In 1801, a certain baker from Massachusetts named Josiah Bent overcooked a batch of biscuits. The name “crackers” is said to have come from the crackling sound those biscuits made as they were burning in the oven. Back then, crackers were very much like flatbread, made from basic flour, water and some salt or spices for seasoning.
The crackers available in groceries today hardly resemble their ancestor. They are now highly-processed food. They’re packaged in plastic or boxes, and if you read the labels, you’re likely to see some of the risky ingredients also found in other junk food. These would be the usual culprits: white flour, saturated and trans fats, processed sugar, salt, and some artificial additives. Continue reading to know more about the negative effects of crackers (and be sure to also check out the recommended soak times for beans, grains, legumes, nuts and rice.)
Risks of Crackers:
The amount of unhealthy components per serving may differ from one product to another. On the one hand you have something like Saltines which contain 40 calories and 1.2 grams of fat per single-serve pack. Then you have products like Barnum’s Animal Crackers whose list of ingredients reads like that of cookies. It has high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in addition to sugar and partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil.
If there was a contest for which sugar substitute can be most consistently linked with diabetes, HFCS would probably win the top award. This type of processed sugar can be found in most processed food and beverage products. You’ll see it in almost every kind of juice or soda. Meanwhile, any partially hydrogenated oil, regardless of source, is sure to be trans fat. Hydrogenation is the manufacturing process used to extend the shelf life of oils (especially those derived from plants) which tend to quickly turn rancid. The problem with trans fat is that it doesn’t only raise LDL or bad cholesterol but hampers production of HDL or the good kind of cholesterol.
Salty is the expected flavor for crackers and some varieties can contain quite an amount. Just like packaged snack chips, any cheese flavored cracker is more than likely to have high quantities of sodium. One product called Ritz Big Stuff Colossal Cheddar is appropriately named. A single serving is set in a 1.3 ounce pack and this contains 300 milligrams of sodium or 13% of your body’s daily limit for this mineral. By itself, salt is not bad but over-consumption can threaten cardiovascular health. If you think about it, those who like to snack on crackers rarely just eat a single serving in a day.
Crackers marketed for kids tend to have the most artificial coloring. The “rainbow” variety of Goldfish crackers contains the food dyes known as Blue 1 and 2, and Red 3 and 40. These are some of the artificial food colorings that have been petitioned for banning because they’ve been linked to behavior problems in children.
The most one can do with crackers is choose the product with the lowest calories and fat. However picking the least risky variety doesn’t mean you’re making a healthy food choice. In the end, crackers don’t really contribute anything other than easily digestible simple carbohydrates. Some manufacturers try to solve this by using “enriched” flour. This is how they get the license to print some proteins, minerals and vitamins on their labels. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the nutritional value of this type of flour has reverted to its original state before processing, when the bran and germ layers were still intact. Enriched flour still lacks fiber for one thing and this is why such products always have a high glycemic index.
In the next post, I’ll tell you the negative effects of bagels and why you should avoid them to succeed in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the grains and legumes on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
• GMO Corn
• Soy Nuts
If you have questions, comments or feedback about the negative effects of crackers, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the negative effects of crackers.