Splitting Open The Oreo Cookie: Ingredients, Nutrition & History

Origin of the Oreo Cookie

The Oreo cookie made its first debut in 1912. It was originally called the “Oreo Biscuit” and produced by the National Biscuit Company, today this company is known world-wide as Nabisco. Over the years Nabisco’s Oreo cookie has become the best- selling cookie in the United States.

No one really knows how the cookie got its name. Some say its name could have been derived from the French word “Or” meaning gold. Gold was the original packaging of Oreos. Others think the name came from the combination “re” from cream and sandwiched it between the two “O” s in the word “chocolate,” which would spell “o-re-o.” No matter how the cookie got its name one thing is for sure everyone loves them.

Oreo’s Marketing Strategies

In 2008 Nabisco came up with a marketing strategy which proved to be successful. The strategy involved using Oreo cookies in a game called “Double Stuf Racing League (DSRL). Some of you may recall this game was introduced the week before Super Bowl XLII.

Nabisco got athletes involved in endorsing the Oreo cookie. Football players Peyton, Manning and Eli Manning came on board to play the DSRL game. Nabisco also got the famous tennis duo Venus and Serena Williams involved in the endorsement. In 2010 Shaquille O’Neal and Apolo Ohno joined the DSRL.

Nabisco continues to be on top of its game with their marketing strategies. In 2012 Oreo displayed a rainbow colored cream filled cookie to commemorate Gay Pride month. Kraft Foods received some negative comments, but they stood by their product. Kraft Foods felt the Oreo cookie had a proud history of celebrating both diversity and inclusiveness; they felt the ad was both fun and a reflection of their values.

Oreo’s Evolution

Originally the Oreo cookie featured a wreath around the edge of the cookie and in the center of the cookie was the imprinted logo, “OREO.”

  • In the 1920’s Nabisco introduced a Lemon meringue cookie, but later Lemon meringue was discontinued.
  • 1921 The Oreo Biscuit was renamed the “Oreo Sandwich.”
  • 1948 The Oreo Sandwich was renamed the “Oreo Crème Sandwich.”
  • 1952 The Nabisco logo was added to the wafer.
  • 1974 The Oreo Crème Sandwich was renamed the “Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookie.”
  • 1975 The Double Stuf Oreo cookie made its debut.
  • 1990’s Nabisco replaced its lard filling with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.
  • 1998 Oreo became Kosher.
  • 2006 health concerns arose and trans fat was replaced with non-hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Over the years the Oreo cookie has certainly evolved. Oreos now come in a variety of flavors and shapes, but the traditional cookie with the creamy center filling sandwiched between two chocolate wafers remains an international sensation.

Are Oreos Addictive?

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Nutrition Facts – Serving Size 3 Cookies

  • Calories 160
  • Total Fat 7g 11%
  • Saturated Fat 2g 10%
  • Trans Fat 0g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 3g
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 140mg 6%
  • Potassium 55mg 2%
  • Total Carbohydrate 25g 8%
  • Dietary Fiber Less than 1g 3%
  • Sugars 14g
  • Protein 1g

Ingredients: What is in the Oreo?

*Ingredients are always listed on a package in descending order of predominance by their weight. This means the ingredient that weighs the most is listed first, and the ingredient that weighs the least is listed last. Listing the ingredients in such a way enables you to know what the primary ingredients are that make up the food; it also gives you a better idea of the overall health of the food.

Ingredient #1 – Sugar

Sugar is used in baked goods as a preservative, it helps to stabilize and form the structure in processed foods. Consuming too much sugar significantly increases health related problems such as diabetes, obesity and weight gain. There have been some claims made that sugar can become addictive and produce cravings.

Ingredient #2 – Unbleached Enriched Flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate {vitamin B1}, Riboflavin {vitamin B2}, Folic acid)

Unbleached enriched flour has been stripped down through refinement to starch. During the refinement process wheat germ is removed. Valuable vitamins and minerals are lost as well and then replaced with additives and preservatives to enhance a products shelf life.

Unbleached enriched flour is considered a refined carbohydrate. Unlike whole wheat flour, enriched flour is not able to be absorbed by the body. By FDA standards enriched flour cannot have more than five percent wheat germ.

Ingredient #3 – High Oleic Canola and/or Palm and/or Canola Oil

High Oleic Canola and Palm oil are high in monounsaturated fats, low in saturated fats and have no trans fat. These oils are used in baked goods and provide a longer shelf life; they are used for cereal coatings, crackers, dried fruits and used in frying.

Canola oil is used for baking and frying, is low in saturated fats and contains omega-threes. Canola oil can be found in processed foods, and is commonly used in cosmetics, candles and newspaper ink. Studies have shown it may be beneficial in preventing colon cancer. There have been some questions about the seeds themselves becoming genetically modified to be herbicide resistant. These three oils are better options than trans and saturated fats.

