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    5 Reasons Why You Should Never Put Another Ritz Cracker In Your Mouth


    This fantastic article was written by Victoria Vito, MS, a professional nutritionist, columnist, and health blogger. We encourage you to check out her website here!
    Many people enjoy eating crackers. The great range of crackers in the grocery stores can be slightly overwhelming, with boxes usually spanning entire aisles. But, the truth is that all crackers aren’t made the same way!
    While healthy versions do exist, many crackers are high in sodium, sugar, artificial flavors, soybean oil, wheat flour, and unhealthy fats.
    The main problem with these tiny biscuits is the fact that they are so processed. Crackers contain so many unrecognizable ingredients they may as well have been sent from an alien planet. Moreover, they usually come wrapped in plastic and stuffed in boxes.  
    Nowadays, many producers strip the cracker down to nothing but fast-digesting stiffeners and finish with a dose of sweeteners and sugar. And the campfire fav – graham crackers -might be just as bad as the marshmallows and chocolate that top them.
    They’re prepared mostly of sugar, enriched flour, honey, and high fructose corn syrup, and has upwards of 8 g. sugar per 2-cracker serving (that actually sounds more like candies to me).

    Why are crackers bad for you?

    Sugar



    When sugar is entering our body in multitudes from sources we’re not considering are sugary issues, overdoing it can be very easy. Furthermore, high sugar consumption has been associated with coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease and increased levels of LDL cholesterol (that can increase the risk for heart attack).

    Enriched Flour

    Often you can see It is funny how everything is ‘enriched’ these days. You don’t actually need to ‘enrich’ something if it had quality nutrition, right? You don’t see us injecting fruits and calling them ‘enriched’ lemons, do you?
    For example, Ritz has a new cracker made with whole wheat – which is a perfect marketing trick! It sounds so right!
    And we want whole grains and whole wheat in our diet because:
    • Their great content of nutrients (more than a refined grain)
    • Fiber is the celebrity nutrient in whole grains that something many people lack in the diet
    • Whole grains in foods are a pointer of a less processed product.
    So, the Ritz cracker with five grams whole grains sounds quite healthy, right? Well, let’s take a look…
    What you should know…
    We are actually kind of disappointed to read the label and find out that the five grams of whole grains are translated to less than one gram of fiber per serving! But the disappointment didn’t end there.

    Unfortunate Cracker Ingredients

    Unbleached enriched flour (folic acid, riboflavin, wheat flour, reduced iron, niacin, thiamine mononitrate), salt, whole grain wheat flour, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, sugar, soybean oil, soy lecithin, leavening (calcium phosphate, and/or baking soda), high fructose corn syrup.
    As you can notice, the 1st ingredient in these crackers is refined flour, stripped of the nutrients, just to have some of them added back (therefore “enriched”). Moreover, this product contains trans-fats. And something that is really bad for diabetics is:

    High Fructose Corn Syrup

    We have all been led to think that fat is a huge problem in our diet, though sugar is far worse, and do not even mention – high fructose corn syrup which is the evilest kind!
    Fructose only gets absorbed by the liver and when this organ gets clogged up with fructose – it gets fatty. This can promote insulin resistance, and normally we can just use so much fructose – that is not a lot. And the rest – it goes straight to fat storage, promoting fast weight gain.
    This generally indicates a low quality and high-profit margin processed food. And that’s not all…Let’s take a look at some other ingredients contained in most crackers:

    Soybean Oil

    Besides the health risks linked to the trans fats formed by the partial hydrogenation method, soybean oil is NOT a healthy oil. The majority of soy grown in the U.S. is genetically engineered, which means it can cause many health issues.
    When taken all together, partially hydrogenated GE soybean oil is definitely one of the absolute worst kinds of oils you can eat. 

    Sodium

    And that’s not all – sodium may be a problem, too. 1-serving pack of Ritz Bitz Cheese crackers has 480mg of sodium (which is 20% of the daily recommended value). Scientists say too much sodium could increase in blood pressure and increase the risk for cardiovascular disease, too.

    Artificial Flavors

    Many crackers contain artificial dyes and flavors. The rainbow version of Goldfish contains 4 artificial colors. Even though it is still unclear what enduring dangers these can lead to, artificial dyes have been associated to behavior problems in kids, hyperactivity, and certain types of cancers.
    That does not even account for the cheese (or chocolate, or peanut butter) filling. 
    Well, if you make homemade crackers you can add some cheese…and even some more cheese if your cheese is included on “the good cheese list,”

    Trans Fats

    A package of Austin Cheese Crackers contains 10 grams’ fat and 210 calories – and 4 of those grams are from Trans fats that have been associated with abdominal weight gain, even when excess calories were not consumed. These fats have also been associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 
    So, the ugly truth is that most crackers can lead to many health problems, and just some of them come with hardly any fiber or protein (that should be a cracker essential).
    But, this doesn’t have to mean that you should give up on crackers – because you can always opt for “good” crackers!

    Take Action – Go for Smart Crackers!

    As a nutritionist, I recommend you to make homemade crackers by your choice – and in general, always try to eat homemade meals and use homemade cosmetics in order to live more healthy and in balance with nature- because everything we use in everyday life – is basically artificial!

    Read The Nutrition Label

    But, if you don’t have time for this action – it’s important to check the nutrition label when buying crackers. 
    Good options usually have a short list of ingredients with recognizable words instead of hard-to-pronounce additives. In order to be safe, stay away from those with the following offenders:
    • Partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats),
    • Artificial colors, or
    • High fructose corn syrup
    Remember – the sodium content need to be less than 230mg (around 10% of the daily recommended value) per 1 serving.

    “Baked” Crackers

    You should also bear in mind that crackers labeled as “baked” are not necessarily healthy.  As a rule, crispbread and rice crackers tend to be low in fat, and as a bonus, those with seeds (such as flax seeds, linseed, and poppy seeds) tend to be high in fiber than some others types.

    Whole Grain

    Next, look for crackers which are 100% whole grain. Although the list of ingredients says “wheat flour,” it is not a whole-grain food if not specifies “whole-wheat flour.”
    Plus, words like “multigrain,””7-grain”, and “wheat” can appear on packages which contain a mixture of whole and refined grains, and crackers that look “whole” (read: brown) might just be colored by caramel or molasses. 

    Portion Size

    Portion size is also very important – so don’t forget about it! Look for a cracker with 150 calories or even lesser per serving — and ensure it is a serving size that is easy to stick to (and realistic).
    For example, just 5 Ritz crackers have 80 calories – and that may seem like ok, but if you’re going to eat more like 15 or 20 crackers, that means not triple – but quadruple the calories, thus, not such a good deal.


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