Nutrition Action Healthletter
June 1998 — U.S. Edition

Whole Weave

Whole wheat, salt. There’s nothing like a short ingredient list to (sometimes) steer you to the healthiest foods.

That’s all you’ll find in Whole Foods Baked Woven Wheats. And the salt supplies only 170 mg of sodium in an eight-cracker serving.

Of course, it may be hard to stop at eight. If you like the crunchy bite of Triscuits, you’ll love Woven Wheats. The only difference: Triscuits have partially hydrogenated soybean oil—which gives them five grams of fat.

Triscuits are pretty decent crackers. And Reduced Fat Triscuits cut the fat to three grams. But why not skip the hydrogenated oils altogether?

Woven Wheats are one of a handful of virtually fat-free whole-grain crackers. Most—like Kavli or (our favorite) Finn Crisp—are made of rye. Hol-Grain Crackers and whole wheat matzos are among the few that are wheat. Wasa makes Crispbreads out of both grains.

Now there’s one more wafer to cover with a shmear of hummus or fat-free cream cheese or a thin slice of Jarlsberg more cracker to help make a meal of a green salad and a hearty lentil or bean soup.

Look for them at Whole Foods, Bread and Circus, Bread of Life, Fresh Fields, Merchant of Vino, or Wellspring Grocery. At other health food stores they’re called Quilt Crackers or Old Stone Mill Whole Wheat Wafers.

Whole Foods—(512) 477-4455.

Bad Humor

There you are in front of the Good Humor truck or rummaging through the ice cream case at the cafeteria, convenience store, or gas station.

The Candy Center Crunch bar looks interesting. And it food scientists wondering how to cram the makings of a blood vessel blockage onto a stick.

Just one "Vanilla flavored ice cream with chocolate flavored center & coating with crisps" bar has 18 out of the 20 grams of saturated fat you should eat in a whole day.

Don’t get us wrong. There are plenty of other nasty items on those trucks. A Good Humor Premium Ice Cream Bar has ten grams of sat fat. But 18? That makes the eight grams of saturated fat in a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder almost look innocent.

Only one ingredient can squeeze 18 grams of sat fat into a bar with 300 calories and 23 grams of total fat: coconut oil.

It’s the first ingredient in both the "chocolate center" and the "coating." Then come sugar and partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oils, which could add a few grams of artery-clogging trans fat for good measure.

If it’s gotta be Good Humor, try an Orange or Rainbow Pop-Up. It’ll give you a hefty dose of sugar, but at least you get some fruit juice (with its vitamin C) and no fat to put your arteries in a bad humor.

Good Humor—(920) 499-5151.

Nutrition Action Healthletter