According to the American Heart Association, February is American Heart Month, a time to raise awareness about healthy living. To help get us started, the people behind Dr. Kracker have some tips on finding the best whole grains. They should know, their crackers are probably the heartiest I have ever come across (a good thing in my opinion), and they have five varieties that are dairy-free: Cherry Semolina, Hummus Maximus, Klassic 3 Seed, Seeded Spelt, and Seedlander.
Take it away Dr. Kracker …
According to the American Heart Association, Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) claims the life of an
American every 37 seconds, making it the #1 cause of death in the U.S. The statistics are so devastating
and almost apocalyptic that if CVD were nonexistent, the average life expectancy of every American
would increase by seven years. That’s four years longer than if all forms of cancer were eradicated.
Since the introduction of highly processed, packaged foods 75 years ago, America has suffered the
consequences in the form of obesity, diabetes and CVD. And with most packaged foods containing
hydrogenated fats, too much sodium and refined fours and sugars, it’s no wonder the country has
suffered from devastating health problems.
It’s common knowledge that fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains keep hearts and bodies
healthy. Unfortunately, finding wholesome and great tasting whole grain foods these days isn’t as easy as
picking up an apple or a bunch of carrots. Rather, nutrient-poor products, including breads and crackers,
hide behind mislabeled packages, touting now ubiquitous terms like “added fiber” and “multigrain” hoping
to lure in the health-conscious consumer. In reality, these foods may contain some wheat, some seeds,
but little nutritional value.
That’s why Doctor Kracker, a company dedicated to making the highest quality whole grain crackers and
flatbreads, has created an easy to follow checklist to keep your heart and your taste buds happy. Next
time you go through the aisles, print this out and take it with you to help you make healthy and delicious
For deliciously easy ways to incorporate whole grains into your diet, visit www.drkracker.com.
1. Look at the first three ingredients
What you should look for: If you are buying a product that claims to be whole wheat or grain, ensure
that the first ingredient listed is “whole wheat” or “whole grain” and that sugar is not in the top few.
Ingredients are listed in order of predominance. Highly processed white flours go under the alias of
‘enriched’ and ‘wheat’ flour. They are no better than their bleached brothers. Look for the “Whole Grains
Stamp” on products for an easy way to find the best in whole grain foods.
What you should know: Foods that tout being ‘wheat’ or ‘grain’ often contain more processed
ingredients than not. For example, Kashi 7-grain crackers contain more ‘wheat’ (white) flour than whole
What can it do: A study published by the U.S. Department of Health found if one group of people ate
1,200 calories worth of sugar and refined product, and another ate the same amount of calories worth of
fruits, vegetables and whole grains, group #1 would gain weight and have a higher threat of disease. Group #2 would not.
Doctor Kracker contains whole grains and organically grown seeds .
2. Scan for fat sources: Hydrogenated Oils
What is it? Hydrogenated oils are essential fatty acids that are chemically converted into a more stable
source of fat. By forcing hydrogen into oil at high pressure, the original unsaturated fats are converted into
trans fats, which have been linked to CVD.
What can they do? When hydrogenated oils are digested, they cause inflammation inside of the body,
signaling the deposition of cholesterol to artery walls. That means clogged arteries heart disease.
What are they in? Hydrogenated oils, used as an inexpensive source of fat, can be found in many
cookies, crackers, and breads.
How can I avoid them? Look at the ingredients. Ensure that there are no trans fats, hydrogenated or
partially hydrogenated oils listed. Note that companies are allowed to label a product as “trans-fat free”
despite some trace (1%) in the ingredient list. Even this small amount can be harmful. Choose fats from
sources such as: olive oil, canola oil, trans fat-free margarines, nuts and seeds.
Doctor Kracker contains zero hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. Rather they contain hearthealthy
Omega-3 fatty acids from organic seeds that help cardiovascular health and improve brain
3. Locate sugar source:
What are sugars? Anything that ends in “OSE” is a form of sugar. Fructose, glucose, dextrose and
sucrose are all sugar sources. But despite being similar in calories, these sugars differ in how they are
metabolized by the body. Many crackers and breads add unnecessary sugars to improve shelf life and
mask other flavors. If the food isn’t supposed to be sweet, make sure it doesn’t contain wasted calories in
the form of sugar.
What’s all the talk about High Fructose Corn Syrup? There’s a lot of debate regarding fructose and
glucose. Studies show that fructose is metabolized only by the liver, versus glucose, which is metabolized
in a number of ways. When the liver is unable to process fructose, it turns it into fats that are harmful for
your heart and arteries. Fructose, unlike other sugars does not stimulate insulin, leptin or ghrelin
production- all of which help indicate to your brain that you are full. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a
modified fructose, made to be sweeter and cheaper, and because of this, is present in a majority of
packaged foods. As a general rule, it’s best to avoid these types of sugars.
How much sugar is too much? A good rule of thumb is the higher in sugar and carbohydrates and
lower in fiber, the worse it is.