Teddy Grahams: Trans Fatty Snacks Disguised Behind a Healthy Image
Kraft Foods has made a special effort to portray Teddy Grahams
healthy snack food, and their advertising deliberately targets children
For all their hard work in the marketing department, though, Kraft has
done very little to actually make Teddy Grahams healthy.
Teddy Grahams contain partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, a source of trans fat. Calorie
for calorie, no other common nutrient is as dangerous to your health as
trans fat. It causes coronary heart disease and has been linked to
an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cancer. Besides this killer,
the main ingredients of Teddy Grahams are
highly processed and nutritionally empty foods that can lead to insulin
resistance and diabetes.
Kraft dresses Teddy Grahams up with claims about wholesome
goodness, suggesting that Teddy Grahams are a good everyday snack for
children and parents, at home and at school. Such claims are bluff and
bluster intended to disguise the dangers Teddy Grahams pose to your
health and your children's health.
For their deceptive packaging and misleading health claims,
Kraft Foods is currently facing a class
action lawsuit in California.
Flour vs Refined and Processed Ingredients
Despite the name, Teddy Grahams are not even real graham snacks.
In addition to trans
fat, Teddy Grahams contain refined white
flour, refined sugar, and
high fructose corn syrup. All three have a high glycemic index. Foods
with a high
glycemic index are turned into simple sugars almost immediately after
you eat them, creating a spike in blood sugar. Over time, habitual
spikes in blood sugar can lead to insulin resistance and pre-diabetes.
Eventually, these foods raise your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Graham flour is a coarser, less refined alternative to heavily
processed white flour. Because it includes the entire wheat grain,
graham flour is higher in fiber and protein than white flour. It is
also digested more slowly, avoiding the blood sugar spikes associated
with more processed ingredients.
Unfortunately, while a reasonable consumer would expect a
snack called "Teddy Grahams" to be a graham product, Teddy
Grahams contain more highly-refined white flour
than graham flour. Kraft hides their unhealthy processed ingredients
behind the healthier "graham" label.
Depending on the particular package, Teddy Grahams are labeled
with any number of deceitful statements about health and nutrition.
One frequent tagline describes Teddy Grahams as a "wholesome choice for your
family." This claim is false. The ingredients of Teddy Grahams,
especially trans fat, can lead to coronary heart disease, type 2
diabetes, and cancer. Teddy Grahams are not in any way "wholesome."
Teddy Grahams also state, "a good source of calcium, iron,
[and] zinc to help support kids' health and
development." Calcium, iron, and zinc are all good, but these additions
cannot reverse the unhealthy effects of trans fats and refined ingredients.
Ironically, when whole wheat grain is turned into refined
white flour, it is stripped of its wheat germ, which contains calcium,
iron, zinc, folate, niacin, thiamin, vitamin B6, magnesium, manganese,
omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, and vitamin E.
After stripping these fourteen nutrients out of the flour, Kraft
advertises that they put just three of those nutrients back in to the
Many of the deceptive health claims on Teddy Grahams packaging
are carefully calculated to convince parents to buy these trans fat
crackers for their families. Small children should never eat artificial
trans fat, but Kraft Foods has developed elaborate advertising
campaigns to make Teddy Grahams a staple snack food for kids.
Besides their "wholesome choice for your family" claim and the
"support kids' health and development" line, Teddy Grahams are often
sold in themed promotional boxes featuring popular children's
television characters. Print advertisements encourage
parents to play Teddy-Grahams-themed learning games with their
children. The games may be great, but the Teddy Grahams themselves are a health
Foods must know parents prefer healthier snacks for their children, but
rather than actually make healthier snacks, Kraft decided to push their
unhealthy crackers as family health food.
Teddy Grahams used to feature the green check mark of the
"Smart Choices" programs, an industry-funded initiative created by the
nation's largest food companies. Health experts have called the
criteria for the Smart Choices approval "seriously flawed" and "not
credible," and the Smart Choices check mark has appeared on Froot
Loops, Lucky Charms, mayonnaise, and Fudgesicles.
The program was abandoned only after both the FDA and the
Connecticut Attorney General expressed their concern. You can read more
about this failed industry scam in Forbes
and in the New
Kraft's Teddy Grahams are made with trans fat and highly
processed, nutritionally empty ingredients. Kraft has repeatedly
attempted to deceive consumers into believing Teddy Grahams are
The dangers associated with trans fat are well known, yet Kraft
continues to target children and their parents.
This immoral conduct is currently being challenged by a class
action lawsuit in California.