General Mills, one of the nation’s largest food companies, is cooking up a recipe for stronger sales – but does it come at a cost to the health of consumers?

To boost sales performance, CBS News reports the company is doing things like adding more cinnamon to its Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal and rolling out “better for you” cookies that have added fiber.

Other companies, of course, have ventured into ‘healthy cookie’ territory and tout their cereal offerings, which often contain high amounts of sugar, as healthy with labels like “whole grain” and “gluten free.”

“Given the obesity epidemic in the U.S., it’d be wiser for General Mills and other food companies to put new urgency into improving the nutritional quality of their products,” said Masha Fox-Rabinovich, outpatient dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Washington Adventist Hospital. “Highly processed foods, no matter how well marketed, are not going to fool consumers into thinking they are healthy foods. Consumers know that the healthiest foods are usually ones without food labels – fruits, veggies, single ingredient whole grains, like quinoa and oats, and other minimally processed foods.”

Food makers have been adding nutritional benefits to a wide variety of products to ease the guilt often associated with snacking. Fox-Rabinovich says, “We should not feel guilty for snacking! Snacks can be a great addition to a healthy diet. The best snack foods are unprocessed and not usually found in sealed boxes or bags.”

She adds that healthy nutrition is more than just food choices – it includes consideration to portion sizes as well.

“Eating an excess of high fiber cookies can be just as unhealthy as eating too many normal cookies,” Fox-Rabinovich says. “Enjoy a regular cookie once in a while, and snack on fruits, nuts and other unprocessed foods more often.

online poll by Opinion Stage