Ingredient #4 – Cocoa (processed with alkali)

This process darkens the cocoa and changes its flavor by reducing the bitterness. Cocoa processed with alkali can be found in baked goods and chocolate drinks. Once the cocoa is treated the level of flavonoids in the cocoa are substantially reduced.

Ingredient #5 – High Fructose Corn Syrup

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is used in products that need to be extra sweet. HFCS is created by converting dextrose sugar from corn syrup into fructose sugar. This process enables HFCS to taste sweeter than corn syrup. It is widely used in processed foods because it is cheaper than sugar.

HFCS is harder on the body to digest than sugar and can take up to four days before it is completely digested. A number of studies have linked consumption of HFCS to significant health concerns including risk of weight gain and obesity.

A study conducted at Princeton University showed that rats that were given HFCS gained 300% quicker than rats fed an equal or larger serving of sugar derived from fruit. Consumption of HFCS is also linked to developing diabetes, hypertension and elevated cholesterol levels and fatty liver disease.

Ingredient #6 – Leavening (baking soda and/or calcium phosphate)

Leavening agents use chemical mixtures or compounds that release gas into batters and dough for processed foods. The gas that is most commonly used for processed foods including cookies and cakes is carbon dioxide. These agents cause a foaming action to occur; when the chemicals react with heat and moisture they usually leave behind a chemical salt.

Ingredient #7 – Cornstarch

Cornstarch is starch that comes from corn. The kernels are processed and the outside shell is removed, what remains is called edosperms. The edosperms are then ground up into a fine white gritty consistency. It is a highly refined process and once complete the cornstarch has been stripped bare of its valuable nutrients.

Cornstarch is used in processed foods because of its ability to thicken foods. Cornstarch lends itself to baked goods and fried foods and it is considered gluten free. It is also used in the manufacturing of bio-plastics due to its anti-stick properties.

Ingredient #8 – Salt

Salt is added to processed foods to give the product a longer shelf life and enhance the products taste. Baked goods and other processed foods, contain a higher sodium content than foods that are naturally grown.

Ingredient #9 – Soy Lecithin

Soy Lecithin has a creamy texture and is used for emulsifying fats. It helps act as a binding agent for fried foods and is added to a variety of baked goods and processed foods. Individuals who have a soy or lecithin allergy should avoid it.

Ingredient #10 – Vanillin-artificial flavor

Vanillin is a synthetic vanilla that replaces natural vanilla extract. It is frequently used as a flavoring agent in processed foods because of its richer flavor and is its cost effectiveness.

Ingredient #11 – Chocolate

Chocolate is any product made primarily of cocoa solids and cocoa butter. In baked goods and other processed foods cost can be decreased by reducing the amount of cocoa solid and by substituting cocoa with cocoa butter and another fat. In processed foods the chocolate has typically been sweetened with a flavoring agent.

*Note that chocolate falls last on the list of ingredients.

*Contains WHEAT & SOY INGREDIENTS

Oreo’s packaging reads ‘Milks Favorite Cookie.’

Everyone has their own way to eat an Oreo cookie. So just what is the best way to eat an Oreo cookie? Do you pull them apart and eat the cream first or do you dunk them in milk? One thing is for sure, the Oreo cookie from Nabisco is here to stay.

How do you eat your Oreos? Drop us a line and let us know in the comment in the section below.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Great article! I’m not addicted to Oreos luckily, but I do really like them when I have some.

    I usually get double stacks and make a quad stack, eat the two extra cookies in milk and then soak the quad stack in milk and eat!

  2. Does anyone really think of Oreos as truly “chocolatey?” LOL. Thanks for the help. (No milk???? But soy. :()

  3. National Biscuit Company was formed in 1898 by merger of American Biscuit & amp; Manufacturing Company and New York Biscuit Company. It was also know for some time as NBC as well,not to be confused with National Broadcast Company.

    Thanks for an insightful article on Oreos..

    • Hi Lesley,

      Oreo’s are very processed if she is dairy and egg intolerant I wouldn’t run the risk. If it’s produced in a facility where there’s dairy it could also pose a problem for her. Also manufacturer made chocolate can have a long laundry list of ingredients which include milk.

      I personally would stick to products that specifically say they are lactose free. At Whole Foods and other local health food stores they have a variety of sweet treats that are dairy and egg free. One of my favorite chocolates is Enjoy Life. You can find it online at Vitacost. Also check out some of the recipes on my site. I will be adding more gluten and lactose free recipes; I feel there’s such a need for it!

      Hope that helps you!

  4. Oreos do have MSG in them. Every time I eat them I get a migraine.
    This toxic flavor enhancer, along with the fat and sugar, are what make them so appealing to many – and addictive.

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