Saturday, April 3, 2010

Which Is A Better Cookie? Revealed

In the last post, Which is a Better Cookie?, I asked readers to look at two cookie ingredient lists.  One is advertised as wholesome, the other made no such claim.  I asked readers to pick out the cookie they would choose as more wholesome. 

Based on the ingredient lists, both could have been advertised as whole grain.  The first ingredient in cookie #1 is whole wheat flour while in cookie #2 is whole grain oats.  

Cookie #1: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookie #1 is a chocolate chip cookie that’s labeled on the packaging as whole grain.  Just because it’s made with whole grains does not make it healthy.  Partially hydrogenated oil is one of the main ingredient, and that's not good for your health.  Also, I wonder why the cookie contains five ingredients listed as milk replacements instead of milk.  It might appeal to schools where many students are lactose intolerance.  It's also possible that the milk replacements are more stable ingredients and help extend the shelf life of the cookies.

Cookie #2: Oatmeal Cookies

Cookie #2 is a oatmeal cookie that doesn’t make any claim to being better for you than other cookies.  I recognize most ingredients except, as a few of you have pointed out, THBQ.  I looked it up on Wikipedia.  It’s a preservative that's possibly hazardous to your health.   

The moral of this ingredient list comparison is that you shouldn’t trust any claims on packaging. Both cookies could have claimed they’re whole grain.  Look at ingredient lists and make sure you recognize items listed and are happy with what you see. 

Another significant consideration is how the cookie looks and tastes.  If it doesn’t look or taste good, no one will eat it, even if it is made with decent ingredients.  Both cookies look about the same.  However, cookie #1 tastes like a nutrition bar studded with imitation chocolate bits– it’s pretty awful.  Cookie #2 tastes just like what I expected for a prepackaged hard oatmeal cookie.  Not great, but it's still a cookie.  


  1. Very good teaching lesson Ms. A. I am learning a lot from you and your readers.

    The Whole Grains Council site you have on your side bar is an excellent guide to learning more about whole grains.

    Looking forward to your next post. Thank you for your blog.

    Mrs. S

  2. Honestly, my only real surprise is that the oatmeal cookie isn't trumpeting whole grains, too. What a crock! If we served our kids basically real food most of the time, then they could just eat a plain old-fashioned, yummy cookie once in a while and we wouldn't have to worry about all this other junk! (And yes, I mean parents too, not just schools.)

  3. I know this blog entry is a few months old. A rule of thumb which the nutritionists here in Australia are suggesting is: If you cant imagine what the raw product looks like, dont eat it. So reading down the list of ingredients, we know what sugar and wheat and flour etc look like. But when it comes to the Chemical ones we should investigate what they do and then make informed choices. Also what might be relatively harmless for us adults, might be more dangerous even in small amount for children.