The One Ingredient That Shouldn't Be In The Crackers You're Eating

If you're looking to make healthier choices when it comes to snacks like crackers, you might have to become a nutrition label sleuth. Verywell Fit points out that you need to be especially careful when choosing crackers because they can contain some rather unhealthy ingredients, such as high amounts of sugar and high fructose corn syrup, which according to Healthline, is linked to a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. Another culprit to watch out for is sodium, which can increase blood pressure and raise the risk for heart disease and stroke (per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). 

But lurking among the many ingredients you may find in crackers is another one that you should be wary of, and it involves processed oil — namely oil to which hydrogen has been added. Livestrong reports that the two kinds of hydrogenation are full and partial, and things start getting unhealthy with partial hydrogenation. 

Why you may want to avoid partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil

A commonly-used partially hydrogenated oil is cottonseed oil, and it's found in many processed snacks, including crackers. According to Eating Well, cottonseed oil has three times the amount of saturated fat as canola and safflower oil. Eating too much saturated fat can increase LDL cholesterol, otherwise known as "bad" cholesterol (per Harvard Health Publishing). On top of that, saturated fat is higher in omega-6 than omega-3, which is generally believed to be a factor in chronic inflammation.

As it turns out, it is better to avoid all hydrogenated oils, not just cottonseed oil, because the word "hydrogenated" translates to "trans." If you didn't already know, trans fats increase your risk of developing several health conditions, including heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, trans fat raises LDL cholesterol levels, and it also increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.