Cookies, small butters, wafers… The French love them. Despite the “sugar bashing”, their consumption is around 8.4 kilos per adult per year, according to the union of biscuit and cake manufacturers in France. And children snack on almost nine kilos of it every year, mainly for breakfast and snacks. These pleasure products can of course be homemade, but they are most often purchased in supermarkets, where the offer is plethoric. But beware: the latter has many pitfalls that it is better to avoid, as explained by the famous nutritionist Jean-Michel Cohen, author in particular of “Better eating for dummies” and “Mediterranean salads”, published by First editions. .
Why do you advise to be vigilant in the cookie department?
JEAN-MICHEL COHEN. All the biscuits offered by the manufacturers are not equal, far from it. Their basic recipe includes flour, sugar, butter and eggs, but many ingredients are also added by manufacturers to expand their product range, diversify the palette of flavors and encourage us to increase our consumption. In addition, the quality of the ingredients is often dragged down. Many biscuits contain glucose-fructose syrup, or invert sugar, instead of sugar for example, or palm oil instead of butter, not to mention the addition of quantities of additives intended to change their color or improve their preservation. These changes are not without consequences for our health, which is why it is better to learn how to skillfully select these products and not consume them daily.
How to best choose them?
The majority of biscuits have a high energy density: between 350 and 500 kcal per 100 g. They contain roughly the same amounts of flour and sugar. What makes the difference are their fat content, the nature of the other ingredients and the size of the portions offered. A biscuit weighs between 8 and 20 g. The bigger it is, the more you will be tempted to consume more of it. Similarly, those packaged in a “pocket” format of 3 to 4 cakes suggest that each small sachet corresponds to the recommended portion. It is actually excessive. I recommend eating no more than 20-30g of biscuit per day, and not every day. A piece of bread accompanied by four squares of chocolate is a much better snack in terms of flavor, nutritional quality and budget. In terms of quality, prefer biscuits that contain less than 25% fat and no more than 30 g of sugar per 100 g. Bet on the shortest list of ingredients and with the fewest possible additives. Favor recipes that include real butter or rapeseed oil or non-hydrogenated sunflower oil.
What about fruit cookies?
As fruits are rich in water, their use is complicated in biscuit making. To obtain a dry and stable product, manufacturers therefore incorporate a small percentage of fruit, in the form of dried fruit, puree or sweetened fruit cubes. The latter often contain sugar syrups, even fats and additives. Do not expect to find fiber, vitamins and other interesting fruit nutrients. The best is to opt for a plain biscuit and a good fresh fruit on the side.