Yes, Wheat Thins are bad for you. Although Nabisco markets them as a healthy baked snack, they are not good for the overall wellness of the body.
Wheat Thins are a popular U.S. cracker made by Nabisco, and are often reached for as a healthy snack because of their whole wheat perception and versatility in pairing with popular healthy toppings like peanut butter and hummus. However, when considering the actual nutrition of Wheat Thins, they may fall short of their “healthy” status.
A typical serving of Wheat Thins is roughly 16 crackers. This portion will set you back 140 calories, 5 grams of fat, and 230 mg of sodium. Sugars are listed at 4 grams per serving, and they include 2 grams of protein. This favorite snack packs a large amount of calories, without adding many nutrients. The sodium level alone is 10% of your maximum daily recommended intake, and that is just in 16 small crackers!
A careful read-through of the ingredients list also poses some additional concerns. While whole grain wheat flour is the primary ingredient, they also contain unbleached enriched flour, soybean oil, cornstarch, monoglycerides, and ‘natural coloring’. Although unbleached enriched flour is fortified with important vitamins and minerals, it has been stripped of the bran and germ that make it truly nutritious. Additionally, many of these vitamins are depleted in the processing and are added back into the flour in a synthetic form, which is far inferior to the natural vitamins and minerals in pure wheat.
Soybean oil is high in Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats. This type of fat in excessive amounts can lead to inflammation. Food additives like monoglycerides are also a concern due to their nature as fatty acids; they act similar to triglycerides. Monoglycerides may contain trans-fats, which have been attributed to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Soy products are correlated with numerous negative side effects related to hormones and reproductive health. They are also a common allergen.
Wheat Thins come in a variety of flavors including Chipotle, Ranch, Reduced Fat, and Sundried Tomato & Basil, however, regardless of flavor, much of the same issues exist for all Wheat Thin products. Reduced Fat options have similar nutrition facts, and only save 1.5 grams of fat in one serving. More indulgent options like the Chipotle flavor, include even more calories, sugar, and/or sodium depending on the variety.
It is important to point out that the bag in which the Wheat Thins are packed in are made using butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). In recent years, studies have shown the potential for BHT to absorb into the food when the temperature of the bag increases. This is typically the result of storing the Wheat Thins in a hot climate. BHT is associated with increased risk of developing illnesses such as cancer, endocrine disruptions, and thyroid complications.
Overall, Wheat Thins, while convenient, and made of some whole grain, do not present much in terms of actual nutrition. With only 2% of your daily calcium intake and 4% of your daily iron, you are much better off replacing them with a healthier alternative that packs more nutrients, fewer calories, less sugar, and is not processed with unhealthy oils and fats.
Possible short-term side effects
- blood sugar spike
Possible long-term side effects
- high cholesterol
- endocrine disruption
- heart disease
- thyroid complications
- reproductive disorders
- hormonal complications
Ingredients to be aware of
- sodium chloride (salt)
- soybean oil
- synthetic b vitamins (in some populations)
- source of carbohydrates
- whole grain
Healthier alternatives (what is this?)
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Written by DeeAnne Oldham | 06-04-2016
Written by DeeAnne Oldham
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