Wendyl Nissen: Cracker additives pack in the salt

Instead try plain variety with your choice of healthy toppings.

Everyone loves a rice cracker because they are light and crunchy, low in calories and gluten free. But sometimes it pays to check what is being used to provide the flavour for the crackers.

(in order of greatest quantity first)

Rice flour
This is the main ingredient of rice crackers, which means they are gluten free.

Rice bran oil
This will be used when baking the biscuits. These are baked not fried according to the packaging.

Per 20g packet of about 12 crackers you will get 92mg of sodium which is quite high.

Soy sauce powder
(maltodextrin, salt, soy bean oil)

This is dehydrated soy sauce with the addition of maltodextrin which is a form of sugar.

Ginger powder
This is the spice ginger.

Food acid (330)
The food acid is citric acid which will be used as a flavouring and also a preservative.

Flavour enhancers (627, 631)
These two additives usually form a threesome with MSG, but they have eliminated the MSG from the formula which is great. Instead we have sodium inosinate (627), which is prepared from meat or fish and disodium guanylate (631), which is prepared from yeast extract or sardines and enhances flavours, reducing the amount of salt needed. Asthmatics and gout sufferers are advised to avoid this product.

Antioxidant (307)
This is tocopherol which is a natural fat soluble antioxidant also known as Vitamin E.

Anticaking agent (341)
This is calcium phosphate (341). It is put in the crackers to stop the powdered flavouring from caking together and remains a powder on the biscuit.

My recommendation:
I have nothing against rice crackers, in fact I eat them a lot. But I do have a problem with some of the flavourings used on them. In this case there are flavour enhancers, along with antioxidants and anti-caking agents to keep the flavouring on the cracker and they are quite high in salt at 92mg sodium per 20g serving.

Instead, this producer has a really nice plain brown rice cracker without salt that uses two simple ingredients: brown rice flour and rice bran oil. Buy these and save yourself a heap of additives and, for flavour, add something natural like a smear of Marmite or peanut butter or dip them in cottage cheese.

- NZ Herald

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