A Dangerous Combination, Like Teenagers and Alcohol

March 18, 2010   12 Comments

The results of this duo are not unprotected sex, but unwanted pounds. This terrifying image will probably haunt you all day long.

Ben & Jerry's

The spoon and the pint of Ben & Jerry's.

Recently, I visited the Ben & Jerry's factory in Vermont. The tour guide announced, "Here at Ben & Jerry's we believe a single serving is a pint."

Really? A pint is 960 calories and 36 grams of saturated fat - about 200% of your daily needs for saturated fat!

I began to look at the workers at the plant and noticed that (with the exception of our tour guide) that they all looked a wee bit chubby. But, all of America looks chubby with 7 out of 10 Americans either overweight or obese.

Cherry Garcia is their best selling flavor and (full disclosure) this container was empty when I photographed it. It does taste pretty good. It has a nice balance of flavors and I enjoyed eating it with my FAMILY of four.

I don't want to demonize Ben & Jerry's. It isn't helpful to say food is BAD. This is just ice cream - but I do think it is a bit addictive.

Before Ben & Jerry's, there was just vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. Something about these flavors, Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch, Cookie Dough, Chunky Monkey gets in your brain.

My article:Would you Like To Add Some Heroin To Your Order? outlines an argument about how certain foods are addictive..

In Dr. Kessler's (former FDA commissioner under presidents Bush and Clinton), "The End of Overeating", he talks about a taste that combines salt, sugar, and fat that is addictive. Specifically, he talks about ice cream with mix-ins that trigger an addictive response.

So, how do you deal with Ben & Jerry's? Eat a little bit and not very often. The only way to do that is when you purchase some, get a big group together so it doesn't sit in your freezer.

Or try Haagen Dazs Snack Bar, they are 190 calories per serving and are discreet. No spoon here!

How do you deal with "out of control" ice cream cravings? Please share.

Want to read about snacks?
A Delicious and Reasonable Ice Cream Treat
3 Reasons to Avoid Ritz Crackers
This Food is An Instant Party in Your Mouth

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That's a great book! I really enjoyed it!

I like the Ben and Jerry's FroYo. Especially Half Baked. I swear I can't even tell it's yogurt. Of course, it's still not low calorie, but it's a bit better than the ice cream version of Half Baked. Over the weekend, my husband and I actually split the pint between us. But we had planned for such an indulgence. :)

A primary cause of food addiction are the chemicals they put in processed food, like "hidden" msg. These are proven addictive substances. Remember when the guy in the movie "Supersize Me" started getting withdrawal symptoms hours after a McDonalds meal? That's the chemicals! Ever wonder why their french fries are "as addictive as heroin?" It's not just the taste! Not even the world's greatest chefs can better the taste of McDonalds french fries - because they don't use chemicals.

Who's to say if even our friends at Ben and Jerry's don't slip a few "taste good chemicals" into their ice cream? A friend of mine worked at a popular orange juice packer. He was a batcher and with his forklift he loaded the 55 gallon drums of sugar into the 100% pure OJ.

I'm just sayin...

I don't buy the pints! If I had a taste for it, I would go to our local store and get a scoop. I have yet to visit the store but if I wanted to, I would get it and be done with it. I LOVE ice cream and I just know I can't afford to start eating it like I did as a kid or teen or even in my 20's so I just dont bother. It's not worth it :-(

This is a picture ( of the sugar content of 1 can of soda per day habit - annualized. Well, add to that ice cream, juice, candy, and more, and it becomes easy to figure out why Americans on average consume 170 pounds of sugar per year.

It ain't a pretty picture.

First, I LOVE Kessler's book. It's fantastic.

Second, I agree with you that we need to enjoy these foods IN MODERATION. Small amounts go a long way! What I DO like about Ben & Jerry's, however, is that the ingredient lists are generally quite simple. They tend to be natural, real ingredients, rather than a bunch of man-made chemicals. So in that sense, it's a little bit better than some other kinds of ice cream (though obviously that doesn't give license to eat it in large doses or on a regular basis!).

