Are Ritz Crackers Healthy? 8 Things You Should Know

Have you heard that Switzerland banned Ritz Crackers? It’s actually true. And today, I’m digging into the details of Ritz to give you the full story… Not just in terms of Switzerland, but to answer this much bigger question: Are Ritz Crackers healthy?

Ritz Crackers are not the healthiest snack. The first ingredient is processed white flour, and most flavors have 0g of fiber. They also have refined vegetable oils, added sugar, and high fructose corn syrup. Ritz Crackers were also banned in some countries in the past due to containing trans fat.

Below, I’ll take a close look at the ingredients and nutrition facts for Ritz Crackers. I’ll compare them to other popular brands of crackers and chips, and explore whether they’re good for weight loss. I’ll also explain more about why some countries banned them!

Are Ritz Crackers Good for You?

Here are the eight specific questions I’ll be answering about Ritz Crackers. Click any of them to skip ahead to that section—or just keep scrolling to read them all:

  1. What Are Ritz Crackers Made Of?
  2. Are Ritz Crackers High in Sugar?
  3. Are Ritz Crackers High in Fiber?
  4. Are Ritz Crackers High Glycemic?
  5. Are Ritz Crackers High in Sodium?
  6. Are Ritz Crackers Good for Weight Loss?
  7. Are Ritz Crackers Banned in Other Countries?
  8. Are Ritz Healthier Than Chips?

1. What Are Ritz Crackers Made Of?

Let’s start by looking at some actual Ritz ingredients. Do they have any ingredients you should be avoiding? How processed are these crackers, really?

Below are the ingredients for five popular flavors of Ritz Crackers. I’ll share my takeaway points below the table:

Ritz FlavorIngredients
Original Ritz CrackersUnbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate {Vitamin B1}, Riboflavin {Vitamin B2}, Folic Acid) , Vegetable Oil (Soybean And/Or Canola And/Or Palm And/Or Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil), Sugar, Salt, Leavening (Baking Soda And/Or Calcium Phosphate), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Soy Lecithin, Malted Barley Flour, Natural Flavor.
Roasted Vegetable Ritz CrackersUnbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate {Vitamin B1}, Riboflavin {Vitamin B2}, Folic Acid), Canola Oil, Palm Oil, Sugar, Dehydrated Vegetable Blend (Contains Carrots, Onions, Cabbage, Red And Green Bell Peppers), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Salt, Wheat Gluten, Leavening (Baking Soda And/Or Calcium Phosphate), Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Tomato Powder, Soy Lecithin, Spice (Contains Parsley), Lactic Acid.
Hint of Salt Ritz CrackersUnbleached Enriched Flour, (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate {Vitamin B1}, Riboflavin {Vitamin B2}, Folic Acid, Canola Oil, Palm Oil, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Calcium Phosphate, Salt, Potassium Carbonate, Potassium Bicarbonate, Soy Lecithin).
Reduced Fat Ritz CrackersUnbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate {Vitamin B1}, Riboflavin {Vitamin B2}, Folic Acid), Canola Oil, Sugar, Palm Oil, Salt, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Leavening (Calcium Phosphate And/Or Baking Soda), Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor.
Whole Wheat Ritz CrackersUnbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate {Vitamin B1}, Riboflavin {Vitamin B2}, Folic Acid), Whole Grain Wheat Flour, Vegetable Oil (Soybean And/Or Canola And/Or Palm And/Or Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil), Sugar, Leavening (Calcium Phosphate And/Or Baking Soda), Salt, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Soy Lecithin.
Ritz Crackers Ingredients. (source)

Here’s what I notice about these ingredients:

