For Kraft, mac n cheese is a big business. But the standard mac ‘n cheese is not that healthy – processed flour, tons of saturated fat from the cheese, artificial colors, and additives.
So Kraft is trying to healthify its offering by selling a whole grain version. Does the whole grain version stand up to Fooducate’s rigorous standards?
What you need to know:
Let’s start with the packaging. From afar, it the front of pack boldly boasts a “Whole Grain” dish. Upon closer inspection, and in a lighter, small font, you can see “made with 50%”. So it’s only half whole grains. Not cool.
Now let’s turn our attention to the ingredient list:
enriched pasta product (whole durum wheat flour, durum wheat semolina flour, glyceryl monostearate, niacin, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, ferrous sulfate), cheese sauce mix (whey, corn syrup solids, palm oil, milkfat, salt, milk protein concentrate, contains less than 2% of medium chain triglycerides, sodium tripolyphosphate, citric acid, sodium phosphate, natural flavor, lactic acid, calcium phosphate, monosodium glutamate, yellow 5, yellow 6, artificial flavor, enzymes, cheese culture), modified food starch, maltodextrin, potassium chloride, acetylated monoglycerides, salt, medium chain triglycerides, apocarotenal (color).
The first 2 ingredients are the flours used to make the pasta. Durum is the type of wheat usually used for pasta. It has a higher protein content than standard wheat and is more fitting for pasta. The first flour is whole. But the second one – semolina – is not.
The cheese sauce is made from a bunch of goop, but cheese is not part of it. Thank goodness for the “natural flavors” added, they probably provide the flavor profile that will trick your nose and tongue to believe you are consuming cheese.
And to enhance visual effects, artificial colors yellow 5, and yellow 6 are added. Artificial colors are potentially carcinogenic and cause hyperactivity is some children.
A 2 ounce serving of half-Whole-Grain mac n cheese 220 calories. Despite being half whole grain, it does have 3 grams of fiber (12% of the daily requirement). Sodium is high – 480 mg, which 20% of the daily max – especially considering the relatively small portion size. Saturated fat, always a concern when cheese is around, is not that bad – 2 grams (10% of the daily max). Again, this is a small portion.
Bottom line: Look elsewhere for mac n cheese. Please Kraft, try a bit harder.
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