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Tough cookies.

You'll never get healthy by eating cookies. Not Archway ("the good food cookie"). Not Frookies ("the good for you cookie"). Not Health Valley ("good tasting... and healthy").

But this new generation of cookies won't do as much damage as its predecessors. Many have less fat and sugar (fat numbers are easy to get; companies treat sugar numbers like State Secrets). Some have more fiber. And a few actually supply decent amounts of the occasional vitamin or mineral.


Best: Health Valley Fat-Free Fruit Center

Worst: Pepperidge Farm Strawberry Fruit

If you're looking for a fat-free cookie, start here...with Health Valley. Its Fruit Center cookies are filled with whole grain flours, brans, and fruits, many of them organic.

They have a respectable 3 1/2 grams of fiber per one-ounce cookie--about as much as in two slices of whole wheat bread--and at least ten percent of the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (USRDA) for vitamin A (it's probably the added carrot powder).

And, unlike Fig Newtons, they're sulfite-free. (Companies add sulfites to keep their fruit fillings from discoloring. Sulfites can cause life-threatening reactions in some people, mostly asthmatics.)

Unfortunately, we found Health Valley's cookies too intensely sweet. The same went for all the other fat-free cookies, whether sweetened with fruit-juice concentrate (HEalth Valley, Frookies, Natures Warehouse, Heaven Scent) or sugar (Entenmann's, Weight Watchers).

(Don't give fruit-juice concentrate too much credit. It's little more than sugar-water.)

The only fruit-filled cookies our tasters liked were Archway Apple Filled and Date Filled Oatmeal and Frookies Fruitins. They may be worth the gram or two of fat.

Pepperidge Farm Strawberry Fruit cookies are made with butter and have twice the fat of the average fruit cookie.


Best: Health Valley Fat-Free Raisin Oatmeal

Worst: Pepperidge Farm Oatmeal Raisin

Health Valley's fat-free oatmeal cookies are made from whole wheat flour, rolled oats, and a slew of other grains and brans. They'll give you some fiber and vitamin A.

No such luck with Entenmann's fat-free oatmeal cookies. The first two ingredients are sugar and white flour.

If it's taste you want, try Archway Oatmeal. And if it's fat, try Pepperidge Farm Oatmeal Raisin. Three of them will sock you with eight grams of fat, some of it highly saturated.


Best: None

Worst: Oreo Big Stuf

You're not going to find many whole grains or nutrients in this category.

Two Oreos have only four grams of fat, but two of the four are saturated. That's about ten percent of your saturated-fat allowance for a whole day. Oreo Big Stufs have more than twice as much fat as regular Oreos.


Honorable Mention: Entenmann's Fat Free Oatmeal Chocolatey Chip

Worst: Chips Ahoy! Chocolate Chunk Pecan

Entenmann's may have chocolate chips, but don't expect them to taste like the chocolate chip cookies you dream about.

The lowest-fat, good-tasting chocolate chip cookies were from Frookies. Three of them (about an ouce) contain five grams of fat and 135 calories. That's not great, but you could do a lot worse: Two Chips Ahoy! Chocolate Chunk Pecans have 12 grams of fat and 200 calories.


Best: Health Valley Honey Jumbo Peanut Butter

Worst: Grandma's Big Peanut Butter

Most peanut butter cookies are too fatty to justify their itsy bit of protein. A Health Valley Jumbo Peanut Butter, though, has one-third the fat of the average peanut butter cookie.

On the other side of the ledger are Grandma's Bit Peanut Butter cookies, with 15 grams of fat and 205 calories, and Girl Scout Tagalongs, with 12 grams of fat and 160 calories.


Best: Wholesome Choice Carrot Walnut

Worst: Lemon Nut Crunch

Most of Pepperidge Farm's 49 kinds of Milanos, Sausalitos, etc., defy categorization...unless we had a category for fatty cookies.

Try the company's new Wholesome Choice line. It averages about three grams of fat and 22 percent of calories from fat. Just keep in mind that Pepperidge Farm has never seen a whole grain it liked.

As for taste, we loved the Carrot Walnut, which supplies 20 percent of the USRDA for vitamin A.

Worst honors go to the Lemon Nut Crunch. Three cookies (an ounce) contain 11 grams of fat.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Center for Science in the Public Interest
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Brand Name Comparison
Author:Schmidt, Stephen
Publication:Nutrition Action Healthletter
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Previous Article:Fix that label.
Next Article:How's your diet?

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