Fig Newtons Are All Wrong

August 14, 2014   38 Comments

How can I pick on one of the best-selling cookies in America? The First Amendment says you can’t stop me.

Fig Newton Review

As a child, I couldn’t get enough Fig Newtons. I would beg for them in the supermarket because I knew there was NO WAY my mother would buy me Oreos.

“Mommm, they have figs!”

Yes, they have figs and perhaps the Fig Newtons of the ‘70’s were less nefarious than they are now. They still have figs but check out the rest of this list:

Oh dear. High fructose corn syrup is rearing its ugly head as is partially hydrogenated coconut oil. Neither of these ingredients sounds very appetizing to me and I’m pretty sure we are supposed to avoid these two compounds because they aren’t good for us.

There is another big reason why you should avoid Fig Newtons. The taste and texture of these cookies is not what I remember. Maybe it is old age (approaching 45 people!) but I liked these when I was seven – now? – not so much. I think the word I would like to use here is “yuck”.

When I stand in the supermarket’s cookie aisle, I see a wall of bright colors and shiny packages. I don’t smell fresh-baked cookies. These containers are corporate experiments in how to make a product last on a shelf for the smallest amount of money – and still get us to pick them up and put them in our cart.

My advice is not to buy them. Stand up to Nabisco and say, “Take your crappy tasting cookies and get out of Dodge!”

I did spend some time looking around for a better alternative. I am not going to mention the "healthier" brands that weren't that much of an improvement. Basically, if you have to package a cookie, you are going to add some weird stuff (and I don't care if it is organic weird stuff).

If I am going to have a treat, I want it to taste gooooood. My house should smell like heaven and my kids should be standing in front of the oven saying, “cookies done yet?”.

Isn’t baking your own cookies SO much better than opening a package of chemistry experiments?

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 38 )

I'd rather have a Key Lime Pie Larabar, Dates, Almonds, Cashews, Unsweetened Coconut, and Lime Juice Concentrate.

It is so sad that most people are not aware how bad processed foods can be. They are still in business , so people are buying them. Fig Newtowns were one of my favorites too.

wow! I totally agree about the taste...they are not the texture/taste I remember as a kid! I cannot stand how many crappy chemicals are in our food nowadays! I am a huge label reader and am trying to get my family to do the same. Thanks for sharing this!

I switched to these Filled with real fig and raspberry, this

Figgies & Jammies – Raspberry

By Pamela's

gluten-free version of the traditional fig cookie is so delicious, the whole family will enjoy!

Gluten-Free, Egg-Free, no artificial flavors or additives, no hydrogenated oils or trans fats, no corn syrup, low in sodium, no cholesterol

Certified gluten-free by GFCO, made in dedicated Gluten-Free facility, Kosher Certified (Dairy Facility)

Larger cookie size than traditional fig cookies


Cake [Flour Base (Brown Rice Flour, White Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch, Sweet Rice Flour, Xanthan Gum), Natural Evaporated Cane Sugar, Organic Palm Oil, Organic Invert Sugar, Grape Juice and Whole Rice Syrup, Sweet Whey Powder, Glycerin, Baking Soda, Sea Salt, Lemon Oil], Jam [Raspberry Paste (Cane Syrup, Brown Rice Syrup, Apple Powder, Rice Starch, Dried Cane Syrup, Glycerin, Water, Raspberry Juice Concentrate, Pectin, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid, Red Cabbage Extract for Color), Fig, Citric Acid].

Allergens: Milk. Produced on equipment that also makes products containing peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, coconut, eggs, soy and milk. For more information, see our Allergy Chart.

Click for Nutrition Facts

As a kid I used to eat these all the time. I was also the only one in the house that liked them so the bag was all mine. As I got older I put away childish things and my newtons were part of it. I tried to buy them again as an adult and found they taste horrible. You can get some puff pastry and figs and make them cheaper and healthier. Shame how things have gotten ruined in the pursuit to make them better.

I loved your post about making a dozen homemade chocolate chip cookies - yep, the real ones - and then freezing the rest of the dough for future small batches. Brilliant way to keep a treat a treat!

FYI.... did you know that xanthum gum is made from corn? I know it has nothing to do with fig cookies... My kidsnlikenthe fig bars from TJ''s

I love fig newtons and they have so many great flavors now! But I haven't eaten them in years as I know they aren't healthy...bummer...

I'd trade a truck load of fig newtons for one jar of my father-in-law's home canned figs. MMMMM figs spread on hot whole wheat pancakes-- the best! I like Michael Pollan's suggestion that we only eat "home made" treats. That as your article suggests if you are going to eat cookies, ice-cream, pie, cake it should be home made and every morsel delicious! Plus the extra work cuts down on the frequency and increases the enjoyment.

I LOVE fig newtons...sadly my daughter loves them too.


Fig Newman's are mildly better for you - and they taste like the old Fig Newtons.

Does anyone have a recipe for a Fig Newton- like treat? I also loved them as a kid, but haven't eaten them in years.

I think Lyn is right, Fig Newmans are a better choice. Nutritional info here -

Pamela's makes a tasty fig newton-like cookie called "figgies and jammies."

•Gluten-Free, Egg-Free, no artificial flavors or additives, no hydrogenated oils or trans fats, no corn syrup, low in sodium, no cholesterol

I buy a good fig jam and spread some on a graham cracker. Right now, I'm just luxuriating in fab fresh figs. FNs were also a childhood favorite, and I bet back then, probably 'healthy'.

I agree that they just don't taste the same. I bought them 2 weeks ago and there is soooooo much sugar in them that they don't taste like anything I remember. So sad they had to change something that was so good into something so sickening sweet. I am going to check into those pamela's figgies and jammies, hopefully they are closer to what used to be.

Please don't feed this stuff to kids. Processed food can impede the absorption of vital nutrients and high glucose foods can ultimately can destroy the beta cells produced by the pancreas regulating insulin. Once these are gone the pancreas does not produce insulin and thus diabetes may be the result.

"Chronic exposure to elevated levels of glucose and free fatty acids (FFAs) causes β-cell dysfunction and may induce β-cell apoptosis in type 2 diabetes."…

Apoptosis means cell death.

Studies are now being done to stimulate regeneration of beta cells which is currently not likely possible without new cells being implanted.

So sorry to hear that...I love Fig cookies.....I too wish someone would come up with a home made fig cookie.....are you ready to take on that challenge ? Then pass it on to us :) That would be great.....never heard of fig jam, don't recall seeing it in my stores.....

Fortunately for me, I never liked Fig Newtons.

However, I have noticed many things have changed in taste over the years. One in particular is the Hershey Bar. Don't know what is in the chocolate today but it tastes like wax to me.

I also used to love Fig Newton's, but haven't bought them in years. We sometimes buy Nature's Bakery Fig Bars, which don't seem to be too bad. Yes, the second and third ingredients are dried cane syrup and brown rice syrup, respectively, but otherwise the rest of the ingredients are relatively healthy, including stone ground whole wheat flour, fig paste and oat fibre.

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