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What Are the Health Benefits of Oatmeal Cookies?

By Jae Allen

Cookies in general are not considered to be particularly healthy food, due to their typically high sugar and calorie content. However, cookies made with oatmeal -- particularly those containing dried fruits such as raisins, dates or cranberries -- can provide a sweet fix without contributing too much fat or sugar to your diet. Additionally, oatmeal cookies are one of the relatively few sweet snacks to have a significant protein and iron content.

Nutritional Information

The nutritional profile of oatmeal cookies varies according to the ingredients, recipe and portion size. As a benchmark, however, the USDA standard nutrient database provides nutritional information for common commercially prepared oatmeal cookies. One large oatmeal cookie, with a net weight of 25 g and a typical diameter of 3.5 to 4 inches, typically contains 112 calories, 1.5 g of protein, 4.5 g of fat, 17.2 g of protein, 6.2 g of sugars and 0.7 g of dietary fiber.

Variables

Smaller cookies will generally contain fewer overall calories, while containing roughly the same number of calories per ounce. Additionally, several varieties of oatmeal cookie are available. Archway's sugar-free oatmeal cookies contain only 106 calories and 0.3 g of sugar in a 24-g serving. Commercially prepared fat-free oatmeal cookies contain 4.3 g of fat in a 28-g cookie serving. Oatmeal cookies with added fruit -- raisins, apple pieces or dates, for example -- typically have lower calorie and fat content per cookie.

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Benefits

Oatmeal contains protein, and therefore oatmeal cookies provide a small amount of protein that is typically not present in cookies, such as sugar cookies, that contain no oats. When cookies are made with a significant amount of fruit, vitamin and dietary fiber content will typically increase. Even without fruit, oatmeal cookies contain significant amounts of the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium, all of which are essential for overall physical health. Fat-free and sugar-free types of oatmeal cookies have a lower calorie count per serving than comparable sweet snacks, and therefore may help satisfy a craving for sweet food without adding lots of calories to your daily intake.

Disadvantages

In most types of commercial oatmeal cookies, the sugar and carbohydrate content is relatively high. Foods that contribute a significant amount of sugar and carbohydrates to your diet without providing significant quantities of protein and other nutrients may result in a calorie excess. If the number of calories you consume daily is greater than the number you burn, the extra calories will be stored as body fat. Additionally, the carbohydrates contained in oatmeal cookies are typically quite refined or simple. For sustained energy, complex carbohydrates are considered of greater nutritional benefit than simple carbohydrates such as refined sugar.

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