I was shopping the other day minding my own business and I saw a product that I had to share with you right away. When I shop I like to look at ingredient lists, especially on old products I used to eat and buy. When I saw the ingredients for “Made with real fruit, 100% whole grain Fig Newtons” my jaw dropped open. These little suckers were a staple in my household growing up and made countless appearances in my lunch box as a child. I couldn’t believe how many toxic processed chemicals they contained!
What’s exactly in a Fig Newton?
- Whole Grain Wheat Flour – Don’t let the words “whole grain” fool you into believing it’s healthy. A serving of 2 bars only contains 3 grams of fiber, and much of that probably comes from the figs, not the whole grain.
- Sugar - You’ll eat 13 grams of sugar (more than 3 teaspoons) in just 2 small fig newtons. How many of us stop at just 2 cookies?
- High Fructose Corn Syrup – This chemically refined sugar has been shown to cause more weight gain than regular sugar. Even when eaten in moderation, it’s said to be a major cause of heart disease, cancer, dementia and liver failure. Some high fructose corn syrup is even contaminated with mercury.
- Soybean Oil – This cheap oil is high in omega 6 fatty acids, which cause inflammation in the body. Inflammation raises your blood pressure, and can promote the growth of cancer cells.
- Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil – Cottonseed oil is to be avoided at all costs. Conventional cotton is loaded with deadly pesticides that don’t belong in our food because the cotton crop is regulated by the EPA as a textile crop – not food! This means they have a totally different set of toxic chemicals they can use on it. This oil also contains harmful trans fat because it is “partially hydrogenated”, even if the package says it doesn’t contain trans fat. This is because the FDA allows a “No Trans Fat” label when there is less than 1/2 gram per serving. Since most of us don’t stop at just 2 cookies, we could easily eat several grams of trans fat in one small snack. Trans fats are not safe to eat at any level and the FDA is considering a ban.
- Sodium Benzoate – This preservative is only found in heavily processed foods. The Mayo Clinic found it may cause hyperactivity in kids and it’s dangerous when combined with vitamin C. So, never give your child the toxic combination of Fig Newtons served with a side of orange juice.
- Artificial Vanillin – This flavoring is the fake version of vanilla extract – not to be confused with extract from the vanilla bean. This artificial flavor is made from the petrochemical precursor guaiacol, extracted from wood creosote, a greasy wood byproduct.
- Genetically Modified Ingredients – These cookies are packed with ingredients that are known to be genetically modified (GMO). Their parent company, Mondelez International, contributed nearly $400K to block GMO labels in California and Washington state. The consumption of GMOs has been linked to health disorders, such as kidney and liver disorders and allergies. Even if you grew up eating Fig Newtons, GMOs were introduced to our food supply only 20 years ago and their use has skyrocketed in recent years. Mondelez admits they use GMOs in the United States, but not in other countries – how is that fair? These are the possible genetically modified ingredients:
- Corn Syrup
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Soybean Oil
- Soluble Corn Fiber
- Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil
- Resistant Corn Maltodextrin
- Soy Lecithin
What to eat instead of Fig Newtons?
Thankfully, there are several alternatives to Fig Newtons that are not only healthier but much tastier:
- Raw Crunch Bars – Try them for 10% off with coupon code “FOODBABE”
- Sun-dried Organic Figs – by Made in Nature (found at all major natural grocery stores & Costco) – I love stuffing one of these with a walnut for a quick, tasty and easy snack.
- Fig, Cranberry & Hazelnut Bars – by 18 Rabbits
- Homemade Fig Newtons – recipe from mywholefoodlife.com
- Sugar Free Raw Fig Newtons – recipe from vega-licious.com
I just want to note, unfortunately, I can’t recommend “Newman’s Own Fig Newman’s” because they contain non-organic corn syrup and natural flavors. They do have a much better ingredient list than traditional Fig Newton’s – but I don’t want to eat or buy them because of this reason. I am pretty sure any version of fig newtons don’t have to contain corn syrup to be delicious!
If you know someone still buying and eating Fig Newtons, please share this post with them! Knowledge is power and when we share the truth, these product toxic ingredients will either change or be discontinued! Let’s change the world!