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Dear Hungry Girl,

What's the deal with the new "white" whole wheat and whole grain breads?  Are they good fiber choices?   Or should I avoid them like the plague?   They sure sound tempting to a girl who needs fiber.

-Fiber Fiend
Dear Fiend,

The verdict seems to still be out on white wheat bread.  Manufacturers of the light colored wheat loaves claim that this new kind of bread offers the health benefits of wheat bread, yet has the slightly sweet taste of white bread.  They say that while the coarse, grainy texture and bitter taste of wheat is eliminated from these new loaves, the nutritional advantages of whole wheat aren't lost.  The new white wheat breads are made using albino wheat, as well as a lot of chemicals and softening agents that give it the white color and sweet, chewy taste.  These white wheat loaves also have more fiber than regular white breads.  However, many nutritionists aren't ready to sing the white wheat's praises just yet. They point out that although the new breads have more fiber than plain old regular white bread, they still have less fiber than traditional brown wheat breads. Health experts also aren't thrilled with all the chemicals that are used to make this bread look and taste like pure white slices.  The critics' last gripe is that while these white wheat breads contain some whole wheat or whole grains, in truth, some of them only contain a small amount.  It's quite a debate. The bottom line?  Overall, real whole grain bread contains more fiber than white whole grain varieties.  Unless you really, really prefer the taste of white bread, or have a kid who refuses to eat anything else, I'd stick to the, well, wheat wheat breads.

Dear Hungry Girl,

You sometimes classify foods as "good," "bad," "scary," or "dangerous."  What makes a food good or scary?  Do you have a criteria you use as far as calories and/or fat are concerned?

-Scared in Saskatchewan
Dear Scared,

I don't really use any set system or criteria when designating a food "bad," "scary," "dangerous," etc., because whether or not a food is a good or bad option depends on the type of food it is, the other choices available, and the situation.  A 6 oz. beverage with 400 calories would probably warrant a "scary" both because a drink is not a filling meal, and because most other beverage options are much, much lower in calories.  A meal of chicken breast, veggies, and a small scoop of light ice cream with the same 400 calories, though, would not be considered a bad choice.  As for situational factors, eating a huge hunk of fudgy chocolate cake a few times a week would likely be classified as "bad," or "scary," but eating a slice of chocolate cake on your birthday wouldn't be.  Words like "dangerous" and "scary" are simply used to convey that these foods can be unhealthy and fattening.  One important point I want to make clear is that I am in no way saying that a person who eats a "scary" or "dangerous" food is "bad."  We all eat things we probably shouldn't every once in a while.  That's life.   Don't be scared when you see me label a food "frightening" or "disastrous," just keep in mind that it is a food you should, for the most part, try to avoid.

Today, September 28th, is National Strawberry Cream Pie Day.  Make a guilt free version by slicing strawberries, topping them with fat free Cool Whip, and some crushed Honey Maid Cinnamon Thin Crisps from Nabisco's 100 Calorie Packs. Mmmmmm!
Have a question for Hungry Girl?  Send it in!  She can't answer emails personally, but she responds to two new Qs each Wednesday.
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