Sometimes you just can't make it into the kitchen to cook. Dr. Gourmet has reviewed over 800 common convenience foods, ingredients, and restaurant selections so that you know what's worth eating - and what's not. View the Index of all Dr. Gourmet's Food Reviews
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Dr. McDougall has been around for a long time. He was one of the first to begin speaking out about the connection between diet and health. He's had a clinic in Santa Rosa, California along with a long line of products including convenience foods for three decades.
I've seen them in the store for the last 20 years, but truthfully have not purchased them because I felt that, like the Pritikin diet, the products were just too harsh. While the concepts of low fat diet are clearly outdated, that doesn't mean that there might not be good foods that can be paired with an otherwise healthy balanced diet. Generally super low in fat, they are also vegetarian, but the key to my avoiding them has been the sodium content. I was, however, noodling around the grocery store and there were some products that had been repackaged, and, it appeared, reformulated, so I thought we'd give it a try.
The package says "Natural Delicious Wellness," but that's not what you'll find inside. Natural? Sort of. Delicious? Nope? Wellness? Not really.
We started with the Pad Thai Noodle Soup Big Cup. You have to look at the Nutrition Facts carefully, as the cup of soup contains two servings (shame on you Dr. McDougall for letting this happen). While it's only 200 calories and 1 gram of fat (remember, fat is not bad for you so this is not something to value in a convenience food, but rather the quality of the fat), there is a whopping 580 mg of sodium. Worst of all there's a single gram of fiber per serving (but you do get two servings so I suppose that's some consolation).
And you can taste every bit of that salt. This soup tastes like salty sawdust soup with gummy noodles in it. As for any Thai flavor, there is something that resembles Asian spices but nothing that comes even close to Pad Thai. It can only be described as perfectly awful. I don't think that it's the worst soup that we've tasted but it is right down there at the bottom.
We thought that this was bad but the Black Bean and Lime Big Cup is really terrible. One taster described this as "salty brown glue" and another as "that's some f*#ed up soup." There are more calories in this one - 170 per serving - but once again there are two servings in the big cup (shame on you again, doctor). It does contain a whopping 28 grams of fiber in those two servings, which I figure is supposed to make up for the lack of fiber in the Pad Thai. There is, as you I am sure guessed, a ton of salt at 660 mg in the cup.
This is everything that has given "health food" a bad name in the last 30 years right here in these two cups. Awful tasting, salty food that has no flavor and doesn't resemble the recipes that they purport to be selling us.
Ugh! I'll wait another 20 years before I try the McDougall brand again - and you should too.