Ritz crackers are one of those go-to snacks for parties and cocktail hours, and in some cases, they can even serve as a light dinner. They are delicious and have that lovely buttery flavor that everyone who loves snacks can enjoy. But are Ritz crackers healthy? We did some digging and found the information you can find useful.
Delicious as they are, these crackers are not among the healthiest snacks out there, as they do not provide much in the way of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Moreover, they offer very little nutrition for their calorie count, but it is completely fine to consume them every now and then if you eat them in small quantities. In this article, we are going to break down Ritz crackers’ nutritive value and go in-depth about how often you should consume them. So let us get started.
What Are Ritz Crackers Made Of?
We are going to start by breaking down the ingredients you can find in Ritz crackers. This is a basic step as it will inform you on whether or not these crackers consist of ingredients you should avoid.
Processed White Flour
When you read the label of this food, you will find something like “unbleached enriched flour” that, at first sight, might look ok to you. However, you should keep in mind that this is still processed flour, which is typically low in fiber, high in glycemic, and generally not particularly healthy.
Processed Vegetable Oil
When it comes to oil content, Ritz crackers typically use canola oil and palm oil. Both are highly processed oils that just add empty calories, and palm oil also adds a little saturated fat to the crackers. There have been speculations on whether or not there are trans fats in this food, so it is safe to say that this is yet another ingredient that is not healthy.
Added Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup
Added sugar and high fructose corn syrup are both very much present in Ritz crackers; even in the “Whole Wheat” flavor, you can find some added sweeteners. These sweeteners add extra calories to the food without giving much in nutrients. They also raise the glycemic index and can potentially spike your blood sugar.
Real Vegetable Ingredients
These crackers do contain a decent amount of real vegetable ingredients. Obviously, the amount you will find is not very high, and it does come after oil and sugar in the ingredients list, but it does add some nutritive value to Ritz crackers.
Whole Grain Flour
Although these snacks contain whole-grain flour, it is not the first ingredient. The processed flour comes first, and the whole grain is right after it. As a result, this “whole-wheat” cracker is pretty low in fiber.
Are Ritz Crackers Healthy?
As you can see from the ingredients in these crackers, it does not look good. The top ingredients in a number of flavors are processed flour, oil, and sugar, which all add extra calories but not much in terms of nutritive value.
It is safe to say that these crackers are not healthy and are bad for you. They have marginal levels of nutrients and a lot of questionable additives that do not provide any type of benefit to your body and its overall health and well-being.
In addition, some varieties of Ritz crackers are very rich in sodium. For example, Ritz Bitz Cheese has almost 500 milligrams of sodium, which is between one-half and one-third of the sodium you need for the day.
It is known that too much sodium can cause numerous health problems, both long-term issues like heart disease and short-term issues such as bloating.
Are Ritz Crackers Effective for Weight Loss?
Ritz crackers are definitely not the most optimal food for weight loss. This is due to the fact they contain processed, high-calorie ingredients such as canola oil, palm oil, and refined sugar, and all of these ingredients do not give much back in terms of nutritive value.
However, you can consume them in moderation in a weight-loss diet if you calculate your calorie intake accurately. To put things in perspective, you should be aware that one of the most important principles for weight loss is calorie density.
Foods with low-calorie density will fill your stomach more, with fewer calories, and some foods with the highest calorie density are refined oils that you can find plenty of in Ritz crackers. They are concentrated sources of calories, so you can see why consuming them in your weight-loss diet is a bad idea.
These Crackers Are Actually Banned in Some Countries
Ritz crackers are banned in several European countries, including Switzerland, Hungary, Iceland, Austria, Denmark, and Norway. The reason for this is that these crackers contained partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, which added a small amount of trans fat to the crackers. However, this is a piece of news that may be outdated.
The reason for this controversy is due to the fact that trans fats are commonly regarded as the most dangerous type of fat that increases the risk of heart disease and other health issues. So, when you see the label with “partially hydrogenated” oils on foods, these are often the sources of trans fat.
However, it is also important to note that after the controversy, the Ritz recipe may have already changed in this regard. This is because back in 2015, FDA determined that partially hydrogenated oils are no longer recognized as safe for human consumption, and ever since then, all food manufacturers in the US were ordered to remove these oils from their products.
Whether the Ritz recipe has changed or not, it is still safe to say that this is not the healthiest snack, and if you have fitness and diet goals to lose weight and eat healthier, this food is definitely something you should avoid at all costs.
Although Ritz crackers are not the healthiest snack choice, when consumed moderately, they will not harm your diet as long as you do not make a habit and start eating them every day. However, if you are always conscious about your calorie intake, it is best to avoid them altogether.
Steve is a certified trainer with more than 10 years of training experience and he holds a Master’s in Sports Science. Prior to Boston Rock Gym, Steve worked for two years as a personal trainer.