A report this week from the National Baked Goods Council delivers a full-throated defense of chocolate brownies, reminding "active, on-the-go" Americans that the rich, decadent treats are "the original energy bars."
"With its signature rectangular shape, a brownie is indisputably a bar," it says. "And at 300 to 400 calories apiece, these bars provide ample energy."
In fact, a typical 2-inch brownie delivers about 130 calories. But, as the report points out, "who eats a 2-inch brownie?"
The report appears to be a response to the growing popularity of energy bars, including a huge commercial market as well as a profusion of D.I.Y. home recipes. Such bars are billed as convenient and nutritious—packed with protein, for example, or made with organic ingredients.
The report cautions against trying to make brownies healthy, however, by using ingredients such as black beans, for instance, calling such recipes "bullshit."
"Chocolate is a superfood, right?" it says. "Therefore brownies are superfood. Add some walnuts, and the nutritional profile goes through the roof."
Dietitians were skeptical of the report's findings, but at least one other national trade group endorsed it enthusiastically.
"We could not agree more with the Council's findings," said the Association of U.S. Dairy Farmers. "Whether cakelike or fudgy, store-bought or homemade, a chocolate brownie is indeed a terrific option for athletes seeking a quick, delicious way to fuel their workout."
"Especially," it added, "when paired with a tall glass of cold milk."