Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Blueberries or Blueberry Biscuits/Thins?

I've recently been on a blueberry kick recently...yum!
From Flickr - Some rights reserved by giniger
However, I often want something crunchy (and if I ever have a crunch when I'm eating blueberries, I probably don't want to know what it is), so I decided to compare two kinds of new whole grain blueberry thins/biscuits/wafers...

First, Newtons Blueberry Brown Sugar Fruit Thins...


Just for fun (and health), I threw into the mix some healthful flavored wafers.  Sadly, they aren't available in blueberry, but they are available in a "cinnamon-y cardboard" flavor:

First, I had a bowl of blueberries--to remind myself of what real food tastes like.  Then, I broke each wafer-like thing into moderately small, equal-sized pieces, and observed texture, taste, and after-taste.

The belVita Biscuits won by a significant margin.  They have a slightly different and interesting texture--almost like there are blueberry soft spots in the belVita.  I know, it sounds kind of weird, but it really is a treat.  The blueberry flavor really comes through and lasts unlike in the Newtons Thins where the blueberry flavor isn't as pronounced and doesn't last as long.  While not blueberry, I actually liked the Cinnamon Wafers flavor better than the Newtons' flavor--more flavorful.  The problem with the Cinnamon Wafers is that the lingering taste and texture is where the idea of cardboard sets in.  Because of that, I probably wouldn't rush back for seconds and thirds with the Cinnamon Wafers.

From a nutritional perspective and "normalizing" each to 225 calories as a serving, the belVita Biscuits and Newton Thins each provide about 3g of fiber--that's only 10% of what you need in a day (assuming a 2000 calorie/day diet).  In contrast, the Cinnamon Wafers provide 11g--or about 40% of your needed fiber.  I guess I won't get much fiber from my crunching.  The Newtons are slightly lower in sugar and but also slightly lower in protein, but there's a bigger different in the TYPE of fat.  The Newtons have saturated fat whereas the belVitas don't, and over half of the fat of the belVitas is monounsaturated (i.e. good fat) vs. almost no monounsaturated fat in the Newtons.  That makes for a second advantage for the belVita Biscuits.  Interestingly, the Cinnamon Wafers have a higher percent of their calories from fat than either of the others.

Another advantage of the belVitas is that they are packaged in a group of 4 biscuits (230 calories) vs. the Newton Thins that come in a package like cookies are typically packaged.  That means unless you are disciplined, you'll probably eat more Newton Thins because, well, because "I'll have just one more."  And that is, by far, the worst part of either of these--it's not that they are particularly bad for us; it's that we eat too MUCH of this sort of junk.

An interesting observation is that they are both made by Nabisco (which is a subsidiary of Kraft Foods).  Nabisco also made Blueberry Newtons, but they discontinued them a few years ago.  I like (Fig et al) Newton Cookies, but after looking at their nutrients, I noticed that they are considerably worse than any of the above--a lot of sugar and little other redeeming value.

Which takes me back to the blueberries themselves.  Per calorie, they have roughly the same amount of fiber as the Cinnamon Wafers with none of the fat.  So why was it I was eating anything but  raw blueberries?