Dogs versus dogs: BU's Terriers against NU's Huskies in the Beanpot Tournament, 8 p.m., Monday, February 5, at the Fleet Center

Vol. IV No. 21   ·   2 February 2001 


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Recognition of the sweet truth
The healthful and tasty side of Valentine's Day

By David J. Craig

A heart-shaped box of chocolates is the most obvious way to say I love you on Valentine's Day. But a healthful and stylish alternative may speak just as sweetly to that special someone.

  Joan Salge Blake. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

The favorite desserts of Joan Salge Blake, an adjunct clinical assistant professor of nutrition at Sargent College and a dietitian, are no less delicious for their low sugar and fat. Her choice for this February 14 is angel food cake topped with sliced strawberries and chocolate syrup.

"It's a perfect dish for busy people because there's nothing to put in the oven," says Blake. "But it's delicious and aesthetically beautiful, and it will look like you slaved in the kitchen for hours. You just buy a quality angel food cake, add some fresh sliced strawberries, and drizzle on top some chocolate syrup to satisfy that chocolate urge. I especially love it because I'm always trying to sneak fruit into dishes."

Blake's easy-to-follow recipe achieves its taste sensation with virtually no fat and just 190 calories, less than half the amount in some desserts. "A small slice of homemade cheesecake, on the other hand," says Blake, "has about 450 calories and 18 grams of fat, half of which are saturated fat."

The key to the angel cake's delectability, she says, is the inclusion of often-craved chocolate, but in a low-fat form. Chocolate syrup, such as Hershey's, is made with cocoa, which has most of the fatty cocoa butter removed. A tablespoon, therefore, contains as few as 50 calories and zero fat. Because of this, Blake recommends using cocoa instead of milk chocolate or baking chocolate in recipes to achieve the taste without the fat.

The point is not trivial to chocoholics -- Blake points out that scientists have suggested that a deficiency of magnesium may cause a sweet tooth, as chocolate is rich in the mineral. Another theory, she says, holds that a chocolate attack may signal that the body needs biogenic amines, which can effect mood and possibly counteract depression.

"The bottom line is that eating sweets is all right so long as it doesn't replace more nutritious foods on a regular basis," says Blake. "I mean, what's not to love about chocolate? It tastes good, and that's what food is all about, so enjoy it. Candy isn't poisonous. It's just full of calories and offers little nutritional value.

"But we shouldn't feel guilty about the food we eat," she continues. "We should just make sure to combine the palatable with good nutrition."

Angel Food Cake Recipe


2 February 2001
Boston University
Office of University Relations