There’s a new candy popping up next to grocery check-out stands and it comes from Skinny Cow. Just because a brand markets itself as “healthier” doesn’t always mean that it is. So before you shrug off a Twix fix for a seemingly “better” candy bar, we wanted to look below the wrapper and get the real skinny.
A one-ounce portion of traditional Turtle candies sold at the check-out weighs in with 510 calories! Yikes! That’s more than we’d recommend for an entire meal. The Skinny Cow Dreamy Clusters have far less with 120 calories for that same portion.
Our dietitian, Mary Hartley, RD, took a look at the Skinny Cow Dreamy Clusters and was glad to see a noticeable difference in the two candies. “It’s like the regular version is four or five times worse. But, Skinny Cow managed to keep the fiber. Go figure.” Both candies have three grams of fiber, not something you’d usually find on junk food ingredient labels. (Compare that to a similar candy, Snickers, which has only .5 grams of fiber for a one-ounce serving.)
There are a variety of different sugars and preservatives in the Skinny Cow Dreamy Clusters, as you would find in anything on the candy aisle. However, there weren’t any true “red flags” that stood out to us or Hartley. We’d rather not see the palm oil, but we’re glad to finally see a packaged product that doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup.
The package also advertises that the product has “2 POINTS,” referencing the Weight Watchers PointsPlus program. However, it disclaims that the value was calculated by the Nestle brand and is there for informational purposes only, continuing that it is not to be assumed as an endorsement by Weight Watchers. There is no way to know if the “2 POINTS” are for the former POINTS values or the current PointsPlus values.
The serving seemed small, but then again, we Americans are used to everything being way too big, so the five little clusters were just right for a sweet-tooth fix.
“If the Skinny Cow tastes nearly as good as the [original] Turtle, people will like it, and they will appreciate ‘wasting’ only 120 calories rather than 510,” said Hartley. Having tasted them ourselves, we’d totally agree.
Don’t get too excited just yet though, the Skinny Cow Heavenly Crisp is far more deceiving. Just because one of their candies gets a pass, this one does not. It has three varied mentions of palm oil on its label, both hydrated and partially hydrated versions. There is also corn syrup and TBHQ, a controversial chemical preservative.
The light chocolate-covered wafer cookie didn’t seem anywhere near as worthy of the 110-calorie splurge as its counterpart.
Just because a brand gets it right once, doesn’t mean you can assume trust across all of their products. Venture down the frozen aisle and you’ll see that Skinny Cow ice cream treats have got a lot of questionable ingredients, like high fructose corn syrup.
For now, Skinny Cow seems to have gotten it mostly right with their version of the Turtle, and if you’re watching calories but need a fix once in a while, you could indulge in this treat.
February 20th, 2012