When 100% Whole Grain Means Nothing

August 2, 2010   30 Comments

Snack Girl's search for healthy crackers never ends. I am always looking for that holy grail of a packaged snack that is also good for you.

Whole Grain vs Original Wheat Thins

Recently, I received a box of Wheat Thins in the mail (hey, companies send me crackers). And, I purchased some at the grocery store.

Also, my pal Hemi over at Fooducate posted this article: Will Kraft Deliver on its Whole Wheat Promise? and guess what? He talked about Wheat Thins!

Kraft put out a press release saying "it will contribute more than 9 billion servings of whole grain to American diets each year". Wow! That is fantastic! More whole grain means more fiber and hopefully better choices for consumers. Is Kraft reading Snack Girl and/or listening to the needs of consumers?

I found the 100% Whole Grain Wheat Thins at my grocery store. I was excited that more nutrition had been packed into what is an "okay" cracker choice (better than Ritz Crackers worse than Doctor Kracker).

Until I read the label!


Bummer. The 100% Whole Grain is on the right because it should be the RIGHT choice. But, if you can read it you can see that there is no increase in fiber per serving. The two are EXACTLY the same.

Shouldn't an increase of 10 grams of whole grain per serving do SOMETHING to the fiber content?

Also, why is there high fructose corn syrup and more sodium in the 100% Whole Grain versus the Original?

They taste exactly the same so I guess they are exactly the same except one has darker blue lettering on the box. Oh well :(

I called Kraft (there is a phone number on the box) to ask them to explain why there is no nutritional difference between these products. They said it would take 7 to 10 business days to research my question.

Kraft, I am waiting for your call.....sitting by the phone....really!!!

Why aren't the 100% whole grain Wheat Thins any different?

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Yup!! Comparing regular Tostitos corn chips to their whole wheat corn chips -- same story!!! But the whole wheat ones had a gram more sugar per serving.


Thanks so much for showing the TRUTH about "100% Whole Grain" labeling. I always read the nutrition labels no matter what the rest of the package says, and have found that we're being misled left and right! This, however is ridiculous. The "100% Whole Grain" version is WORSE in some places? Sheesh!

Just more evidence that we should eat fresh foods most of the time and reserve processed foods for treats. Then it doesn't matter which one you eat.

Why the high-fructose corn syrup, you ask? Well that's easy, it's called tax subsidies for corn growers, it's called Monsanto and Con-Agra, it's called "how many ways can we stuff this genetically-modified diabeetus death syrup, into any and every product imaginable from crackers to batteries to gasoline additives." Cash is king my friends. Food safety is up to you.

If people really want whole grains, the best thing to do is eat them as they are rather than as crackers. If I were going to eat crackers, I'd choose Mary's Gone Crackers or Dr. Kracker, as you mentioned.

The whole grain claim on most labels is misleading. As a Registered Dietitian, I have no qualms saying that.

this is just seriously disappointing and disheartening. :\ It's a bit horrifying to realize that you literally can't trust ANYTHING you see anywhere...*sigh*

I don't see how it is actually possible for the product not to improve in certain nutrients if it is 100 whole grain. If you just look at a side-by-side of refined (white) wheat flour vs whole wheat flour, the whole wheat has a decidedly better nutritional profile. Maybe those nuntrients just aren't the ones listed on the box?!


That is exactly what I am thinking. And that is why I called them because I was hoping they would tell me that the box isn't quantifying the difference between them. Or they are the same crackers in different boxes.

@Austin Personal Trainer - Sadly I agree with you. I am digusted at the food industry.

I think "healthy crackers" is an oxymoron.

Ken Leebow

Glad this seemed odd to you, too. Not that I'm defending food manufacturers--it appears that the sodium did increase, presumably to cover the whole grain taste, but the whole grain benefits should be real!

I had just this conversation about another brand of crackers this past weekend! It's ridiculous. Grr.

Wow! That's ridiculous! I am getting better at reading EVERY label. I got into the habit of not reading labels of food that claim whole grain or whole wheat, but this just goes to show that you can put anything on the box! Thanks for the post!!

