A Thought About “Healthy” Desserts and Cakes

It’s been a relatively well known fact over the past fifty, maybe even a hundred years, that desserts are fattening. They are wonderful, but they are fattening. This didn’t pose a big problem to many cultures o strata of society- Victorians, for example, happened to like their women a little on the chunky side, and first generation Americans liked to produce fat children because it showed the world how rich they were- after all, they were no longer starving. But, well, when thin became “in,” dessert became dangerous.

So madison Avenue set to finding new ways to make us believe that we could eat dessert without gaining weight. In the late 50′s ice milk became very popular. ice milk is a substitute for ice cream only in that it has a higher water content and lower milk and butterfat content than ice cream. It doesn’t taste like ice cream, but it doesn’t taste bad. In fact, of all the desserts we’ve sampled- especially the ones that claim to be dietetic- ice milk holds up as one of the best.

shortly thereafter you may have noticed a whole special area in your grocery store.  All kinds of newfangled desserts emerged: cookies and cakes that weren’t supposed to be fattening, gelatins and puddings that claimed to have only a handful of kilojoules, and all kinds of fake milk shake drinks. These foods were supposed to satisfy your craving for dessert while not polluting your body with excess kilojoules. What the manufacturers failed to mention is that they were polluting your body with chemicals instead. And you all know how we feel about chemicals.  We don’t like anything synthetic, and we are highly suspicious of foods that are made of the same things polyester is made of.

We weren’t the only ones who were wary, because shortly after, by the lats 60′s, the healthful revolution had taken over. The byword of the health food nuts became carrot cake. suddenly chocolate cake was out and carrot cake was in. or banana nut or alfalfa raisin or zucchini cinnamon. Well, let us tell you about carrot cake. it may look healthy, it may come in whole earth kind of simple brown wrapper that says no chemicals on it. it may be made of God’s own carrots, raisins, and honey. But it is still fattening. About the smallest ingredient in carrot cake is carrots. And then once you bake the cake you have to frost it: that cream cheese icing is mixed with sugar and then topped with a marzipan orange carrot with green leaves. Cute? Very fattening? You betcha.

Along with the natural foods kick came the yogurt kick. People suddenly got the great idea that ice cream was fattening but frozen yogurt wasn’t. They flocked in herds to yogurt stands and asked for carob sprinkles instead of chocolate sprinkles on top of their strawberry flavoured frozen yogurt in the whole sugar cone. They bought push-up snacks of flavoured frozen yogurt for their kids weaning them off ice blocks for something not only healthy but not fattening. They all but boycotted the baked goods department of the grocery store as they chained their bikes to the yoplait bike stand out front and stocked up on any of six dozen new flavours of yogurt. And when the news was broadcast, no one wanted to listen: Yogurt may have just as many kilojoules as ice cream. Plain old yogurt does not, flavoured yogurt may. So what was a person to do?

Eat dessert. Avoid desserts and cakes that promise that they aren;t fattening. They’re lying to you. Avoid appetite suppressing foods that are supposed to taste like cookie cakes or breakfast bars but don’t. Eat real old-fashioned desserts. but do it in moderation.


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