A Cookie is a Cookie is a Cookie!

I subscribe to the Hungry Girl newsletter and today here is what came to my inbox:

“Organic food can be great, but beware — organic junk food is still junk food. In a recent study carried out by the folks at the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, all of the subjects were given organic cookies and chips. Some of these snacks were labeled “organic,” while others weren’t; ALL of the snacks were actually organic. Reportedly, those who chewed the snacks labeled “organic” estimated the cookies had 40 percent fewer calories, compared to estimates by those who consumed the snacks without the labels. 40 percent! Another interesting tidbit? Apparently, the people who most underestimated calories are those who said they usually buy organic goods and consider themselves nutrition-savvy label readers. Yikes. Just because it’s organic doesn’t mean it’s low in calories, people! A co-author of the study describes organic foods as having a “health halo,” meaning they seem more virtuous than they actually are; as a result, people frequently underestimate calories in organic food and reward themselves by eating more of it. This also happens, he says, with foods labeled “low fat” or “healthy.” BE CAREFUL and don’t fall into this trap. Read those nutrition panels. “

I TOTALLY believe this! I can’t tell you how many of my clients will tell me they ate too many cookies but they were vegan , gluten-free and organic! My response…SO?! A cookie is a cookie is a cookie! And while yes some are better than others for you (less processed and filled with better quality ingredients) 5 cookies is still too many. Eat those cookies, sure, but let’s limit it to an appropriate portion size. Just because something is labeled as “healthy” (usuallly a processed junk food) doesn’t automatically give you permission to go nuts!

Do you find yourself falling into this “healthy label” trap?

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46 Responses

  1. totally…the only way to really know is to either make your own stuff so you know what goes into it, or read the labels!

  2. Yeaaaah that’s something I usually have to remind myself of alot. haha. That just because it’s somewhat healthier that doens’t mean I can stuff my face full of it.

  3. I got this email too! I’ve heard a lot of people think they can eat crazy portions of organic food….like there’s a difference!!

  4. Awww just depressing : (
    Cookies are my weakness…..

  5. Oh this is soooo true. It’s easy to assume that vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc = healthy. But like you said, a cookie is still a cookie.

  6. Looking through the Organic section of the store I’m usually deterred from buying much there. The items are surprisingly high in calories!

  7. At one point, I too believed this, but like you said a cookie is still a cookie. At one point, I ate too much “healthy” food and felt sick after. Great post!

  8. I used to have that mindset but not anymore. For example, when I recently got the Newmans Own goodies a lot of them were cookies, soy crisps, etc. Even though they were organic I knew they weren’t fruit and veggies. I liked the fact that they had more natural ingredients but I knew eating a sleeve of Newman O’s wasn’t going to do anything for my womanly figure. πŸ˜€

    I think the stress needs to be put on label reading. Including ingredient reading! Trying to find the most natural ingredients in products, that still have balanced nutrition, and aren’t just empty calories. I didn’t read my HG email today so I’m glad you shared it here.

  9. so true! just like fat free cookies were all the range about 10 years ago…..you can still get fat from those too! great point πŸ™‚

  10. I’m so glad to say that I don’t fall into this trap, but I definitely know people who do! They truly believe that if the package says “low-fat” or anything related to health, then there is nothing wrong with eating that entire package! Oh my.

  11. Yess!!!! I used to be all about “fat-free” thinking it was better for me or “sugar-free”. Of course later on I learn that all of that “free” food is loaded with chemicals I cannot even pronounce, not so healthy after all 😦

  12. Yep– I go by calories and fat, not whether or not the cookie is vegan/organic/gluten-free/WHATEVER health buzz word they’ve throw in there to make you think that what you’re eating is not a cookie. IT’S A COOKIE!!! πŸ™‚

  13. I saw this email too and thought ‘duh’! I think a lot of people fall into this trap, just like eating ‘fat free’ or ‘low calorie’ foods. They add up!!

  14. OMG I’m soooo with you on this one! DUH people!! Same with “oh I had a salad at the restaurant” – but little did they realize that that salad, with all its croutons and bacon bits and thick gloppy dressing had about a million calories and fat grams in it. πŸ˜‰ But PS. I do love reading the Hungry Girl newsletter!

  15. oh yeah, I do it all the time which sucks because i know its pretty tricky.

    p.s. check out my recent post…someone is a winner

  16. i totally beleive it and i unfortunately do this myself. everything in moderation.

  17. A cookie is still definitely a cookie. Although I do still look at the ingredients because apples to apples (or cookies to cookies) rather, 1 organic one is probably better than one regular one that’s full of HCFS and other nasty stuff.

  18. Most definitely agree with this!! I’ve noticed that a lot of Andrew’s organic/gluten free treats are actually packed with way more sugar and calories than the real stuff!!

