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The Best and Worst Protein Cookies in India

Sofit | Eat Anytime | HYP | Threptin Biscuits

If you’ve been with this blog for a while, you’d remember how this reviewing thing started — with my Review of all the Protein Bars in India

What I thought was just a review, became something much larger. With the number of views and reads and reactions that article got, it’s now one of the top Google search results on the subject!

I was (am) blown away. I never expected a simple review of ingredients and macro-composition to stir up such a storm (including small manufacturers across the country writing to me to review their bars!) 

Six months hence, and I can only pin it down to one reason :

All of us, at some level, have an inherent distrust in the food we’re consuming

Manufacturer’s claims have so much fraudulent marketing built into them, that distrust, it seems, has become the starting point with which we approach packaged food.

Just to be sure I wasn’t imagining all this, I even mounted an insta-poll around the same question:

No wonder then, that whenever I write a post that either calls out these lies, or give you the tools to see the trickery yourself, it just travels with uncanny velocity. 

Which brings us to this week’s topic. A review of All Indian-Brand Protein Cookies (there are a few imported ones available, but they’re just too expensive and too scarcely available). Let’s begin.

Review Mechanism

The mechanism is exactly the same as the one we used for protein bars. It’ll be a 4-factor judgement, each factor rated on a scale of 5. Where:

1 = ‘You’re lying. This isn’t what you claim. Kindly duck yourself.

5 = ‘Well done. You’re truthful and awesome and I will hug you when I see you. Till then, I’ll keep buying you.

The factors:

  1. Truthfulness of Claims: First up, I’ll verify what you’re shouting on Front of Pack. This, better be true.
  2. Quality of Ingredients: Anything that one doesn’t find in a normal kitchen gets negative points.
  3. Sugar: Anything apart from natural sugars is a no-no. The more of this, the less the score.
  4. Macro-Composition: What balance you’re able to strike between all 3 macros (Protein, Fat and Carbs), is how I judge goodness of recipe
  5. Taste: Isn’t a criteria this time because I didn’t find reason to buy any brand. You’ll soon see why. 

Cookies under review

Eat Anytime | Sofit | HYP | Threptin Biscuits

Clearly, there aren’t many offerings (yet). Interestingly though, threptin biscuits have existed for ages. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of you have had them as kids. And they still pack a punch. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Eat Anytime Protein Cookies

Truthfulness of Claims: 1

What’s the first thing that catches your eye when you look at the pack? 

25g Protein Cookies

Right? Now what would any sane person infer from this line — that each cookie has 25gm Protein. Just like if I said, 10gm Protein Bar. Right?

Wrong! The folks at EAT take us for fools. Or atleast are hell bent on making us one. Because 25gm isn’t the protein content of 1 Cookie, it’s the content in 100gms of Cookies.

Now, you might need calculators to answer the most basic next question that you’ll have —  How much protein per cookie?

At the bottom right, you see that one cookie is 20gm. So 100gm is 5 cookies. Ok, so 5 cookies have 25gm of protein. Oh, ok, so one cookie has, what, just 5gm of protein! Doesn’t sound so sexy now does it?

But the mis-claiming (lying) doesn’t stop there. Right under the protein claim, is another claim:

Fortified with CLA

This same claim re-appears in the visual below too, along with another generic claim:

Belly Fat Burner

First of all, what the hell is CLA, you might want to ask?

Well, it’s Conjugated Linoleic Acid. Yeah. I’ll let that sink in. Then tell you that it’s nothing but a fatty acid that’s found in meat and dairy products. And some studies do suggest it might have some heart benefits. But if you’re not going to tell me all this, and just write a fancy sounding word, I doubt your intentions.

And then you say ‘fortified with’, but I don’t see CLA in any of your (very long and disappointing) ingredient list. And then I realise, CLA must be coming from Whey, which is a dairy derivative. So there’s no fortification you did. Every Whey product must have it. Sigh.

I could go on a similar tirade against the ‘fat burner’ claim which is totally misleading too, but you get the drift. The only reason why I haven’t given them a ZERO on truthfulness, is because someone else has outdone them. You’ll see soon.

Quality of Ingredients: 1

They’ve put 4 types of oils in this product. And added both sugar and dextrin. Also artificial colors and preservatives. And as a result, they have 20+ ingredients, half of which you’ll never see in your kitchen. I rest my case. 