  • Ritz Crackers are made with processed white flour. When you read “unbleached enriched flour,” it may sound good. But notice what is missing from that name—”whole” or “whole grain.” This is processed flour, which is low in fiber, typically high glycemic, and generally not great for health.
  • Ritz Crackers have processed vegetable oil. The exact oil varies between products, but canola oil and palm oil are most common in Ritz. These are highly processed oils that add empty calories, and palm oil also adds a little saturated fat to these crackers. There’s also been controversy about possible trans fat in Ritz. See below for more on that.
  • Ritz Crackers have added sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Even the “Whole Wheat” flavor has these added sweeteners. These give you extra calories without many nutrients. They also raise the glycemic index and potentially spike your blood sugar. More on those topics below.
  • Roasted Vegetable Ritz do have real vegetable ingredients. Obviously, the amount of vegetable you get in these crackers is not very much. After all, they come after oil and sugar in the ingredients list. But it’s something.
  • Whole Wheat Ritz do have some whole grain flour. That said, it’s not the first ingredient. The processed flour comes first, then whole grain flour is second. The result is that this “Whole Wheat” cracker is actually pretty low in fiber. See below for more on that.

Overall, the ingredients for Ritz Crackers are not looking great. The top ingredients in many flavors are processed flour, oil, and sugar.

That said, it’s not just the list of ingredients that matter. The quantity of each ingredient also matters. So let’s look at the actual amount of sugar, fiber, and other nutrients in Ritz Crackers next.

2. Are Ritz Crackers High in Sugar?

Ritz Crackers are not very high in sugar. Most flavors, including the Original flavor, have only 1 gram of sugar per serving of five crackers. Whole Wheat Ritz Crackers have slightly more sugar, with 2 grams per serving of five crackers.

Here’s a table showing the sugar content for the exact Ritz flavors I checked:

Ritz FlavorSugar (Per 5 crackers / 16g)
Original Ritz Crackers1g
Roasted Vegetable Ritz Crackers1g
Hint of Salt Ritz Crackers1g
Reduced Fat Ritz Crackers1g
Whole Wheat Ritz Crackers2g
Ritz Crackers Sugar Content. (source)

Interestingly, the Whole Wheat flavor has the most sugar. Many people would think of “Whole Wheat” as a flavor that might have less sugar. But apparently it’s the opposite with Ritz.

Related Question:

  • Do Ritz Crackers Have High Fructose Corn Syrup? Ritz Crackers do have high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), but not much. There is only about 1 gram of total sugars per serving of most Ritz flavors. And not all of that sugar is HFCS, either. There is also plain “Sugar” listed above HFCS in the ingredients list.
  • Can You Eat Ritz Crackers on Keto? Ritz Crackers are not low carb or keto-friendly. The Ritz Original flavor has 10 grams of carbs per serving (five crackers). About half of the calories come from carbs.

3. Are Ritz Crackers High in Fiber?

Ritz Crackers are quite low in fiber. Most flavors, including the Original flavor, have 0g of fiber per serving. Whole Wheat Ritz Crackers have 1g of fiber per serving. But that is still only 1/3 of the fiber found in each serving of Wheat Thins or Triscuits.

Why are Ritz Crackers so low in fiber? It has to do with the kind of flour they use. The main ingredient in Ritz crackers—even in the “Whole Wheat” flavor—is “unbleached enriched flour.” This is a processed flour, which has had much of its fiber removed.

Some other cracker brands, like Wheat Thins, actually use whole grain wheat as the main ingredient. So there ‘s a bit more fiber in those. However, to be fair, the “serving size” for those crackers is also a bit bigger. So it’s hard to compare them accurately.

Here is a table showing the fiber content of Ritz Crackers, with comparison to Wheat Thins and Triscuits:

Ritz FlavorServing SizeFiber
Original Ritz Crackers5 crackers / 16g0g
Roasted Vegetable Ritz Crackers5 crackers / 16g0g
Hint of Salt Ritz Crackers5 crackers / 16g0g
Reduced Fat Ritz Crackers5 crackers / 16g0g
Whole Wheat Ritz Crackers5 crackers / 16g1g
For Comparison: Wheat Thins Original16 crackers / 31g3g
For Comparison: Triscuit Original6 crackers / 28g3g
Ritz Crackers Fiber Content. (source)

In my opinion, this is one of the bigger failings of Ritz Crackers. Most people don’t eat enough fiber, and it’s a big key to improving your nutrition. But if you’re on a low-fiber diet for any specific reason, then I suppose it could be a plus.