  19. Good point for those specifically looking to lose weight as well I guess – there’s a woman who works at my place (well soon to be ex-job…) – anyways – she is trying to lose weight after being a surrogate mother – about a year ago…- and I heard her say to a co-worker that she gets these oatmeal raisin cookies from the cafe – which is totally cool – but she gets about 5 everyday and then complains everyday..

    however, i can’t say anythiing cause i don’t think 5 cookies is alot…;) and i eat cookies regularly – at least by the two’s….buy i can see what you mean if your eating 5 cookies the size of pancakes all at once – you probably need some variety there…;)

  20. p.s i say this as i am munching on a white macadamia nut cookie that is NOT organic, not vegan, not low-cal…muhahahhahaha πŸ™‚

  21. I’ve seen vegan gluten free cookies with nearly twice the calories and at least as much fat in them as oreos. What makes them vegan? They replace butter with vegan margarine or oil, and replace the eggs with “egg replacer” or flax seed. Sure, these are better sources of fat and probably better for you in moderation, but it is as calorie dense, if not more so!

  22. That’s why I only eat the good stuff if I want a cookie πŸ™‚

  23. oh and by good stuff, I don’t mean gluten free or vegan. I mean homeamade, sugary, goodness!

  24. I think that the “healthy label” trap is very, very dangerous. A health claim is slapped on pretty much EVERYTHING these days! Michael Pollan talks about this a lot in “In Defense Of Food.” We focus too much on nutrients today rather than actual FOOD!

  25. They try and trick you with the labels I think. I have to be extra careful because Im totally the type of person that will justify the 5 cookies by telling myself theyre “healthy”.

  26. I don’t think that I’ve fallen into the trap. It would always bother me when I watched “Jon & Kate Plus 8” and she would freak out if the kids got lollipops and they weren’t ORGANIC!

  27. Definetly! It’s so easy to believe that organic/vegan/light versions mean you can eat more!

  28. I spend so much time at the grocery store because I read and re-read nutritional labels. The best thing to do is make your own snack with whole foods. My homemade cookies rock….LOL

  29. I am a teacher, and a lot of my kids will come in with “healthy” 100 calorie packs for snack. That is all well and good- but they eat 4 or 5 of them in one sitting! 100 calories is not the same as 500! As important as it is for adults to watch portions I think they need to make sure their kids are aware of portion sizes too!

    And as for the cookies, I don’t buy them because I don’t have much self control when it comes to sweets!

  30. I don’t think I necessarily fall into it, but it’s scary how someone who is less educated in food labels can think certain foods are “healthy”. My own parents fall into this trap all of the time. Everything is a marketing ploy and the consumer must read, read, read to ensure they’re eating the proper foods.

  31. I love that candy corn advertise themselves as being fat free. of course: pure sugar has no fat

  32. That’s a very interesting study… 40% is a lot! Anyways I fall in the “I eat to much cookie” trap, but I know a cookie is a cookie whether it’s vegan etc. or oreo πŸ˜‰

  33. I always find it semi-funny when I go to whole foods and I see cookies that are labels organic. People really really do think they are better for you because they say organic! It doesn’t mean they are healthy! I hope more people become aware of this fact!

  34. I used to fall into this trap when I was in college. I knew that they were still bad, but I could convince myself they weren’t as bad. πŸ™‚

  35. I think falling into this kind of junky ‘health food’ trap is an epidemic for our country. I found I did it when I first started eating gluten free. If it’s a processed carb, it’s a processed carb regardless of it’s organic, fat free or vegan nature. Real food (the kind that actually can rot if you don’t eat it fast enough) is the way to go for most of the time. However, I must confess, I have been on a fat and sugar binge for mother’s day (yes, all homemade!) Time to get back to normal!

  36. Oh YES! I totally believe that! Sadly! People fall into label traps wayyyy too much! We need to be smarter consumers! Great post, Kelly…so important to share!

  37. Yes! Just because a food is healthy doesn’t mean it’s a “free” food. My husband has a hard time with this. Organic or not, he thinks health foods are fair game for binging. I try to tell him that just because the chips are organic, we shouldn’t eat an entire bag. Oh, and olive oil–it’s healthy so he basically chugs it. Well, I do my best. πŸ™‚

  38. omg i touched on this in my post today that a hostess at a party shoved a brownie in skylar’s mouth but said well it’s GF. And i said yes but she’s 3 and that’s way too much for a 3 yr old! She totally thought b/c it was GF that it was somehow a miracle food devoid of calories and crap. Not what I choose to feed a toddler!

  39. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Steve Bell. Steve Bell said: Latest News A Cookie is a Cookie is a Cookie! Β« HEALTHY LIVING WITH KELLY: Some of these snacks were labeled β€œorga… http://bit.ly/bAdpTO […]

  40. I try not to fall into that trap – ie the WF’s bakery is amazing but sugar is sugar, even if its organic or raw! If only ‘vegan’ cookies were guilt free just because they are void of dairy, sigh!

  41. Ha ha. This doesn’t happen to me as much, but we used to share vegan treats with our neighbors (I say used to because they moved 😦 ) and they always said how they didn’t feel guilty eating them becuase they were vegan. Well… they still had a lot of sugar in them!

  42. I totally agree with this!! My fiance’s family farms and they all agree that the hype about organic is ridiculous. People do treat organic food like it’s gold and has 0 calories. Not true! You still have to watch what you eat, regardless of whether or not it’s organic.

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