The food industry is redefining itself with an increasing number of people joining the health revolution. But not everything sold to you under the pretext of health is always what they say it is. The food items you buy from the local stores still have the nutritional value written at the back of the pack. Most of you might have never paid attention to it had it not been the health industry insisting on teaching you how to calculate your calorie intake.
Although digestive biscuits were invented in the 19th century, they have grown into a trend in recent years due to this very health revolution. In 1893, two Scottish doctors decided to create biscuits that would help people in their digestion processes. Thus, digestive biscuits came into existence.
The question of digestive biscuits’ health benefits will be attempted to answer in this article. But you must first understand more about digestive biscuits and its ingredients before arriving at the main query at hand.
So, What Exactly Are Digestive Biscuits?
As mentioned earlier, digestive biscuits were created in Scotland to aid digestion. The biscuits contained sodium bicarbonate or baking soda, which is known for alkaline properties. Baking soda is believed to relieve people suffering from indigestion. The digestive biscuits were initially made using coarse brown bread as the base. By 1892, the British food company McVitie’s started manufacturing digestive biscuits using wholemeal wheat flour.
Digestive biscuits are considered healthy because instead of wheat flour (white flour, whole wheat flour is used. The calorie count for two such biscuits is roughly 150 cal. It has 20 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of sugar, 4.6 grams of fat, 2 grams of protein, 1 gram of fiber, and 160 milligrams of sodium. Due to its sugar content, these biscuits actually come under the semi-sweet category.
But do they really aid digestion? While some people believe that the sodium bicarbonate factor does aid digestion, other research suggests that the oven’s heat alters its properties. So, let’s have a closer look at the ingredients in a digestive biscuit to give us a clearer picture of its health benefits.
What Are The Ingredients In A Digestive Biscuit?
Yes! A standard digestive biscuit today contains about 50% flour. Flour or white flour is made from processed wheat and does not have the same nutritional value as whole wheat flour. You must be aware that flour contains a high quantity of gluten. So, if you are trying to watch your weight, then eating these biscuits may not be your best option.
- Whole Wheat Flour
Whole Wheat Flour is produced from grinding whole wheat grain. It is high in fiber and has more nutrition than white flour. It is known to help lower blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation. This ingredient adds to the health value of the digestive biscuits, but it makes up for less than 20% of it.
- Added Sugar
Added sugar, natural sweeteners, and sugar syrup are all variations used in digestive biscuits, so they are termed as semi-sweet. Sugar is a significant factor in weight gain, and it contains very little to nil nutritional value. Additionally, if you are diabetic, then digestive biscuits are a big ‘No,’ ‘No,’ considering their sugar factor.
- Vegetable Oil
Vegetable oil, such as Palm oil, adds to the fat content in the digestive biscuits. Some companies also use butter instead of vegetable oil. If you are watching your calorie count, your ideal fat intake per day should be around 22-24 grams. Two digestive biscuits contain roughly 4.6 grams of fat. So, ensure that you are within your limits while consuming digestive biscuits.
- Raising Agents
When it comes to baked goods, most contain a raising agent. In the case of digestive biscuits raising agents such as sodium bicarbonate, ammonium bicarbonate, tartaric acid, and malic acid. Digestive biscuits got their name due to sodium bicarbonate. Still, these ingredients are, in fact, used in measured quantities as they can alter the taste of the biscuits. They may have certain health benefits as discussed earlier, but overall, they do not have great nutritional value.
Salt may not seem like such a threat, but it can lead to an increase in your daily intake of sodium. This hidden ingredient in digestive biscuits can cause bloating in some cases too. If you already suffer from high blood pressure, then it would be wise to avoid these biscuits.
Healthy Or Unhealthy?
Regular biscuits pretty much contain the same ingredients as a digestive biscuit. The only difference is that the flour content is reduced and balanced with whole wheat flour. But that does not mean it is in any way healthier than regular biscuits. It still contains hidden sugar, salt, fat, etc. Besides, they also have gluten content even though they are promoted as wheat biscuits and not flour biscuits.
If you are watching your weight and consider digestive biscuits a more suitable option, then you need to reconsider. These biscuits may be less sugary than your regular biscuits, but they are not sugar-free and definitely add to your calories.
Apart from the empty calories, these biscuits also have fat content. If your digestive biscuits have lower unsaturated fats such as grapeseed oil, or olive oil, they can be considered healthy. Unsaturated fats don’t add to your weight and, in some cases, can actually aid in weight loss. However, palm oil or butter has high saturated fat that will not only add to your weight problems but can also cause gastrointestinal problems.
Some research states that 4 digestive biscuits can contain as much salt as that of a pack of potato chips. Salt is necessary for your body, but excess salt can cause more problems than health benefits. If you are consuming digestive biscuits every day, you might be eating more sodium than you realize. Sodium is a cause of several heart-related problems. So, if you are addicted to digestive biscuits, then remember to cut down on salt in other food items that you consume in a day.
Digestive biscuits generally do not have any fiber, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. They lack nutritional value. If your digestive biscuit packet suggests otherwise, then maybe take a closer look at the ingredients to reconfirm this. As for the health benefits of digestive biscuits, they are not as healthy as you would have expected them to be. But in comparison to regular biscuits, they can be considered a less sugary option.
The large-scale manufactured digestive biscuits may not really help you with digestion as they were meant to do. In any case, avoid giving digestive biscuits to your kids. If you suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart-related problems, then digestive biscuits are definitely not for you.
There is no harm in moderate consumption of digestive biscuits, but don’t eat them thinking they are healthy or that they can help you lose weight. They will satisfy your taste buds without a doubt but also add to your daily calories. There are healthier alternatives to biscuits such as fox nuts (lotus seeds), biscuits which contain finger millet, or a handful of nuts. So, health is on your mind, then skip the biscuits and try these instead.