Are Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies Healthy?
Empty calories coming from refined sugar is considered as one of the major disadvantages of eating cookies and brown sugar oatmeal cookies sure have an advantage over regular ones in this area. Brown sugar, unlike the regular variety is less refined and contains up to 5% to 10% molasses per Kg weight. However, can substituting just one ingredient turn these baked goodies into healthy treats! Here is a detailed nutritional analysis of oatmeal and brown sugar cookies to help you decide for yourself…
Nutritional composition of brown sugar oatmeal cookies
Recipe for oatmeal cookies with brown sugar can be highly varied, ranging from 100% brown sugar being used to just a part of the refined sugar being replaced by the unrefined variety. The quality of brown sugar can vary too. All these factors can affect the nutritional composition of the cookies. Here is the nutrient breakup of Betty Crocker’s chewy oatmeal cookies, which use brown sugar, old-fashioned oats, and whole-wheat flour as the primary ingredients:
Total calories – 110 kcal
Total fat – 4.5 gm
Saturated fat – 2.5 gm
Cholesterol – 20 mg
Total carbohydrates – 15 gm
Sugar – 8 gm
Dietary fiber – 2 gm
Protein – 1 gm
Sodium – 45 mg
These cookies can provide up to 2% Vitamin A and 4% iron, when values are calculated for a standard 2000 kcal diet.
Health benefits of brown sugar oatmeal cookies:
Oatmeal is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. These nutrients help prevent a medley of diseases including CVD, diabetes, and cancer.
Unlike refined or baking sugar, brown sugar is a good source of iron, calcium, vitamin A potassium, and magnesium. Each of these nutrients play an important role in the upkeep of the bodily processes.
The combination of brown sugar and oats enhances the fiber content of the cookies.
The cookies are also a good source of rare natural sugars and antioxidants that seem to help maintain brain health and prevent degenerative nervous diseases.
Brown sugar seems to have a marginally lower glycemic index than the white variety and is supposedly not involved in causing a sugar rush or aggravating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms.
Disadvantages of eating brown sugar oatmeal cookies:
Even though, these cookies nullify the disadvantages of one of the “unhealthy” ingredients used in cookie baking, the others are usually left unaffected or worse more additives are usually added.
Brown sugar, as mentioned earlier is cane sugar, to which either 5% to 10% molasses is added at the end of process flow or is less refined to allow a percent of molasses in the sugar. Since, the amount of molasses is small; the nutrient benefits offered are usually quite negligible.
Calorie wise brown and refined sugar are similar, with the former providing slightly higher calories; thus, these cookies do not offer any weight loss advantage.
Thus, to conclude, the benefits provided by using brown sugar instead of regular sugar in oatmeal cookies are majorly due to the presence of molasses. However, due to the miniscule percentage of this ingredient, there are no real health benefits, the only advantage being in terms of taste and texture of the cookies. Hence, brown sugar oatmeal cookies definitely do not qualify as health foods and one must only consume them as occasional comfort foods.