Sugar: 2

It’s there. But as far as I can make out, it’s largely from dates and then some of it is added through Dark Compound. I’d have given them a higher score if, after all this sugar, they hadn’t also added Dextrin & FOS. Why!

Macro Composition: 3

With all the ingredient jugglery, they get a decent macro composition. About 25% of the calories are from Protein, 40% from Fats and the rest from Carbs. Which isn’t bad for a cookie.

Sofit Protein Cookies

Truthfulness of Claim: 0

Yup, you read that right. Sofit has earned themselves the distinction of getting the first ZERO rating awarded on FITSHIT. And that’s because, the level of lying they’ve achieved, is unprecedented.

This product is called (in big red font upfront):

PROTEIN COOKIES

But interestingly, there is no mention of ‘how much protein’ anywhere on the pack. That’s strange. So we turn the pack:

Again, get your calculators ready.

100gm of this product has just 10gm of Protein. To put that into perspective, 100gm of Paneer has double that amount. 

But the question is, how much protein does one cookie have? 

Now this is a ‘Pack of 9’, and it weighs 150gm. So one cookie, is ~17gm a piece. And if 100gm has 10gm protein, 17gm has, wait for it, ~1.7gm Protein

That’s it. One Cookie has less than 2gms of Protein. How dare they call themselves a Protein Cookie! Not only am I aghast, I’m downright offended.

This is nothing but a manufacturer utilising the lack of regulation around claims to their benefit. They’ve made no effort to add protein to this cookie, but they know that the word ‘protein’ sells. Well then, it’s simple isn’t it, just call it a protein cookie!

Well you know what, even Cadbury Dairy milk has 8.1gm Protein per 100gm. Maybe they should call themselves Protein Chocolate too! 

So no, these are not protein cookies. And hence I won’t review them any further. And if you’re considering buying them to boost your protein intake, then just go for a Dairy Milk. Atleast you’ll enjoy the taste.

HYP Protein Cookie

Truthfulness of Claim: 4

This, finally, is atleast a protein cookie worthy of being called one. And they claim only that there’s 10gm Protein per cookie, and that there is. No other claim. Phew.

Quality of Ingredients: 3

Marks deducted for having Maltitol (Sugar Alcohol), Palm Oil, Wheat Gluten, and Dextrin. Actually, on another day, I’d have given them a 2. But they’re lucky to be in such bad company, that in comparison, they’re a 3.

Sugar: 3

No added sugar. But added sugar alcohol. And FOS too (read this to know what that is). But atleast they haven’t lied and claimed ‘No Sugar Added’. I respect that. 

Macro-Composition: 4

20%+ Calories from Protein. 40% odd from Carbs and rest from Fats. Fairly balanced for a cookie.

All in all, if you’re looking for a variation on your protein bar, and cookies are your thing, this one atleast has a meaningful level of protein to make a difference.

Threptin Biscuits

When I was prepping for this review, I intended to end it at HYP, and then go shout into a pillow, frustrated by the rampant lying going on in the Indian packaged food industry. But then I got reminded of this age-old brand.

Truthfulness of Claims: 5

Look at the simplicity of that line — “High Calorie Protein Supplement”. No qualms, no mis-claims, just the truth. And when they say ‘fortified’, you actually find ‘Vitamins’ as a separate ingredient behind.

This product has 30gm Protein per 100gm!! That is higher than both EAT and HYP. And we agreed not to talk about Sofit. 

Quality of Ingredients: 4

Again, within it’s competitive set, this has the cleanest set of ingredients. The only problem, is Sugar. These biscuits have a ton of sugar (30% by weight). 

But then that’s why they were made — to help anemic kids gain weight. The sugar here is part of the product’s proposition. And they claim it (High Calorie) proudly upfront. Unfortunately, that makes it a bad choice if weight-loss is what you’re looking for.

I won’t analyse them further. But I felt they deserved a mention. To remind ourselves that before this food-marketing machinery decided to screw with us, brands that made good, clean products, and claimed only what these products delivered, existed. And thrived. 

Sigh.


To sign-off, I’d just advice you to stay away from Protein Cookies being sold in India right now. You’re better off finding that protein elsewhere. Sigh again. 


Also published on Medium.

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