I'm also fascinated that your tour guide was pretty much the only non-chubby person you saw working there. Good marketing on their part, I suppose.

Just wanted to mention that we should all stop using "chemicals" as though they are all inherently bad. There are lots of "natural" things that will kill you (anyone want a swig of this cyanide? It's natural - you can find it in apple seeds!), and lots of "chemicals" that we all use every day, and that help us. Like toothpaste, or painkillers. Or adding flouride to our water. The demonization of all all chemicals and beatification of all things natural is misplaced.

Stan, I need to disagree with you regarding McDonald's fries. "Not even the world's greatest chefs can better the taste of McDonalds french fries"? I do not find McDonald's fries addictive. Rather, the last time I had them (only because I was with a friend who offered to buy me some) I thought they were bland and nasty. I've had MUCH better fries at so many other places.

Now, as far as B&J is concerned, I refuse to give up THAT addiction. I can certainly down a pint in one sitting, but my husband and I have tamed ourselves down to a 1/2 pint at a time. And so far, I wouldn't consider us to be a "wee bit chubby". If we do, maybe we'll cut down to a 1/2 cup at a time...

I used to eat close to a pint of B&J's in one sitting when I was a later teenager and lived in Burlington. Thankfully, I did not eat that much else after so indulging, so my weight wasn't an issue, but it was surely not a healthy way to eat. Also thankfully, at age 43, I just can't eat that way anymore. But in terms of how to manage my kids and their appetites, I always tell them there is no such thing as a 'bad' food, or a food that 'makes you fat.' Instead I focus on appropriate portion size. I always encourage them to look on the nutrition label to determine what 'one serving' is. In the case of B&J's, its half a cup, so a pint should be dessert for a family of four. (Also, I always serve ice cream out of a ramkin, to prevent over-serving myself/my kids). Much more frustrating for me is that it is now extremely hard to find a reasonable serving of ice cream at an ice cream stand. Try finding a place that will serve a 1/2 cup size ice cream on a cone. We end up having to share one CONE between the 3 or 4 of us, because there is nothing smaller. Talk about super sizing!

I agree with Robin. Nowadays, servings are huge and is probably why so many Americans are overweight. I just wish more companies would do smaller servings--I mean, is it really necessary to have a pint of ice cream? How about packaging them in smaller (Green) containers, I doubt anyone would notice a difference.

And since we're on the topic of ice cream, Lisa, have you ever tried Skinny Cow ice cream products?

I have only two brands of ice cream that I enjoy. The first is President's Choice which is only made with real ingredients including Canadian milk. The other is Ben and Jerry's. I love Cherry Garcia but I have found that if I eat it out of the carton, I eat less than if I scoop it out into a bowl. I prefer though to buy the single serving cups of ice cream rather than a whole carton to keep ice cream as a treat and as built in portion control.

I am a firm believer in everything in moderation…including moderation. I also know that 'big food' is in business to make money and they do that by creating food that is highly processed, not very nutritional and relatively cheap. The difficulty with weening people off of these food products is educating them on healthy eating which includes teaching them better ways. I have resources - time, money - and I live in an area known for it's fresh local produce. I want to eat wholesome foods and I am willing to prepare just about anything from whole natural ingredients. The majority of people do not have the time, money, nor inclination to do so. Families with both parents working and all the responsibilities of raising kids are the worst off in terms of 'dispensable' resources - I know, I was there at one time. Although I've always been called 'the food police' and attempted to feed my family healthy choices, at many times it became a question of do I spend quality time with my family or spend an entire Saturday in the kitchen making items that I can buy off the shelf. It's a trade-off. I know it is. I know what to eat and the importance of eating healthy food. Our aim should be to change the 'big food' industry. We can place some blame on the individuals for choosing the easier road. The majority of the blame needs to go on 'big food' for making addictive and unhealthy food products. Hats off to everyone who eats healthy all the time and doesn't fall off that lofty pedestal. I eat very few processed foods. I do love B&J's - their ice cream was my #1 'town treat' when I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in '11 - just what my body needed at the time…fat.

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