There are over 700 types of figs, and they've been popular since the 19th century. Love of this healthy, sweet fruit has led to the production of many different chutneys, jams and other dessert products. One fig product that is particularly popular is the fig Newton. While fig Newtons are not as healthy as raw figs, they are not a bad snack choice, either.
Fig Newton cookies are a healthier way to satisfy your sweet tooth than other types of cookies. But they contain a significant amount of sugar, so try not to eat too many.
Fig Newtons were once so popular that they were given their own day: National Fig Newton Day is January 16th. These days, though, fig Newton cookies are just one of many Newtons, including strawberry, blueberry and mixed berry. Despite its competition from other Newtons, fig Newtons are still a very popular cookie choice. They are also fairly healthy.
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Figs are well known for having fiber, which helps with digestion, as well as protein and several vitamins and minerals. This means there are quite a few health benefits of fig bars like fig Newtons. According to the United States Department of Agriculture Branded Food Products Database and the makers of fig Newtons, Nabisco, a two-cookie serving of fig Newtons (29 grams) contains 20 milligrams of calcium, 0.72 milligrams of iron and 95 grams of potassium. Each serving also contains a gram of fiber and gram of protein. The main negative of fig Newtons is the sugar content.
Each serving of fig Newtons contains 12 g of sugar, which is quite a lot for just two cookies. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 100 calories (6 teaspoons or 24 milligrams) of added sugar for women and 150 calories (9 teaspoons or 32 mg) for men. This means two fig Newtons will have half of your daily recommended allowance of sugar if you're a woman, and over a third of it if you're a man. If you're not eating much other sugar each day, this might be alright. Otherwise, you may prefer a healthier cookie.
Read More: Glycemic Index of Figs
Fig Newton Alternatives
Fig Newtons are produced by Nabisco, which is also well known for its other cookies, including Chips Ahoy!, Nutter Butter, Oreos and Teddy Grahams. Compared to some of these other cookies, fig Newtons remain the winner for your health, but some others may be healthier. In short:
- Compared to Chips Ahoy!, fig Newtons have more sugar — but this is only by a gram per serving. There are 11 grams of sugar in each serving of Chips Ahoy! cookies.
- Compared to Oreos, fig Newtons have less sugar. There are 14 grams of sugar in each serving of Oreos, and no fiber.
- Compared to Nutter Butter, Nutter Butter is the clear winner. There are only 8 grams of sugar in Nutter Butter cookies compared to fig Newtons' 12 grams. Nutter Butter cookies also have twice as much protein per serving and the same amount of fiber.
- Compared to Teddy Grahams, fig Newtons once again have more sugar. There are only 8 grams of sugar in a serving of Teddy Grahams, the same as Nutter Butter cookies. These cookies also have twice the amount of protein and twice the amount of fiber as fig Newtons.
As you can see, there are healthier alternatives with less sugar and more nutrients. If you really love fig Newtons or simply want to celebrate Fig Newton Day with this tasty treat, try making your own fig bars. There will be many more health benefits to fig bars if you make them with fresh, ripe fruit and less added sugars.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Cookies
- Snackwork: Products
- Huffington Post: Fig Newtons No Longer Exist. They're Just Newtons Now.
- The New Yorker: Love the Fig
- National Today: National Fig Newton Day 2018 — January 16
- Mayo Clinic: Nutrition and healthy eating
- Cleveland Clinic; Eating Too Much Sugar? It's Time to Tame Your Sweet...; M. Ohlson; December 2009
- MayoClinic.com; Dietary Fiber: Essential For a Healthy Diet; November 2009