A Shocking Ingredient Found In Tortillas
May 17, 2012 38 Comments
Mission came out with "Carb Balance" tortillas to support a growing group of people watching their carbohydrates including diabetics. How did they increase the fiber in a white tortilla?
I was sent this question from a reader and was excited to investigate.
I was buying ingredients for fajitas this weekend - they are a staple for me, because they are tasty and (as long as I go easy on the shredded cheese) a very healthy and complete meal. I got stuck in the tortilla section though.
In the past I have not liked the taste of whole wheat tortillas. So I reached for the "carb balance" Mission tortillas, and flipped them over to check out the label. I think I visibly recoiled when I saw the fiber content - I believe the label said each tortilla contained 105% of your daily value of fiber!
Now I'm a huge fan of fiber and getting over 100% is probably not a bad thing - but all in one tortilla?! That just seems unnatural, and I began to wonder how they do it. I had visions of wood pulp and other unappetizing things.
Yeah, right. Wood pulp! HA HA HA! So, I went out a bought a bag of these for $4.19 and guess what I found?
Check this out about five ingredients down the list:
Cellulose powder which is made from WOOD PULP. Yes, Jennifer, you know your food. I found an illuminating article in the Wall Street Journal -Why Wood Pulp Makes Ice Cream Creamier - that contends that cellulose is the same whether it is derived from celery or trees.
Cellulose is an organic compound from the cell wall of plants so you aren't supposed to get squeamish when it is added to your tortillas. Except that I would rather have lettuce on my tortillas that are filled with cellulose and my tortillas not taste like PAPER (which is also made from wood pulp).
Adding wood pulp to the tortillas gives you 11 grams of fiber per serving or a daily value of 44% in each tortilla.
Another thought, does adding wood pulp make them healthier? My opinion is that the less processing and ingredients that you find - the closer it is to the whole food that you want to eat.
After I bought these Woody tortillas, Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value sent me out to buy their new "Organic Whole Wheat Tortillas" ($2.19).
I don't usually write about Whole Foods or Trader Joe's because so many of you don't live near one of these stores. I get a lot of complaints - especially from Canadians when I mention them. Canadians always complain very nicely, though.
But, it was instructive to me that you could buy tortillas that were organic and had a very clean ingredient list for less money than the Mission Low Carb Balance tortillas.
Ingredient List for Whole Foods Tortillas:
organic whole wheat flour, water, organic soybean oil, sea salt, baking powder
And, they have 2 grams of fiber or 9% of your daily value. Add lettuce, beans, brown rice, and you don't need cellulose powder to get your daily value of fiber.
They tasted MUCH better than the chemically tasting paper Mission ones and they are less expensive. Hopefully, you can find a similar product near you.
The Whole Foods product was received for review consideration. No other compensation was provided.
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