Trans Fat Hiding Behind Ritz Crackers Packaging

The Dangerous Trans Fat Hiding Behind Ritz Crackers Packaging
Several varieties of Ritz Crackers pretend to be healthy. Ritz Hint of Salt packaging says they are lower in sodium, and the Ritz Roasted Vegetables package says they are made with real vegetables. But whatever misdirection Kraft Foods prints on the packaging, Ritz contain trans fat and highly processed ingredients that can cause or exacerbate coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Calorie for calorie, no common nutrient is as bad for your health as trans fat. Even very small amounts can cause major health issues over time.

For their false and misleading health claims on Ritz Crackers, Kraft is the target of a class action lawsuit in California. Four varieties in particular make deceptive health claims that distract the consumer from the unhealthy ingredients: Ritz Whole Wheat, Ritz Hint of Salt, Ritz Reduced Fat, and Ritz Roasted Vegetable.
(img) Ritz Ingredients Reduced FatHighly Refined Ingredients
All four varieties of Ritz Crackers are made with refined white flour and sweeted with refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup. These three ingredients have a very 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, repeated spikes in blood sugar can lead to insulin resistance and pre-diabetes. Eventually, these foods raise your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Ritz Whole Wheat may appear to be a healthier choice because whole wheat flour is a much healthier alternative to white flour. A side panel on the Ritz Whole Wheat box even says that “nutritionists recommend” eating whole wheat.

Unfortunately, Ritz Whole Wheat is not a real whole wheat product, as it contains more white flour than whole wheat flour. Kraft’s deceptive packaging emphasizes the small amount of whole wheat added to these crackers, but overall this variety of Ritz is still composed of processed ingredients and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils rich in trans fat.

Similarly, Ritz Roasted Vegetable may appear more healthy because they are “made with real vegetables,” but this is a smokescreen. There is more partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, a major source of trans fat, than there are actual vegetables in Ritz Roasted Vegetable Crackers.

Deceptive Packaging
(img) Sensible Snacking banner on RitzVarious Ritz varieties are often sold with a “Sensible Solution” or “Sensible Snacking” banner, which says these crackers have low saturated fat and “no cholesterol.”

Both points sound good, but be wary. Trans fat is actually far worse for the human body than saturated fat. Consumption of trans fat raises your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and lowers your HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels, leaving you at an even greater risk of coronary heart disease.

The “no cholesterol” claim is especially misleading because it implies that Ritz Crackers are a healthy choice for people worried about their cholesterol. But in terms of your health, it does not matter much whether Ritz have “no cholesterol,” because dietary cholesterol has little effect on your cholesterol levels. What matters is the harmful trans fat content. So Kraft’s “no cholesterol” claim encourages people who are already worried about their cholesterol to buy a product that will raise their risk even further.

With their “Sensible Solution” banner, Kraft deliberately tricks the very people in the most danger into buying a dangerous food.