It's almost treasonous to research the contents of the Hawkins Cheezie in Canada but here it goes. I know that most people don't eat cheezies for their nutritional value and definitely don't bother to read the ingredients. I think it's important for someone to turn the bag over and go through the ingredients to see if this will make you rethink your snack choices.
Firstly, the serving size is totally unrealistic. A 210 gram bag apparently contains just over 4 servings / 50 grams or 3/4 cup cheezies. Have you ever even tried to measure Hawkins Cheezies? It's not like measuring rice or water. So measuring cheezies in cups is just silly. It's also 270 calories for this 50 gram serving. However, I don't worry about the calories, I worry about the lack of nutrition in the ingredients. There is no benefit to them. Also, some of these ingredients are scary.
Corn Meal - If not stated, this is GMO corn. Basically, GMO means that the corn is genetically modified to be 'Round Up' ready. The corn plant won't suffer from the use of pesticides. But you will. Glyphosate has been linked to numerous health problems in animal studies, among them birth defects, reproductive damage, cancer and endocrine disruption. GMO foods are also linked to allergies and antibiotic resistance.
Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil - Is used to increase the shelf life of the product. Trans Fatty Acids have been associated with an increased risk of: cardiovascular disease, immune dysfunction, increased total cholesterol, and decreased 'good' HDL cholesterol.
Processed Aged Cheddar Cheese Seasoning - I can't find any information on this ingredient. I've checked the product's website along with a google search. Either it means extra salt or by far much worse 'seasoning' means MSG. I can't in good conscience claim this product contains either but if you are interested in the dangers of MSG check out befoodsmart.com or google MSG induced obesity in mice.
Lactic Acid - Is good for you. Rated an 'A' by befoodsmart.com. If it is coming from fermented GMO corn however, it can cause allergies.
Disodium Phosphate - used as a buffer to adjust acidity, emulsifier with cheese and sequestrant in evaporated milk products. Can cause mild skin and mucus membrane irritation. Rated a 'C' by befoodsmart.com.
Salt - in one serving of cheezies, you get 440mg of sodium. The RDA of sodium is 2300 mg in healthy adults. People who are sensitive to sodium should only consume 1500 mg of sodium per day. People sensitive to sodium include adults over 50, those diagnosed with hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
Certified Colour (Contains Tartrazine) - The FDA requires that tartrazine aka yellow no.5 be listed in the ingredients as some people are very sensitive to it. It is derived from coal tar. Befoodsmart.com rates it a 'D'. The EU requires this warning on products containing tartrazine: 'It may have a adverse effect of the activity and attention in children.' Possible health effects include: serious allergic reactions can occur in those with sensitivities to aspirin. Along with: asthma, hives, headache skin rash.
I don't mean to demonize this product exclusively. Heaven knows I've enjoyed several bags of this product without a thought. It's the inherent dangers in all junk food that is a concern. By shedding light on each product individually, I hope to fuel you with resolve to bypass the snack aisle in the supermarket entirely.
Every Canadian male I know loves the Hawkins Cheezie. If this article doesn't convince him to choose a healthier snack, quietly up his life insurance policy. If his reason for eating these cheezies is patriotic duty, break the bad news and tell him that they were actually invented in the U.S. If he doesn't believe you, check out their website.
The Late Night Siren Song of the Natcho Chip - posted under Holistic Health, December 4, 2016.
Death By Cookie: The Danger of Hydogenated and Modified Oils - posted under Holistic Health, Sept. 24, 2016.
Shelley Stonebrook, 4 Potential Health Risks of Eating GMO Foods, www.care2.com, March 9, 2013
Anthony Isaac Palacios, What is the RDA of Sodium?, Livestrong.com, July 1, 2011.
I am a registered holistic nutritionist, open-minded vegan and cooking enthusiast.