Crackers are a popular snack food that many people enjoy as part of a balanced diet. However, some people worry that crackers may be high in carbohydrates. So, do crackers have a lot of carbs?
The short answer
Yes, most types of crackers are high in carbohydrates. A single serving of crackers can contain 15-30 grams of carbohydrates, coming mostly from refined grains like wheat flour. The exact amount varies depending on the type and brand.
Examining the carb content of popular cracker brands
To get a better idea of how many carbs are in different types of crackers, let’s look at some popular brand name options:
|Cracker||Serving Size||Total Carbs (g)|
|Ritz Original||5 crackers (13 g)||17|
|Wheat Thins Original||16 crackers (30 g)||22|
|Triscuit Original||6 crackers (28 g)||24|
|Saltine Crackers||5 crackers (13 g)||15|
As you can see from this comparison, even a small serving of most regular crackers provides 15 or more grams of carbohydrates. So crackers are definitively a high-carb food.
Why crackers are high in carbs
Crackers are made by baking flour and water into a crisp, dry snack. Flour is almost entirely carbohydrates, coming from the starchy endosperm of wheat or other grains. During cooking, the starches in the flour are gelatinized, making them easier to digest. This is why flour-based foods like crackers, breads, and pretzels are high in carbohydrates.
Some examples of high-carb ingredients found in crackers:
- Refined flour – Enriched wheat flour is the main ingredient in most crackers, containing about 75% carbohydrates by weight.
- Whole grains – Whole grain flours like whole wheat contain less carbohydrates than refined flour, but still provide a significant carb load.
- Added sugars – Some crackers contain sugar, corn syrup, honey, or other sweeteners that add to the carb count.
In addition, most cracker recipes include fat and salt for flavor. But essentially, carbohydrates make up the majority of a cracker’s calories and nutrients.
Cracker alternatives for low-carb diets
For people monitoring their carb intake, regular crackers may not be the best option. Here are some lower-carb alternatives:
- Seed crackers – Crackers made from seeds like flax or pumpkin seeds have fewer digestible carbs.
- Nut-based crackers – Brands like Blue Diamond make almond flour crackers with about 5g net carbs per serving.
- Cheese crisps – Baked cheese can provide the crunch of crackers with only 1-2g carbs per serving.
- Veggie crackers – Options made from vegetables or veggie powders are typically lower in carbs.
- Cloud bread – This low-carb bread can be sliced and baked into DIY seed crackers.
Checking the nutrition labels and carb counts is important when choosing a low-carb cracker option. Keep servings small, as even these alternatives add up if overeaten.
Health impacts of too many carbs from crackers
Eating too many crackers and other refined carb foods can negatively impact your health in a few ways:
- Spikes blood sugar – The starch in crackers is quickly broken down into glucose, rapidly raising blood sugar levels.
- Provides empty calories – Crackers supply calories but few essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
- Weight gain – Overconsumption of carbohydrate-rich foods is linked to excess weight and obesity.
- Increased triglycerides – High triglyceride levels are associated with too many refined carbs.
- Constipation – Crackers’ lack of fiber can lead to constipation and digestive issues.
Moderation is key when eating high-carb foods like crackers. Stick to a single serving and balance with protein, fiber, and healthy fats to help manage your blood sugar and hunger levels.
Tips for cutting carbs when eating crackers
If you want to enjoy crackers but reduce your carb load, here are some helpful tips:
- Read labels and count carbs – Being aware of portions and carb counts makes it easier to fit crackers into your diet.
- Choose whole grain – Seek 100% whole grain options and avoid refined flour when possible.
- Increase protein – Pair crackers with a protein source like cheese, peanut butter, or deli meat.
- Watch portions – Stick to the recommended serving size instead of overindulging.
- Substitute vegetables – Swap out crackers for veggie slices or bell pepper scoops.
- Select seed crackers – Try flax, sesame, or nuts crackers for more fiber and protein.
With mindful choices, you can still incorporate crackers into an otherwise low-carb meal plan. Just be sure to keep an eye on your total daily net carb intake when budgeting for crackers.
Crackers are a beloved snack food for many, but most types are high in carbohydrates. A single serving of regular crackers contains 15-30 grams of carbs, primarily coming from refined wheat flour. The simple starches in crackers can spike blood sugar, provide empty calories, and lead to weight gain if overeaten.
People monitoring their carbohydrate intake can choose lower-carb cracker alternatives made from nut flours, seeds, cheese, or vegetables. Portion control and balancing crackers with protein and healthy fats also helps reduce their carb load. While crackers are fine in moderation, it’s best to be mindful of your serving size to keep carb counts in check.