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Product Spotlight: Nabisco’s Honey Maid Graham Crackers

Posted Oct 19 2012 9:00am

Here’s the first in a series of ‘Product Spotlights’.  If you have a specific product you’d like to request for the spotlight, please e-mail me !

Here’s an interesting food story: In 1829, Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham created an unsweetened cracker (from graham flour), intended to be a bland health food.  Why set out to create bland foods?  Well, Sly was convinced that bland foods would suppress carnal urges and “self-abuse” (aka masturbation).  He went on to develop the Graham Diet, which featured his signature cracker.  Though this was nearly 200 years ago and nutritional science was less understood, I can’t let this go unsaid: some diets are based on nothing at all, so don’t buy into one before doing your homework!

That being said, many of my clients ask about product claims on food packages.  While you probably know that many claims are unregulated and unsubstantiated, they can be difficult to decipher.  Here’s an in depth look at some completely believable claims made on the box of Graham Crackers:

  1. 8 grams of whole grains per serving! 8 grams is only 32 calories from whole grains – which isn’t much.  And, consider this:  the main ingredient is white flour.
  2. No High Fructose Corn Syrup…which implies that it’s healthier than a product made with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  However, HFCS has the same amount of calories as sugar, and neither have nutritional value.  Neither is worse for you, but HFCS is a buzzword.
  3. Made with Real Honey! Honey is sugar (arguably with negligible amounts of antioxidants).  But, as you know, sugar is sugar is sugar .
  4. Nutritionists recommend eating 3 or more servings of whole grains per day.  True.  We nutritionists recommend that.  However, Nabisco fails to mention that 1 serving of Graham crackers does not equal 1 serving of whole grains.  What would make Graham Crackers equal 1 serving of whole grains?  If it was a 100% whole grain cracker.  Right now, it’s about 50% whole grains.

None of this is to say that you should avoid Graham Crackers!  I personally feel that Graham crackers are a great sweet snack and there is no better cracker on the market for making s’mores.  They have less sugar and fewer ingredients that most other sweet crackers.  As always, everything in moderation…

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