Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What's In An Oreo?

March 6, 2012 - Oreo's 100th birthday.  Oh yea - there is no denying it. Oreos are addictive. Who can eat just one?? Why are they so good?  I'm not going to delve into how an Oreo may affect our bodies here - simply provide us with information - what is in an Oreo?  Perhaps after we venture into this mystery we can better determine if we (or our children) should be eating Oreos.

Per Nabisco's site [http://www.nabiscoworld.com/Brands/ProductInformation.aspx?BrandKey=oreo&Site=1&Product=4400000820
Oreo's Ingredients: SUGAR, ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE {VITAMIN B1}, RIBOFLAVIN {VITAMIN B2}, FOLIC ACID), HIGH OLEIC CANOLA OIL AND/OR PALM OIL AND/OR CANOLA OIL, AND/OR SOYBEAN OIL, COCOA (PROCESSED WITH ALKALI), HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CORNSTARCH, LEAVENING (BAKING SODA AND/OR CALCIUM PHOSPHATE), SALT, SOY LECITHIN (EMULSIFIER), VANILLIN - AN ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, CHOCOLATE. CONTAINS: WHEAT, SOY.

What does this list actually mean? Well first, it's good to know that Nabisco products are comprised of GMO ingredients because Nabisco is supplied by/run by Monsanto, which demands that the farms from which they get their ingredients use the GMO seeds that Monsanto designed and sells.  It's a fair assumption that the wheat, soy and corn are GMO. However, we don't really know what other ingredients are from GMO seeds/products.

Ever wonder what Vanillin is?  I may devote an entire blog to it. It can come in a variety of elements - natural or artificial.  However, in most of the food found in the average grocery store if Vanillin is on the list it is the artificial kind (as you can see denoted on the Oreo list of ingredients above).  These types are called Methyl Vanillin, Ethyl Vanillin, Vanillin Acetate and are found in more foods than you can imagine. Its chemical composition is usually 4-Hydroxy-3-Methoxybenzaldehyd. [Info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanillin]  Of note within the link provided: 
"Counter-intuitively, even though it uses waste materials, the lignin [wood pulp] process is no longer popular because of environmental concerns, and today most vanillin is produced from the petrochemical raw material guaiacol.[9] Several routes exist for synthesizing vanillin from guaiacol."[27]

Yet another interesting ingredient is "High Fructose Corn Syrup."  Many who know me don't mention these 4 words in front of me.  They don't want me to start lecturing on my soap box. If the corn industry/Monsanto spent millions of dollars on a television campaign to make us think HFCS is ok for us and even more on lobbyists to convince the US Government to let them change the name of this product to "Corn Sugar" or simply "Corn Syrup" it's got to make you wonder - what are they covering up?  They certainly have a flashy convincing website . It is, after all, made from corn, right? How can that be bad?  Digging a little deeper, rather than just believing what we're told, provides some valuable information. " High-fructose corn syrup is produced by milling corn to produce corn starch, then processing that starch to yield corn syrup, which is almost entirely glucose, and then adding enzymes that change some of the glucose into fructose." (Wikipedia)  It is much sweeter than cane (table) sugar.  US food suppliers used to be required to list HFCS in their ingredient list if it was used to make the food;  however, "consumers in the United States no longer have access to accurate ingredient labels that establish the presence of High Fructose Corn Syrup in food products. Manufacturers are permitted to label High Fructose Corn Syrup, as "Corn Syrup" in the ingredient listing of the product packaging." [16]

So, if after knowing what's in an Oreo, you decide you still want to eat one how do you decide how many to eat? Nabisco won't tell you how many cookies equal a serving size - a serving size = 34g [see details below]. To know what that actually equates to you would need a food scale to weigh your cookies before you eat them, but to get an idea each package contains about 15 servings. Really?! On what planet? Just how long does a container of Oreos last in your house?  I can safely answer this question - not applicable. We haven't purchased a package of Oreos in at least 3 years, especially when there are so many much better alternatives. 

Check out Late July's incredibly yummy organic Dark Chocolate cookies or Vanilla Bean cookies.  These blow Oreos out of the water!

OREOS NUTRITION FACTS:
 

11 comments:

  1. This was great info! It made me laugh to think of how many Americans eat oreos, and they aren't even sure what they are putting into their mouths.

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  2. Thank you,JennDes! I'd like to share this information with my friends.

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    1. You're most welcome! Thanks for reading & sharing :)

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  3. Thanks for this.. I have a friend NOT wanting to give up her Oreo's I was able to link her to this.. and Wish her Well!

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  4. Just ate an Oreo and wondered what it even was. . .

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    1. Hope this helped :) Thanks for reading.

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  5. Very helpful, thank you, but to answer your question, each serving is only about 3 to 4 cookies. Who can stop at 4?

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    1. Thanks for figuring that out for us!! Tell me about it!

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  6. Replies
    1. The US FDA definition: Genetic engineering is the name for certain methods that scientists use to introduce new traits or characteristics to an organism. For example, plants may be genetically engineered to produce characteristics to enhance the growth or nutritional profile of food crops. [http://www.fda.gov/food/foodscienceresearch/biotechnology/ucm346030.htm] This, however, does not provide an entirely accurate picture because the largest GM plant crops (corn, soy, canola, sugar beets, alfalfa and papaya) are engineered not to improve quality but to improve resistance to pesticides (i.e., Round Up). Similar to vaccines for humans, scientists inject a small bit of the pesticide into the seed to make it immune to the pesticide so they can spray crops to kill weeds/bugs but not the crop plant. Many GMO crops have been banned in European countries but not in the US (i.e., Corn, canola, etc.) It is wise for consumers to do their own research on this topic since at least 80% of the food sold in the average grocery store contains GMOs.

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