I have the Triscuit Thin Crisps and they are better than both of these and only have 3-4 ingredients....none of which is High Fructose Corn Syrup. They have less sodium more protein and NO sugar!

See nutritional info here:…

I love my Triscuits! No sugar, no trans fat, no cholesterol. Only 4 ingredients!!! They pair very nicely with The Laughing Cow wedges. YUM!

You all have nailed it. Marketing at its best. Love how the 1g fat is *nowhere to be found* There's nothing like the whole food. Crackers like WASA & Ryvita are about the best we've found for whole grains lately. The flavor from these definitely comes from what you put on them. They're not as tasty at Wheat Thins but are a nice choice to have.

I hate how they add more sweetness to whole grain products. I LIKE the twigs and sticks taste to whole grain foods, I don't want to taste sugar I want to taste grains!

My son makes a good flatbread with whole grain flour, oats, olive oil and just enough salt to taste. Just pat it out and cook it. It's plain, but it's a cracker, goes great with hummus or cheese!

Two habits we all need to have: 1. Always investigate advertising. 2. Always read the label. If everyone would do this, maybe they would stop all the misleading advertising. Probably not, but they might!

Karen: your son's flatbread sounds like a winner! Can you share the recipe or a link for it?

Grew up reading the labels on packages, so quirks like this come as no surprise here. The addition of HFCS is very strange. Guess they figure that we can't handle the flavor of unaltered grain.

Wow! I appreciate you looking out for these things! I guess this is somehow LEGAL, but it sure seems MORALLY wrong to misrepresent your product so badly!

Have you tried "Ak Mak" crackers? They are 100% whole wheat (nothing else added) and are only about 130 calories for 5 big crackers. I often eat them with cheese or peanut butter on them for a meal. They have a lot of fiber and are super filling. I buy them at Trader Joe's but I imagine they have them at Whole Foods or other grocery stores as well.…

I have made almond flour crackers a few times before - at least those are high protein and no gross HFCS. I've thought that this "so-many-grams-of-whole-grain" push was a bunch of bull - but I didn't compare labels. Doesn't surprise me that I was right! Mary's Gone Crackers, which are gluten-free, are a good store-bought choice. Lower in sodium, and filled with whole grains - quinoa, brown rice, flax, sesame seeds, and a bit of tamari, depending on the flavor. They're great.

Thanks for calling them on this! Total deception and then people "give up" on finding healthy options. Another thing I hate is when low fat items that have tons of extra sugar! Keep up the good work!

I followed a link to this site from the consumerist. Will you be posting an update to this article? My curiosity is piqued beyond the fact that I noticed the exact same issue with Wheat Thins when I was purchasing them for my diabetic mother.


I will post an update if Kraft gives me an answer. I have a tough time getting my questions answered sometimes. Thanks for commenting! Lisa

i second the comment about the Wasa and Ryvita crackers. took me ages to find out about these because they aren't in the cracker aisle but most stores have them. they are great and guilt free!

I knew there was a reason I kept passing those up when I walked down that aisle of the grocery store. I'm very interested to hear their explanation (or excuse). lol.

Just look - both packages have BHT added - that is a petroleum derivative. Neither one of these is a healthy choice. I would be really surprised if Kraft ever makes a healthy choice for consumers.

There's actually a simple explanation (or 2) as to why they both appear to have the same fiber: due to rounding protocol for nutrition labeling (which all packaged products must follow), 1.6 g fiber and 2.4 g fiber will both be rounded to 2.0 grams. Also, the original still has more whole grain than refined grain wheat flour, so fiber will naturally not be insignificant. And finally, a one ounce serving (which is the standard for crackers/snacks set by labeling regulations, not by food companies) is not large enough to allow any significant differences to come through in the data. There is no trickery going on here. They are simply tweaking the product to go after the "100% whole grain" statement. Nevertheless, neither product can make a "healthy" claim, because fat and sodium are too high (they don't meet the FDA criteria).

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