Taste Test: Cookies

Free Range Chicken
This month we compared cookies that look and taste like Oreo Cookies. You may recall in 2003, an attorney from San Francisco filed suit against Kraft (the manufacturer of Oreos) seeking to ban the sale of Oreo Cookies to children in California because they contain unhealthy trans fats.

The National Academy of Sciences has confirmed the relationship between trans fat intake and heart disease and says there is no safe amount of trans fat in the diet. Since this lawsuit, Kraft is working to remove trans fats from Oreos. For more information:

In the case of Oreos, the issue goes beyond trans fat. Let’s take a close look at the ingredients.

Oreo Cookies: sugar, enriched white flour, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, cocoa, high fructose corn syrup, baking soda, cornstarch, salt, soy lecithin, vanillin, chocolate

In addition to the hydrogenated soybean oil, Oreos are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). This corn-based sweetener may contribute to obesity when consumed regularly (most processed foods and soft drinks contain HFCS), and most of the HFCS on the market is genetically modified. Finally, Kraft does not use real vanilla in these cookies; Oreos are flavored with an artificial flavoring called vanillin. 

The Results!

We taste tested three natural food versions of Oreo Cookies:

1)   Newman-O’s

2)   Health Valley Cookie Cremes Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

3)   Country Choice Organic Chocolate Sandwich Cremes

Each person on our panel (seven members) either picked Health Valley as the hands-down winner or to tie with the Country Choice brand. I recommend the Country Choice brand because they are made from higher quality ingredients; they contain more organic ingredients, use hi-oleic sunflower/safflower oil instead of soybean oil (Health Valley), and contain no artificial ingredients. Take a closer look.

Country Choice Organic Chocolate Sandwich Cremes: organic wheat flour, organic powdered evaporated cane juice with organic corn starch, organic evaporated cane juice, organic hi-oleic sunflower and/or safflower oil, organic cocoa, organic cane syrup, baking soda, organic vanilla extract, sea salt, natural flavors, organic chocolate liquor, soy lecithin.

If you know someone who eats Oreos, encourage them to try Country Choice cookies. Imagine making improvements to your health by choosing a cookie that our panel agreed tastes as good as or better than Oreos.

Did You Know? The Nutrition Facts label information will include trans fat information by January 1, 2006. By law, a product can contain up to 0.5 gram of trans fat per serving and still be labeled trans-fat free. Avoid all products that contain partially hydrogenated oil.

Next month’s tasting: chocolate (dark and milk)