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Mexican food: oile.

Rice, beans, and tortillas. What a foundation for a healthy cuisine.

So why were we scratching our cabezas as we looked at the results of our latest laboratory test of restaurant foods?

* An order of Beef & Cheese Nachos with as much fat as ten glazed doughnuts at Dunkin' Donuts.

* A Chicken Burrito dinner with 1 1/2 day's worth of sodium.

* A Chile Relleno dinner with as much saturated fat as 27 slices of bacon.

Only one of the dishes we tested--chicken fajitas--was decent enough to recommend...if you order it without the beans, sour cream, and guacamole.

That was the good news.

The sad part was that, unlike Chinese or Italian restaurant food, it's tough to make Mexican better.

GOOD SCOUTS

It is with gratitude that I write you regarding your story "Scout's Dishonor" (May 1994, back cover).

For many years I purchased Girl Scout cookies because I felt, as others did, that we were helping a worthy cause. It was not until I realized what the ingredients were that I stopped buying them.

The only way that these cookies will change is if the Girl Scouts themselves make this an issue. Also, if people could just say "no" to the Scouts--and that takes a lot of effort.

I do, however, feel that your article has done a great deal of good in alerting the public.

BAD SCOUTS

Girl Scout cookies and milk may not be the model of a healthy snack, but the Girl Scouts have been a positive influence on young women for several decades.

How dare you shine your dirty spotlight on a major source of funds for such an honorable organization.

POPPING PROUD

Thanks for the popcorn/theater issue (May 1994). I heard (on public radio) that AMC decided to change its oil. I laughed all the way to work.

CSPI is a watchdog with teeth. I love it. Thanks for letting me participate.

MISLEADING MSG

In your article "Food Sensitivity--Nothing to Sneeze At" (May 1994, p. 12), the information concerning monosodium glutamate was incomplete and misleading.

I have a severe sensitivity to MSG. I suffered from daily headaches as a result of consuming small doses every day (in salad dressings, frozen foods, canned soups, etc.) because I didn't know how to identify and avoid it. In addition to being listed on food labels as monosodium glutamate or hydrolyzed vegetable protein, MSG uses other aliases.

Your article recommends asking Chinese restaurants to prepare food without MSG. This will reduce, but won't eliminate it. Even if the restaurant doesn't add MSG, the ingredients in the dishes probably already contain it--the soy sauce, oyster sauce, etc.

GLEE CLUB

It isn't the attack on Chinese food, or movie theater popcorn, or even Girl Scout cookies that bothers me. It is your attitude--the undisguised glee, the "ha-ha, you poor suckers, you thought that you were doing the right thing and you were WRONG" approach--in short, the gloating.

Your current approach is goading me and others like me to thumb our noses at you and head straight for the popcorn concession and the freezer. A childish reaction, certainly, but inevitable, considering your tone.
COPYRIGHT 1994 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 1994, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:includes related information; fat content of prepared Mexican foods is analyzed
Author:Schmidt, Stephen
Publication:Nutrition Action Healthletter
Article Type:Cover Story
Date:Jul 1, 1994
Words:523
Previous Article:Soup's on.
Next Article:Diving into the gene pool.
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