Digestive Biscuits Are Great With Chai But Are They Healthy?

Do digestive biscuits come with consequences? Find out what your nutritionist thinks of them.

4 min read
Digestive Biscuits Are Great With Chai But Are They Healthy?

You know what’s better than chai and biscuits? Rains, chai and biscuits.

Few things in life can beat the pleasure of dunking a crisp biscuit into your morning tea. But you know that biscuits have heaps of fat, sugar, maida and any factory processed stuff spells bad news for your waistline.

Enter digestive biscuits.

Rich in dietary fiber, full of bran and whole wheat, provides ‘sustained energy’ – sounds exactly like the stuff your body needs to drop the pounds. Or does it?

Short answer: There are no shortcuts when it comes to health and nutrition. ‘Sustained energy’ is usually a euphemism for ’sugar’.

Long answer: It’s complicated. Digestive biscuits won’t derail you from your weight loss path but it is a misnomer.

Confused? We were too, so we asked two nutritionists to weigh in.

The Good

Believe it or not, the term ‘digestive biscuits’ dates back to 1839 when there was no concept of slick marketing. Two Scottish doctors made these medical biscuits to aid digestion. (Photo: Nikita Mishra/The Quint)

Roughly, all tea biscuits (not the chocolate/cream ones) have the same calories. While digestive biscuits come in the range of 40 to 70 calories per biscuit, a KrackJack has 60, an Oreo (which is cream based) has 70. So if you munch a couple as a mid-day snack, it is not going to sit on your waistline forever, but you’re kidding yourself if you gorge on a pack thinking they’re healthy!

We went through 7 popular brands of digestives sold in India, and none contain trans fats. That’s a great thing!

They are mostly made of wholewheat, bran and other fibers but if you check the ingredients carefully, maida is present in nearly all digestives.

What Your Nutritionist Says

These aren’t something you should incorporate in your daily diet but if you need to dip something in your tea, digestive biscuits help in keeping the sugar cravings at bay.
Indrayani Pawar, Nutritionist
Avoid. Anything loaded with soda, refined flour and sugar is a not-so-good option for your health but if you have room for a few cheat meals, I’ll give you permission to munch on these once in a while. I won’t advise you to regularly snack on them because it isn’t giving you any health benefits.
Huda Shaikh, Nutritionist

The Bad

(Photo: Nikita Mishra/The Quint)

They don’t give you the nutritional bang for your caloric buck.

Contrary to what the ads of Mcvitee, Marie would like you to believe, these biscuits are not ‘light’, ‘healthy’ or nutrition-rich. A lot of digestives will have ‘protein’, ‘iron’ and ‘fiber’ written on their list of ingredients, but it isn’t enough to supplement or replace a healthy diet.

Swap the biscuit with a large apple (at 95 calories) and you’ll make your dietician proud.

Also Read: Diet Secrets: You Are WHEN You Eat

The Ugly

(Photo: Nikita Mishra/The Quint)

I always thought digestive biscuits have a hint of salt. While doing research for this story, I was surprised at their high sodium level. Taking just 4 digestives is the same as (nearly) a bag of potato chips!

Now that’s scary for all the heart patients and people with high blood pressure who mistakenly eat these biscuits thinking they’re a healthier alternative.

They do no good to anyone. Digestive biscuits have no beneficial minerals or vitamins which your body needs in every meal. They are a convenient on-the-go breakfast item but if you can sit down for a plate of poha and milk, you’ll be filling yourself with calcium, vitamins and healthy carbs for the rest of the day.
Indrayani Pawar, Nutritionist

The Verdict

Dodge the biscuits, digestive or not, if you’re watching your weight. (Photo: iStockphoto)

Don’t ever judge a food product by its name.

Also, are you starving? Is nothing healthier, fresher available? Are you so fit that a couple of hundred empty calories can do you no harm?

Cut through the marketing jargon and there isn’t enough substance to convince your nutritionist that these are any better (or worse) than a standard tea-time biscuit. So if you want a biscuit for breakfast, go ahead and pick whatever biscuit you want but don’t kid yourself that one is healthier than the other.

And if you really want to indulge or eat cr*p, then eat some clean cr*p. A bunch of homemade chocolate cookies beats a pack of digestives by miles and it’s not mass produced with creepy chemicals that give it a shelf life.

Also Read: The Fat Trap- Weight Loss Tips That Will Actually Give You Results

(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

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