Sunday, June 17, 2012

Getting a makeover???

I don't read much in the USA Weekend Sunday supplement, not having an interest in the stars of vampire movies who anchor the celebrity gossip page, but I do eyeball the recipes.  I have noticed approvingly that the magazine does include a lot of medical and fitness information, and its recipes seem to be healthier than most.

So I was intrigued to read that this week's dish was billed as "a summer side gets a makeover."

photo -- USA WEEKEND

It's a three-bean salad, made over by using edamame and fresh green beans instead of canned.  And, according to the write-up, "a sweet-tart dressing that gets its primary sweetness from apricot all-fruit preserves instead of the refined sugar in the usual recipe."  (Subtext: fruit good, refined sugar bad!)

That sounds good, until you read the recipe.  Sure, there's a quarter-cup of apricot preserves (160 calories) -- plus a tablespoon of bad old refined sugar (45 calories more).

Hmmm, where to start.

First, if it's good to get your sweetness from fruit, why add the sugar?

Second, if fruit good refined sugar bad, how come the fruit is providing almost four times the calories of the sugar?  Sounds like neither one is very good.

Third, why do we want almost 14 teaspoons of sugar in our vegetables?

I checked out the traditional recipes for three-bean salad and most of them have even more sugar than this version, so I guess this is a healthy makeover as far as it goes.  But it doesn't go very far.  As long as we're encouraging people to rethink grandma's recipes, canned vegetables with lots of sugar, why not encourage them to rethink with one teaspoon of sugar, or none?

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