Can You Guess The Food Product In the Photo?

January 10, 2012   37 Comments

What? As much fiber as a bowl of oatmeal and as much Vitamin C as a cup of blueberries?

Whonu cookies review

Could it be oatmeal with blueberries? Nooooo.

What about oatmeal cookies with some dried blueberries? Noooo.

This is a marketing scheme that will get us buy something we THINK is super duper healthy. But, sadly, it is just regular processed food with sugar, flour, and oil.

I wish I could say this product is a healthy choice and will solve all of your nutrition problems, but I can't. I guess you can call anything "nutrition rich" if you are a product marketer - it is your job to mislead the people who want to eat healthier.

Here is the "mystery" box:


These ARE Oreo-like cookies with added vitamins and minerals. I found a really great review of WhoNu cookies on this site That's Just Me that explains the problem with these cookies.

I do have some additional thoughts of my own about WhoNu cookies. The first is that you can't just add a multivitamin to a cookie (or your life for that matter) and make it "nutrition rich". Alas, a pill isn't going to solve your lack of vegetables, fruits, and whole grain problems.

Of course, we want that multivitamin to make up for our fried chicken transgressions - but it isn't a good strategy for lifelong health.

Secondly, why do we need "nutrition rich" cookies? Can't we just have a delicious treat once in a while such as my Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies and just enjoy ourselves?

After our cookie, we can eat an apple or other healthy food to have a "nutrition rich" day.

Finally, and I will address this to WhoNu? - what are you thinking? Do you actually think we are stupid enough to fall for your vitamin enriched cookies?

We (the American public) are waking up to the fact that packaged cereals and other processed grains are BAD for us. And, no, I don't want to eat 150 calories of sugar to get my multivitamin.

I will have an Oreo when I want it and ensure the rest of my day has fruits and vegetables.

What do you think of WhoNu? cookies?

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 37 )

Well I don't know if they're vegan, and because I know oreos are vegan I would probably do your thing. Also the fact that junk cookies are purely junk- I'd probably eat less knowing they're terrible for me. If I had the "healthy" cookies, I probably wouldn't think twice before devouring a whole slot in the plastic tray.

Interesting, they seem to have improved their ingredients compared to the version reviewed in some older articles about the product. They used to have high fructose corn syrup, for example. Maybe if they keep at it, and there is more public outcry, they will become healthier. Of course, the healthier they become, the less they will taste like Oreos, if they even taste remotely like them now.

I noticed that all sentences were followed with an *. I wonder what the footnote said. (If it isn't common knowledge by now that cookies are supposed to be a "treat", we're in trouble!)

Wouldn't these be a healthier choice than regular oreos though. I realize they are not healthy but if you are going to buy a premade cookie, isn't this a little better than the alternatives?

Agree!!!! I would have a cookie anytime and be sure of the same thing! BALANCE!!! that is the main thing! :)

GOOD Blog!! <3

Thank you thank you thank you. This is the type of cookie that my co-workers are mad over. Disgusting. They eat the chocolate chips type pretty much daily. Horrid.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Cookies are not a healthy snack. Some are better than others for sure, but they are a treat. I agree with Snack girl. Eat well most of the time, treat yourself to real treats (no low-fat, sugar subsitutes, vitamin-injected foods) occasionally. The worst part of these, as I see with many processed products, is they can't just be tasty cookies, which you could eat as a treat. Instead, they have to try to trick consumers into eating them with misleading claims. Another rule I follow--if the package has to tout a food's nutrition benefits it's probably no good or at least misleading. An apple doesn't need a sticker to tell us it's healthy and tasty--it does that all on its own.

As Michael "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Pollan says in his NYT article entitled Unhappy Meals, "Once, food was all you could eat, but today there are lots of other edible foodlike substances in the supermarket. These novel products of food science often come in packages festooned with health claims, which brings me to a related rule of thumb: if you're concerned about your health, you should probably avoid food products that make health claims. Why? Because a health claim on a food product is a good indication that it's not really food, and food is what you want to eat."

My take? Nothing to see here... :)

@Sarah - the * is to let you know that you need to eat THREE cookies to get these health benefits. argh.

@Rhonda - that is a tough question. I would say they are a little better if you are able to use the nutrients that they provide. It is possible that most of these added nutrients just pass through you without being helpful. Tough one.

Great questions!

Love the post today... who nu? Its a little concerning that they are trying to make people feel good about eating "junk" cookies! Eat a cookie and enjoy but don't by any means think you are doing yourself or your child a favor!


Wow this kind of shocked me that it was a cookie, although I shouldn't be surprised. I feel like you shouldn't have to hide the fact that you are a cookie behind the nutrition claim. If people want a cookie, they'll just eat a cookie.

Great post...This seems to be happening more and more - junk food being marketed as health food. It is too bad because I imagine that some people might be inclined to believe that this is as healthy as blueberries, milk and oatmeal...It is clever advertising and it certainly makes it easier for someone to rationalize eating a large portion of cookies.

they talked about these in Weight Watcher's and I keep meaning to get them but haven't yet.

So glad you addressed this. I saw the commercial on the television the other night and could not believe it. Let's add some fiber and vitamins and call it healthy. I cannot believe they can get away with this. It is misleading to those who need education in nutrition.

I bought them b/c I was curious. They are actually delicious. I follow weight watchers and calculated the points. I was willing to sacifice 4 of my points for the day for a 3 cookie portion so I could occasionally indulge with my children. If you are going to serve cookies, why not serve them knowing they have a little something extra that certainly doesn't hurt you? (I.e.the added vitamins) I certainly wouldn't buy them if they were yucky and I am certainly smart enough to know to not eat the whole package nor serve an exorbiant amount to my husband or kids.

I had a lesson on processed foods and their slogans at my DD's school. I let the kids eat WhoNu cookies then read the ingredients. One child almost got sick when I read them out loud. They put them in the trash!

My kids hated them. Might as well enjoy "real" cookies!

Great story. I saw these in the stores this summer and bought a box to take on a boat trip for my brother-in-law who is big on chocolate. I tried one of the chocolate chip cookies. Ugh! We fed them to the fish! I was under no illusion it would be a really healthy item - I just thought it might not have that cloying aftertaste that other brands seem to have. And thank you Andy D for the quote from Michael Pollan. "Once upon a time food was the only thing you could eat....." HOW TRUE IT IS! Now, where are my kale chips? LOL!

Not a whole lot of fiber. I can get 9 grams of fiber in a VitaTop. Is that an artificially vitamin-enhanced, fibered up product as well? Yes but its first ingredients are water, whole wheat flour, organic sugar, egg whites, inulin (a pre-biotic), and soy fiber (read "okara" which is left from pressing tofu--I buy it at my local Japanese market and put it in my baked stuff all the time at home...). I find that the egg whites and fiber blunt the sugar hit from a Vita-Top--probably a mere 3 grams in a Who Nu doesn't do much. If you want a nutritious cookie, buy Tri-O-Plex cookies which are like having a protein bar in cookie form... no vitamins but they have 8 or 9 grams of protein per cookie--again, no sugar crash. I'm more interested in stable blood sugar (since my tendency is not to have stable blood sugar!) but still, I don't think I'll be going near a Who Nu anytime soon.

Any one who has gone to Joslin for a course in eating w/ Diabetes knows that for a product to have redeeming qualities, it must have at least 5 grams of fiber to eliminate carb points. Example, 5 grams of fiber to 15 carbs equals 10 actual carbs. I prefer, when possible, to eat cookies w/ whole wheat or bake WW cookies. Besides, spending about $4.00 on a pkg of cookies should deter most homemakers! Thanks for doing such a good job.

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