The inside scoop 

Your Econ. paper's due at 5 p.m., a few short hours away, but you need a little extra treat to keep you focused. Before jumping in the car on your sweet and creamy mission, get the inside scoop on what's really going down. It's a mouthful all its own.

A serving (that's less than a full container, pals) of Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia will leave you with 260 calories, 11 grams of saturated fat and 23 grams of sugar. The carbohydrates will total 26 grams, sodium 65 grams and cholesterol 70 milligrams. On the plus side, you'll get 4 grams of protein, 10 percent of the recommended daily requirement of vitamin A, 15 percent of your daily calcium, and 4 percent of the iron you need.

That's not so bad. Chunky Monkey packs a whopping 300 calories and 27 grams of sugar. Haagen-Daz Dulce de Leche Caramel ice cream will provide you with 290 calories, 100 milligrams of cholesterol, 28 grams of sugar and 95 milligrams of sodium. It's enough to drive you to Jamba Juice where healthier choices abound.

Or do they? Jamba fruit smoothies pack between 440 and 540 calories. They're lower in fat than ice cream, higher in carbs, and offer a bit of fiber (ice cream has none). Watch out, however, for the creamy smoothies at Jamba. The Chocolate Moo'd, made with chocolate milk, frozen nonfat yogurt and sorbet, has 690 calories. The Peanut Butter Moo'd adds peanut butter and banana, and tips the scales at 840 calories. Keep in mind, however, that the portion size is humongous.

If you want to keep things in perspective, consider the chocolate malt from Dairy Queen. A medium serving has 880 calories, 200 of which are from fat. Cholesterol is a mere 70 milligrams but the sodium content is 500 milligrams, hard to fathom in a sweet drink. Along with 131 grams of sugar, the chocolate malt gives you 19 grams of protein, a whopping 40 percent of your daily vitamin A and 60 percent of your calcium needs.

What's the solution for the serious, and frequently sedentary, student? Here's an option: Luigi's Real Italian Ice, available at supermarkets: 120 calories, 10 mg sodium, 23 grams of sugar, only 30 grams of carbohydrates and zero fat and cholesterol. Also Josh & John's sorbets are comparable (and incomparably good).

Or just throw caution to the wind and live it up. You've got plenty of time to be a starving student.



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