Kraft announced yesterday that it will increase the amount of whole grains in over 100 Nabisco products during the next 3 years. The products include: Wheat Thins, Honey Maid, Premium and Ritz crackers.
This change “will contribute more than 9 billion servings of whole grain to American diets each year,” according to the company.
For example, Kraft will double the whole grain in Wheat Thins Original from 11 grams to 22 grams. That’s quite impressive. Let’s take the opportunity to examine what’s inside each Wheat Thin.
What you need to know:
Here’s what Wheat Thins’ ingredient list look like today:
WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT FLOUR, UNBLEACHED ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], FOLIC ACID), SOYBEAN OIL, SUGAR, CORNSTARCH, MALT SYRUP (FROM BARLEY AND CORN), SALT, INVERT SUGAR, MONOGLYCERIDES, LEAVENING (CALCIUM PHOSPHATE AND/OR BAKING SODA), VEGETABLE COLOR (ANNATTO EXTRACT, TURMERIC OLEORESIN). CONTAINS: WHEAT. BHT ADDED TO PACKAGING MATERIAL TO PRESERVE FRESHNESS.
As you can see, the crackers are made from a wheat blend – both whole wheat and refined wheat. A serving today consists of 9 crackers weighing in at 31 grams (a cracker over an ounce). Of those 31 grams, only 11 are from whole wheat, and at most, 11 additional grams are from the refined wheat. The rest of the product weight is from the oil, sugars (underlined), and other additives.
According to Kraft, by 2013, Wheat Thins will include only whole wheat, 22 grams worth. This should double the fiber count from just 2 grams per serving to 4 grams.
While Wheat Thins are not exactly a health food, this whole grain initiative is a positive move forward by Kraft. Additional recommendations would be to lower the sodium levels, which now are at 230mg (10% of the daily maximum). Earlier this year, Kraft announced plans to reduce sodium by 10%, but it would be far more beneficial to slash it by 50%.
What to do at the supermarket:
If you’re a cracker lover, it makes sense to choose brands and flavors that are made from 100% whole grains. Until Kraft goes ahead with its changes, try to find options that are exclusively whole grain, low in sodium, and low in added ingredients.