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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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.

on January 10, 2012

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.

on January 10, 2012

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!)

on January 10, 2012

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?

on January 10, 2012

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

GOOD Blog!! <3

on January 10, 2012

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.

on January 10, 2012

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.

on January 10, 2012

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... :)

on January 10, 2012

@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!

on January 10, 2012

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!


on January 10, 2012

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.

on January 10, 2012

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.

on January 10, 2012

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

on January 10, 2012

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.

on January 10, 2012

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.

on January 10, 2012

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!

on January 10, 2012

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

on January 10, 2012

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!

on January 10, 2012

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.

on January 10, 2012

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.

on January 11, 2012

You all are missing the point for the most part. It's hard to get your kids to eat anything with fiber and such in it. I slip my kids fiber any time I can and they love it when I do. Smart & Delicious tortilla wraps are great. You can also blend beans and mix it into just about anything, taco meat, sloppy joe's, even cookies, just as an example. If you want oatmeal, eat oatmeal. But if you're going to eat an Oreo anyway, then it might as well have some good qualities. Every gram counts. Grant it, they are not Oreo's but they do taste good.

on March 6, 2012

These cookies are no better, no different than any other. PERIOD.

If you want to eat cookies, go ahead. Just eat a FEW, 3-5. Not a box.

I've never had to diet, and, I've never been even close to overweight. Do I eat 'healthy?' partially. But, I eat SENSIBLY. I don't eat giant, heapfuls.

A little something to know about the stomach: it actually increases in size, and decreases, as well - depending on YOU.

If you start eating less, your stomach shrinks. You'll get 'full,' faster. Likewise, if you start eating more and larger amounts, your stomach SILL EXPAND - making it harder to feel full(personally, I HATE that feling).

I know this is about these 'cookies,' but, it all is about the same thing: being SMART.

on April 21, 2012

I don't know about the nutritional value, but I will say this. I work out in the am, before work. As a result, I am unbelievably hungry all morning. I could eat lunch at 10:00 its so bad. I tried everything, protein shakes, protein bars, oatmeal, you name it nothing worked. Three of these cookies, do they hold me over from around 8-12 and they taste good. If you are looking for something to help you quell your appetite I would try these for sure.

on May 1, 2012

cookies are great but resealable package is a pain in the but. Need to improve. thank you.

on October 6, 2012

It sounds like some of you think the whonu cookie has been misrepresented. Whonu marketed their cookies as containing fiber. Not low fat, not low sugar and not even listed as healthy. Given the choice I would (and do) opt for the Whonu before an Oreo because if I am going to eat a junky cookie, it might as well have SOMETHING in it that could benefit my body. Granola bars are high in fat and typically have zero nutrition, yet they are marketed as health food.

on October 20, 2012

ive never had alergies to food but ehrn i eat this cookie my face burns and i get sick at my stomach nand i pass out...i think im alergic to something in this food or i ate to many..the last time i ate some i only had 5 left but didnt put everything together till i hit the floor.

on December 26, 2012

I don't expect a lot from a cookie but bought these out of curiosity. Trouble is, they taste horrible! The chocolate chip are sort of like a combintation of sawdust and library paste. Needless to say, I won't be buying them again.

on January 4, 2013

I love whonus, Snack GIRL. DON'T hate what's great.

on January 9, 2013

Ok, I read the info on the box about how nutritious the cookies are. I tried the chocolate chip version. The taste was okay, but not Chips Ahoy great. About an hour later, my stomach started cramping and I could barely get to the bathroom. They caused severe pain and diarrhea. I stayed this way for two hours.

I believe the ingredient that did this was dextrose in the chocolate chips. It also has mono/diglycerides and polydextrose. I won't be finishing the box.

on January 27, 2013

I've only tried the chocolate sandwich cookies, dunked in milk, of course, and I thought they were wonderful. I try to never eat anything that contains HFCS or hydrogenated oils, and I am absolutely delighted to find these cookies. I will certainly try the other varieties. I realize I can't eat the whole box, but compared to the damage HFCS abd trans fats do to our health, I am thankful I can enjoy cookies again. (And I'm sure everybody knows to always check the ingredients. Thanks to pressure put on our government, "no trans fats" means nothing. It's the hydrogenated oils that harm us.)

on February 21, 2013

The biggest lie about their claims are the fiber content. They have no fiber at all. Wheat flour is not whole wheat flour, therefore has no fiber. There's a few cookies on the market that are made with whole wheat flour, such as Kashi and Belvita. Whole wheat flour is listed on the ingredients. This false claim of fiber shoulds be prosecuted by the FDA.

on June 27, 2013

I recently bought the soft chocolate chip cookies. I rarely eat sweets, much less prepackaged sweets because I know they contain HFCS and other naughties. I think people need to keep things in perspective. This is not a health food. It is a treat with slightly better ingredients than other treats. The choice should never come down to a Who Nu and an apple, the apple is the healthy choice. But, if you really want a cookie, I think it is fair to say the Who Nu is the better option when compared to other prepackaged cookies.

on August 14, 2013

Yeah the comment about "healthy Organic" products versus these cookies applies.

In the end you need to count calories and nutrients to make sure you get enough but not too much. Ultimately everyone sells you what you ask for and no one but you can guarantee you do not pick too many sweet treats but you.

Organic is just another marketing fad even if most of the companies mean well. Marketing is marketing. Organic Dried cane extract is still sugar. All "evil commercial" processed foods start with plants and all fertilizer is based on organic matter or chemical created from "natural" minerals. All baking IS chemical processing as is our own human digestion.

on July 6, 2014

I want to know just who thinks these taste good. I don't smoke, nor drink so my taste buds are at full efficiency and these things taste like a mix of cardboard and dog food. Not tasty, not delicious and you'll have to shave your tongue after just one bite.

on September 28, 2014

The soft chocolate chip ones are so so, don't get the chrispy ones, they are worse. The oreo type are better, tastes more like the real oreos.

on September 28, 2014

I love these WhoNu cookies. They are cookies and if watching diet should be consumed as part of caloric count. For myself, I eat 2 a day and my digestive system is on regular schedule. Without them I become very constipated. Hard to find anymore. Why?

on July 15, 2015

I LOVE these cookies and sure do MISS them! why would they leave all the UN-nutritious ones out there and take these delicious ones out of my mouth? if only I could find them again, I would buy as many as possible!

on September 2, 2015

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