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03.21.07
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Dear HG,

I know you are loving those new Fiber One bars, but some of the ingredients in the bars seem weird to me. The Oats & Chocolate ones contain "shellac". That sounds more like something you'd find at an auto body shop than in a snack bar. Can you please tell me what's up? Are these bars healthy or not?

Bar Baffled
Dear Baffled,

 Over the past month, I have received emails like yours dozens of times. Here's the deal. I am NOT a dietitian, a nutritionist or a doctor, so I am not going to weigh in on whether or not these bars are healthy. The bars are not being marketed as "health" bars. The box does state a few things, however. For starters, it has the "Best Life" seal on it, which means the bars are approved by bestselling author, health expert and Oprah pal Bob Greene. The bars are a good source of calcium and whole grain, and they contain a huge amount of fiber (9g) and no trans fats. They also have just 140 - 150 calories each, are low in fat and taste fantastic. As for the "weird" ingredients -- pretty much anything you pick up at your local market is going to have some ingredients that you find questionable.  Even products found at natural foods stores can contain ingredients (like certain animal byproducts) that you might find odd.  As for the "shellac" -- here is the official word from my General Mills contact. She says that "food-grade shellac is a common ingredient in confectioner¬ís glaze used as a coating on the chocolate chips. It keeps the chocolate chips from melting." After Googling it myself, I found that shellac is also commonly used on apples (making them shinier) and it has not been found to be dangerous or harmful in any way. One more thing -- while this food-grade shellac is NOT the same thing as furniture coating (as some of you implied), it is a resin secreted by a tiny, female beetle as a means to hold her eggs to the bark of a tree. Oh, lighten up -- some bug worked really hard for you. And it's not all that different than beeswax, a pretty well accepted insect secretion used in the food & cosmetics worlds. And, yes, I'm definitely still a fan of these fantastically yummy bars.  And we have THREE boxes of 'em at the HG HQ right now!


Dear Hungry Girl,

I usually save all of your emails but I am looking for some of your recipes from a while back -- one for cabbage soup and another that calls for brownie mix and pumpkin -- and I can't find them in my inbox. Help, HG!

In Search Of Stuff
Dear In Search Of,

No worries -- every single past HG email is archived on our website. If you check out hungry-girl.com you'll see there are five buttons on the homepage. Each button has a name -- News, Chew The Right Thing, Ask Hungry Girl, Weekly Weigh-In, and Girls Bite Out. Each of those areas corresponds to a different day of the week. So if you click on "News" you can find every single Monday news email that we have sent since we launched in the spring of 2004 -- and so on. There's also a handy search bar up top you can use to search the site by keyword. I'll admit it's not the BEST or most effective search tool on the planet, but if you play around with it you can usually find what you're looking for. The key thing to remember here is this -- if you delete an email by accident, or if you simply want to go back and see things you missed or forgot about, just go to hungry-girl.com and poke around. It's all there! BTW -- find the cabbage soup recipe here and those brownie muffins made with pumpkin here. Have fun!

 
CHEW ON THIS:
Hey! It's the 21st and the first day of spring. It's also FREE ICED COFFEE DAY at Dunkin' Donuts! If you have one nearby, go get one. If not, sorry! (We're out of luck here in L.A.)
 
 
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