Dr. Thomas Dwan - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Thomas Dwan

Are Pretzels Bad For You?



Short answer

While pretzels will provide you small amounts of vitamins and minerals, they aren't entirely healthy. If you are going to consume them, we recommend unsalted varieties in moderation.



Long answer

Although pretzels contain a mix of carbohydrates, protein, fat and fiber, they aren’t exactly a healthy snack option. This is mostly because of the small amount of protein - roughly 2.8 grams in a 1-ounce serving. This is not enough to give the body a sufficient energy burst.

On the positive side, pretzels also contain about 5% of the daily value of fiber and a handful of vitamins and minerals including iron, magnesium, potassium, niacin, and vitamin E. In fact, just a 1-ounce serving contains 1.55 mg of iron, 9% of a woman’s RDA, and 1.7 mg of niacin (vitamin B3), 12% of a woman’s RDA.

Iron plays a major role in the body, helping to make new red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. It also keeps the muscles and organs functioning and provides energy. Vitamin B3 helps turn carbohydrates into energy in the body and can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Pretzels aren't the best sources of these vitamins and minerals, but at least there is something good in your pretzel snacking.

Salt is one of the biggest downsides to eating pretzels. While sodium is a necessary part of your diet, you don’t actually have to add it to any of your foods to get the proper amount. The naturally occurring salt in whole food sources is enough for your body to function. Too much sodium in the body leads to a host of negative health effects like high blood pressure and heart disease. Salt will make you thirsty as your electrolyte balance can be thrown off. High salt can also lead to osteoporosis by causing calcium to leach out of the bones. You should check the label on your pretzels before buying them as some contain much more salt than others. You can even buy ones without salt to prevent these consequences.

Possible short-term side effects

  • dehydration
  • increased thirst
  • electrolyte imbalance

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain
  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease
  • osteoporosis

Ingredients to be aware of

  • sodium

Big are pretzels bad for you 2


  • decent source of:
  • iron
  • magnesium
  • potassium
  • niacin
  • vitamin e

Unsalted Pretzels (what is this?)

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Written by Kristin Brown, DC, MS | 07-30-2016

Written by Kristin Brown, DC, MS
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