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Let them eat Entenmann's.

Let Them Eat Entenmann's

It used to be easy to remember what went into a pound cake: a pound of butter, a pound of sugar, a pound of eggs, and a pound of flour.

Now Entenmann's has come along and ruined the whole thing.

"We asked our master bakers to use the same ingredients they've always used...except the fat," explains Kevin Lang, a food technologist with General Foods, the Philip Morris subsidiary that owns Entenmann's.

It took three year, but the bakers finally came through--with flying crullers. Entenmann's new fat-and cholesterol-free cakes, cookies, and pastries are getting rave reviews.

(Don't confuse Entenmann's no-fatties with pretenders like Pepperidge Farm's Pound Cake. PF simply replaced the butter and eggs with oil and slapped the words "No Cholesterol" across the label. The cake may not have any cholesterol, but it's still loaded with fat.)

The new Entenmann's line isn't perfect. Like regular baked desserts, they're packed with sugar. So don't reach for a piece of Blueberry Crunch Cake instead of fruit salad for dessert.

But if you like a little something sweet every now and again (or if your Aunt Sophie just can't do without her "coffee and whatever" after dinner), check out Entenmann's new fat-free line. (Look for the boxes with the yellow band along the sides.)


To its credit, entenmann's didn't just replace its grease with some space-age fake fat. It could have waited for the FDA to approve the potentially cancer-causing fat subsitute olestra.

"We didn't take the chemical approach of adding artificial fat and sugar substitutes to our regular line," says General Foods' Lang. "Instead, we came up with an entirely new product."

So how did they do away with the fat and cholesterol? To begin with, they subsituted egg whites for whole eggs and non-fat milk for whole milk.

But what replaces the butter, shortening, and oils? Lang won't say, but we suspect it's egg whites and safe vegetable gums like guar, xanthan, and carobbean, which are often added to doughs to make them moist and give them body. Entenmann's fat-free cakes may have a little more than its regular line.


Don't get us wrong: the new desserts aren't health foods.

The first ingredient in most of the cakes is still sugar, and some (the Cherry Cheese Pastry comes to mind) taste like they should only be eaten in the presence of a toothbrush.

Lang assured us that the fat-free sweets have no more sugar than the regulars, but the company wouldn't give us nutrition information for its regular desserts, so we couldn't check.

Even if Lang is right, though, those sugar calories can add up. The new desserts will set you back 150 to 225 calories for an average serving (which is 2.8 ounces, according to the USDA, and not the puny 1 ounce listed on Entenmann's label).

Of course, that's still 25 to 40 percent less than you'll get from most regular cakes.


AT our CSPI taste-test, people we didn't even know were still working here showed up to sample the desserts.

Everyone agreed that the Entenmann's tasted like the real thing. In a blind test, 9 out of 12 people thought the no-fat pound cake was the regular!

Entenmann's is a hard act to follow--to hard, in fact, that no one's yet been able to do it. Some companies have reduced the fat in their desserts, but the price many of them have paids is lousy taste.


Even Hostess--makers of venerable junk foods like Honey Buns, Ho Hos, and Ding Dongs--is trying to change its image.

Hostess Lights, a slightly smaller glop-filled version of Hostess regular cupcakes, do have less fat (1 gram vs. 5) and fewer calories (125 vs 190).

Even so, the lights--like the regulars--still have the mouth feel of "sponges with rigor mortis," as one taste tester put it.


At anywhere from 4 to 7 grams of fat per serving, Weight Watchers desserts do have less fat then regular cakes. And their 100 to 220 calories also are lower than most regulars. But their taste isn't in the same league as Entenmann's.

The brownies, chocolate mousse, and three chocolate cakes tasted fine, but don't go near the Strawberry Cheesecake or the Black Forest Cake unless you're looking for a gelatinous blob with some artificial-looking red goop floating on top.

It's also tough to serve your guest a dessert that's sitting in a three-inch square plastic tub.


If possible, Pepperidge Farm's new Dessert Lights are even less appealing than Weight Watchers.

Oh, sure: fat (2 to 5 grams per serving) and calories (150 to 170) are all on the lowish side. But so is flavor.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Center for Science in the Public Interest
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:comparison of low-fat & fat-free desserts
Author:Schmidt, Stephen
Publication:Nutrition Action Healthletter
Date:Apr 1, 1990
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