Cookies are dense little bundles of grains, fats, and sugars. And if you are like most folks, you like cookies. According to most surveys I checked, the best-selling cookie is the humble Oreo. Personally, I don’t care for Oreos. Too sweet for my palate so sometimes I make my own. Ingredients: rolled oats, walnuts, raisins, refined wheat flour, egg, butter, sugar, vanilla extract, salt.
That Nutrition Facts Panel pinned next to the picture looks similar to any other cookie, even an off-the-shelf ultra-processed brand like those Oreos. A little more saturated fat [butter] but much less sodium and added sugars. More potassium and protein. Comparable fiber.
As to how many I like to eat at a sitting. Well let’s just say a couple, especially when I bake them myself.
HEALTHY – AS PER LABELED SERVING
High Saturated Fat. Fatty Acid Ratio is unfavorable. Some Total Sugars are Added Sugar.
About 10 years ago, the buzz was that Oreos were as addictive as cocaine. The global food activist community sent out a resounding collective cheer that has haunted the echo chamber ever since. But I have a hard time with the addiction hypothesis because of the similarities between the nutrient profile of my cookies versus an Oreo.
My cookies are freshly baked from minimally processed and processed culinary ingredients [butter, sugar, salt]. Vanilla extract is the only industrially produced ingredient; the essence is extracted from the vanilla bean with alcohol. By shifting the balance away from sweet toward whole grain, fruit, and nuts, my cookies have greater flavor complexity.
I don’t make cookies very often. When I do however the aroma that fills the air greatly enhances my subjective experience of eating so when they come out of the oven, I always ignore the advice of my zealous colleagues to limit my intake to one small cookie.
But do you eat cookies because the numbers on the label reflect a healthy nutrient profile? The real question I would like to know the answer to is why do we need some labeled serving to give us permission to enjoy a couple of good cookies?