Girl Scout cookies: What you need to know & didn’t want to ask

Badges, camping, and girl bonding: These are the aspects of the Girl Scouts worth supporting. However, buying boxed cookies every year isn’t good for you or the Girl Scouts. They are unhealthy and propagate a poor example of wise food choices.

Trans fats, artificial flavors, and corn syrup…Oh my!

Make no mistake; there is nothing healthy about Girl Scout cookies. Unlike the homemade cookies that Girl Scouts used to bake and sell starting back in the 1920’s, today’s Girl Scout cookies are:

  • Processed
  • Devoid of nutrition
  • Made using poor quality ingredients including hydrogenated vegetable oil, corn syrup, and artificial colors & flavors
  • Happily using high fructose corn syrup since it is “a specifically helpful ingredient in the browning process.” Seriously. It says it right on their website.

Click here to see the labels for yourself.

Looking beyond the label: Pesticides & politics

What isn’t obvious from the labels are the:

  • Pesticides contaminating the cottonseed oil
  • Nutrient robbing and immune suppressing impact of the many sweeteners used
  • Lack of quality protein and fat needed to prevent skyrocketing blood sugar and cravings for more cookies (and yes, there are plenty of cookies and desserts that don’t have this problem)
  • Measly 10-20% profit that local troops and girls make off each box
  • Mixed messages these girls are getting by selling unhealthy, processed food to people while simultaneously trying to earn badges in “respecting yourself and others” (that should include health), “healthy living”, and “eating for beauty”.

Now, if you are saying to yourself, “It’s no big deal, it’s only once a year, blah, blah, blah…”, remember that most people aren’t buying a single box of cookies that is in and out of the house in a week. About 200 million boxes are sold every year. It isn’t uncommon for families to buy 5 or more boxes (there are up to 28 varieties).

It is possible to support the Girl Scouts while taking a stand for your health and the health of those around you. Next time you see Girl Scouts selling cookies, skip the cookies and instead, make a donation (.50 cents is equal to the profit they’d make on 1 box) along with the suggestion that they offer healthier alternatives including homemade cookies like the troops used to sell in the future.

9 replies
  1. Laura
    Laura says:

    Right on! I make donations straight to the troops themselves, since for the reasons above as well as a few others, I don’t consider Girl Scout Cookies food. Now, if they were to do a bake sale with healthier alternatives, I’d be all over that!

  2. ed
    ed says:

    Healthier choices would be my pick; not outright elimination of all that is unhealthy. People have teh right to choose and the GSA should choose better options, but for now, the market has chosen and it ain’t for healthier alternatives. Nonetheless, donating direct is a better option, though I for one, will still buy my one box a year

    • rebecca
      rebecca says:

      Healthier options would be great. And yes, people clearly demonstrate their ability to make unhealthy choices! Diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and infertility are running rampant. Diet improvements, not perfection, must happen. Our “food” options have become so far removed from the original foods they started out as.

  3. Paul Makepeace
    Paul Makepeace says:

    You say “200 billion boxes” when the article you link to says “200 million boxes”. Common sense suggests that they’re not selling 600+ boxes per person in the US 😉

    Your subtitle under the pic says “Trans fats” when the nutritional list says 0g for every variety.

    • rebecca
      rebecca says:

      Thanks, Paul. The billion was a typo, but the trans fats is actually misleading. If each serving is less than .5 grams of trans fats, they can say zero. Those .5’s add up! Not to mention, the types of oils they use are very poor quality and easily converted into free radicals in the body once ingested.

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    Donn Langeness says:

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