Kids like Oreos because they taste creamy and sweet. They are so well loved by everyone that they are the most popular cookie in the world, with sales that reach $519 million a year or about $1.42 million a day!
But why is this cookie the choice of so many? Is it because of it’s crunchy outsides or it’s tasty filling? Or maybe, it’s because the Oreo is the perfect partner to a cold glass of milk. This year, the Oreo cookie is celebrating its 101th birthday. Here are some interesting facts about this round, black and white snack:
1. National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) makes Oreos.
2. In 1912 the first Oreo cookie was made in a factory in New York City.
3. The Oreo was made to imitate the Hydrox cookie, which was made by another company.
4. The Oreo cookie is 29 percent cream and 71 percent cookie5. In China they sell Green Tea ice cream Oreos and in Argentina, they sell Oreos in a Dulce de Leche flavor.
6. It takes 59 minutes to make one Oreo cookie.
7. More women tend to pull apart their Oreos more than men.
8. According to EatOutWell.com, the way you eat your an Oreo describes your personality. People who dunk their Oreos are social and adventurous, twisters are sensitive, artistic, and trendy, and biters tend to be easy-going and self-confident.
9. When the Oreos first came out, they were sold by weight at 30 cents per pound.
But as much as they are delicious, Oreos, like many other sweet treats, unfortunately, may not the best snack choice, especially if eaten frequently. This cookie that tastes “Oh-So-Good” contains ingredients that are “Oh-So-Bad”.
So, really, what’s in an O-R-E-O?
As stated on the Nabisco Website Oreo cookies contain sugar, soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup and salt. Sugar is a white crystalline carbohydrate used as a sweetener and preservative. Soybean oil is a pale yellow drying or semi-drying oil that is obtained from soybeans and is used chiefly on foods. The third ingredient is high fructose corn syrup. High Fructose Corn Syrup is a sweet, thick liquid made from corn.
Lastly, we have salt. Salt is a white crystalline form of especially sodium chloride used to season and preserve food. One Oreo cookie contains 160 calories and 7 grams of fat.
During the 1990’s, there were health concerns about the Oreo cookie because the cream filling contained lard, which is a type of saturated fat (made from pig) that is a major contributor to heart disease. Eventually, in 2006, lard was then replaced with non-hydrogenated vegetable oil.
Although Kraft Foods (owner of Nabisco) have made efforts to remove the saturated fat from the Oreo cookie, like many sweet processed and packaged foods and drinks an Oreo Cookie also contains high fructose corn syrup, an ingredient that has earned a bad reputation as being one of the main culprits in the rise of obesity, heart disease and possibly Alzheimer’s Disease, a disease that cause memory loss.
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is an artificially made sugar. It is corn syrup to which enzymes have been added to change the glucose in the corn syrup to fructose, which makes the product sweeter than regular corn syrup. Additionally, HFCS is now being added to some meats because the sugars in the syrups act as a preservative. HFCS also mixes better with other liquids (such as soda) and is also much cheaper to use than regular sugar.
By 1997, 57 percent of sweeteners consumed in the United States contained HFCS (Source: Kosher). The problem with this is that studies have shown that when people consume artificial sweeteners, they increase their desire to continue eating (Source: Tordoff).
Even though in small amounts HFCS should not be more harmful than regular sugar, the biggest problem is that HFCS is now being added to a lot of foods we eat, even in the foods that we don’t even describe as sweet. Meal after meal, day after day, all this extra sugar adds up.
Obesity and diabetes rates have gone up since HFCS was introduced. Also, fructose is only metabolized by your liver. When the liver gets more fructose than it can handle it turns the sugar into a bad fat called triglycerides, which are bad for your arteries and your heart. Excessive sugar consumption has also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Research suggests that consuming a lot of sugar can trigger insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is when our muscle, fat, and liver cells stop responding properly to insulin (they stop taking in glucose).
New Scientist reports that insulin also regulates neurotransmitters which is important for memory and learning. When people develop insulin resistance, insulin spikes may impair your brain to think and form memories. This can lead to neural damage and eventually Alzheimer’s Disease.
After doing research, I realized that I should cut down on eating Oreos, and enjoy them once every two weeks. I should cut down eating Oreos and other processed foods if I want to decrease my chances of becoming overweight and becoming diabetic.
Even though I enjoy eating Oreo cookies, I would recommend that we only eat them in moderation. It would probably be healthier to eat natural foods such as fruits, vegetables and nuts. One alternative to eating Oreos is eating home-baked cookies. I think eating home-baked cookies is a better alternative than Oreos because they don’t have High Fructose Corn Syrup, Lard, or Soybean Oil.
by Andres C.