition 
Right StuffFood Porn

There’s something about a steamy bowl of chiličthe velvety beans and spicy sauce—that tastes just right in the fall. And there’s something about a can of chili—the oddly spiced beans or the borderline lethal dose of sodium—that tastes just wrong any time of year.

   Health Valley to the rescue. Its Mild Vegetarian, Burrito, Three Bean, Lentil, and Spicy (no joke) Black Bean canned vegetarian chilies are deliciously rich-tasting. The company clearly knows what to do with tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, herbs, and beans. (The company’s No Salt Added flavors fall flat, but you can perk them up with garlic, ground cumin, cayenne, and chili powder.)

   Just heat and a bowl, spooned over pasta or a baked potato, as a dip for baked chips, or rolled in a tortilla with a sprinkle of shredded low-fat cheese.

   They’re 99 percent fat-free, they’re low in calories (160), and they’re loaded with protein (13 grams per cup), fiber (12 grams—half a day’s worth), vitamin A (a day’s worth), and vitamin C and iron (20 percent of a day’s worth).

   What sets Health Valley apart is that, unlike much of the competition, it relies on good cooking, not salt, for flavor. With 65 to 320 milligrams of sodium per cup, Health Valley runs rings around Hormel chilies like Vegetarian with Beans (780 mg) and Less Sodium with Beans (930 mg).

Health Valley: (800) 423-4846.
Ever notice how companies use loveable or comforting characters to push their outrageous foods?

   Take Keebler. Its mischievous little elves tout some of the most nutritionally reckless cookies you can buy (three of their Fudge Stripes or Deluxe Grahams contain a quarter of a day’s saturated fat—more than twice what you’d get from three Oreos). Then there’s Mrs. Smith, that pretend lady whose fatty frozen pies may explain why you never hear about Mr. Smith.

   Put the elves and the missus together (and we mean that in a family-magazine sort of way) and you’ve got Mrs. Smith’s Cookies & Cream Pies—a “new line of cool desserts teaming up uncommonly good Keebler cookies with Mrs. Smith’s rich and creamy pie fillings,” as the box puts it.

   Name your poison. Mrs. S. lets you clog your arteries in any of five flavors: ChocoMint, Droxies, LemonyLemon, S’mores, or Strawbanana.

   One slice—a sixth of a pie, packs about 400 calories and about 20 grams of fat—half of them saturated. That’s half a day’s sat fat...and it doesn’t even include the trans fat in the pies’ shortening.

   The boxes offer some helpful suggestions for when to eat the sweets: “after school,” “after dinner,” and (our favorite) “after midnight.”

   How about “after never”?

Mrs. Smith’s: (678) 482-3000.
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