Are fig rolls healthy?

Fig rolls are a popular sweet snack especially liked in the UK. They are a type of cookie or a biscuit containing fig filling as one of the main ingredients. In the USA they are known as Fig Newtons but their shape and texture are slightly different.

Fig rolls contain figs so you may think that they are even good for you. But what’s the truth? Do figs in them make them healthy? We looked at their ingredients and nutritional values in detail to see just how healthy they are.

Bolands Fig Rolls

Ingredients in fig rolls

There are three main brands producing fig rolls: McVities, Jacob’s and Boland’s so we’ll focus on the ingredients found in these three brands.

McVitiesFig Paste (30%), Flour (Wheat Flour, Calcium, Iron, Niacin, Thiamin), Glucose Syrup, Sugar, Vegetable Oil (Palm), Water, Salt, Raising Agent (Sodium Bicarbonate), Wheat Starch, Acid (Citric Acid)
Jacob’sWheat Flour [Wheat Flour, Calcium Carbonate, Iron, Niacin, (Vitamin B3), Thiamin (Vitamin B1)], Figs (25%), Glucose Syrup, Sugar, Palm Oil, Salt, Raising Agent (Sodium Bicarbonate), Acidity Regulator (Citric Acid)
Boland’sWheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Calcium Carbonate, Iron, Niacin, Thiamin), Figs (25%), Glucose Syrup, Sugar, Palm Oil, Salt, Raising Agent/Leavening (Sodium Bicarbonate), Acidity Regulator (Citric Acid)

The ingredients in fig rolls are quite simple and not very complex. All the popular fig rolls brands use the following:

  • Wheat flour (fortified with vitamins and minerals)
  • Fig paste (25-30%)
  • Glucose syrup – a form of sugar that also acts as a thickener
  • Sugar
  • Palm oil – contains 50% saturated fat which could cause an increase in cholesterol. This ingredient is very bad for the environment (for people who care).
  • Salt
  • Soda Bicarbonate
  • Acidity regulator: Citric acid

There are a few unhealthy ingredients in fig rolls, for example, palm oil which contains 50% saturated fat and different forms of sugar (glucose syrup, sugar).

The flour found in fig rolls is refined white flour but to make it healthier they’ve added various vitamins and minerals to it such as calcium, iron and B vitamins.

Nutritional information of fig rolls

Nutritional values per 100 gMcvities Fig RollsJacobs Fig RollsBolands Fig Rolls
– of which Saturated Fat3.8g4.2g4.2g
– of which Sugar34.8g36.8g36.8g

Are fig rolls low in fat?

At around 9 g of fat per 100 g, fig rolls are not low in fat. Foods that are low in fat are those with 3g of fat or less per 100g. Fig rolls do not fit these criteria.

However, fig rolls are also not classed as high-fat foods which is food with 17.5g of fat per 100g. They come somewhere in middle.

Sugar content in fig rolls

Mcvities Fig Rolls have 34.8 g of sugar per 100 g while Jacobs and Bolands Fig Rolls have slightly more (36.8g).

Per biscuit, this is 6.3g of sugar which is a lot of sugar and equals approximately 1 teaspoon and a half.

Some of this sugar comes from figs and is natural sugar while the rest is added sugar. It’s not clear from the label how much sugar is added.

The general guidelines are that we should not have more than 30g of free (added sugars) a day.

If you eat 3 fig roll biscuits you consume 18.9 g of sugar which is almost two-thirds of the recommended sugar intake for the day. This makes fig rolls very high in sugar and for this reason, they should only be eaten in moderation.

fig rolls

The fibre content in fig rolls

Fig rolls contain some fibre – around 3-4g per 100g. Per biscuit, this is only 0.7g of fibre. Considering that we should all consume at least 30g of fibre per day, fig rolls are not high in fibre.

If you want to meet your daily recommended fibre intake, you should consume healthier foods throughout the day, such as high-fibre breakfast cereal, beans, lentils, chickpeas and a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Calories in fig rolls

Fig rolls have 383 calories per 100 g; per biscuit, this is 65 calories. This makes fig rolls quite calorific and if you are watching your calories you should definitely not have more than one or two at once.

Are fig rolls good for you?

Fig rolls contain 25-30% of fig filling which is a good thing since dried figs contain various minerals such as magnesium and potassium and B vitamins.

However, fig rolls are high in sugar, high in calories and contain moderate amounts of fat. This makes them quite unhealthy and not so good for you.


Are fig rolls good for constipation?

Although figs have been used to treat constipation for centuries, eating fig rolls does not have the same effect. Fig rolls don’t contain enough figs in them to decrease constipation.

There are studies showing that dried figs are very effective at reducing constipation and this only works if enough dried figs or fig fruit paste is consumed. You won’t be able to consume anywhere near the studied amount by eating fig rolls.

Are fig rolls good for diabetics?

No, fig rolls are not good for diabetics as they are high in sugar and can significantly increase blood sugar levels.

Are fig rolls fattening?

Although fig rolls contain only moderate amounts of fat and are not classed as high-fat foods, they are full of sugar and high in calories.

If you eat too many of them too often you will quickly gain weight which makes them fattening.

Are fig rolls vegan?

Fig rolls don’t contain any animal-derived ingredients such as eggs, butter or milk and for this reason, they should be vegan. But some people don’t consider figs vegan because of the wasps that die as part of a pollination process.

Whether fig rolls are vegan or not really depends on you and whether you consider figs vegan.

Are fig rolls good for cycling?

Fig rolls are rich in carbohydrates and full of sugar which gives the body a quick burst of energy. This is exactly what’s needed during intense cycling sessions. For this reason, fig rolls are recommended by cycling experts such as Cycling Weekly and British Cycling.

So, yes, fig rolls are good for cycling.

Are fig rolls safe in pregnancy?

Fig rolls are baked and contain no ingredients that could be potentially harmful in pregnancy. They are perfectly safe to eat if you are pregnant but you should be aware of their high sugar content and high calories.

Eating too many too often could result in extra weight gain which you don’t want in pregnancy as it could result in complications.

Are fig rolls one of your five a day?

No, fig rolls don’t count as one of your five a day as they contain only up to 30% of fig filling.

You would have to eat 5 fig rolls just to get one portion of your five-a-day but that’s a lot of calories which you don’t want!

It’s better to eat fresh fruits and vegetables and eat fig rolls as a treat once in a while.