4. Are Ritz Crackers High Glycemic?

Classic ad for Ritz Crackers. 1941.

I was unable to find any peer-reviewed research on the glycemic index of Ritz Crackers. I found one site that listed their GI score as 70 (high), but they didn’t cite any sources.

Crackers without fiber are generally considered high-glycemic foods. And most flavors of Ritz Crackers don’t have any significant amount of fiber (as covered above). Therefore, we can probably safely assume that Ritz Crackers are a high-glycemic food.

At the very least, I would advise to take caution with Ritz Crackers if blood-sugar control is important to you.

Most flavors of Ritz are made with white flour, they contain added sugar, and they don’t have much fiber at all. Generally speaking, that’s a recipe for a high-GI food.

5. Are Ritz Crackers High in Sodium?

Ritz Crackers Original have a moderate amount of sodium, with 105mg per serving (5 crackers). That’s about the same as a handful (1 oz) of Planters Cocktail Peanuts. For a low-sodium Ritz cracker, choose Hint of Salt Ritz Crackers, with only 25mg of sodium per serving of 5 crackers.

Here’s a full table showing the sodium in five popular Ritz flavors:

Ritz FlavorSodium (Per 5 crackers / 16g)
Original Ritz Crackers105mg
Roasted Vegetable Ritz Crackers150mg
Hint of Salt Ritz Crackers25mg
Reduced Fat Ritz Crackers115mg
Whole Wheat Ritz Crackers120mg
Ritz Crackers Sodium Content. (source)

As you can see, they are all pretty similar, with the exception of the Roasted Vegetable flavor being a bit higher, and the Hint of Salt flavor being very low in sodium.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting your sodium intake to 2,300mg per day. But they are “moving toward an ideal limit” of 1,500mg per day. (source)

6. Are Ritz Crackers Good for Weight Loss?

Ritz Crackers are not the most optimal food for weight loss. This is because they contain processed, high-calorie ingredients such as canola oil, palm oil, and refined sugar. However, Ritz can still be eaten in moderation on a weight loss diet.

One of the most important principles for weight loss is calorie density. Foods with a low calorie density fill up your stomach more with fewer calories. This makes it easier to eat fewer calories and still be satisfied. And that can help you with weight loss. (source)

The foods with the lowest calorie density are non-starchy vegetables, including greens. Other foods with low calorie density include fruits, beans, whole grains, and most whole plant foods in general.

Some of the foods with the highest calorie density are refined oils. And refined sugars and flours have high calorie density, too. These foods are concentrated sources of calories, as much of the fiber and bulk have been removed in processing.

Since Ritz Crackers have ingredients with a high calorie density—canola oil, palm oil, sugar, and more—there is a risk that you will overeat Ritz without feeling fully satisfied. Compare that to green vegetables, where there is no real risk of overeating on calories—even if you stuff yourself.

Another thing to consider is the relative lack of fiber in Ritz Crackers. Other snacks could help fill you up with more fiber and likely keep you better satisfied on a weight loss diet.

As covered above, Ritz Crackers likely rank high on the glycemic index, meaning that their carbs are quick to digest. Foods with more fiber and lower GI scores could help you to stay full longer, without needing to keep eating more throughout the day.

But by itself, a few servings of Ritz Crackers will not ruin your weight loss diet. Weight loss depends on your overall diet and lifestyle.

If you’re burning more calories than you’re eating each day/week, you should lose weight. Eating some Ritz or other “processed foods” on occasion will not automatically ruin your diet as long as that larger pattern remains in tact.

For more help with weight loss, check out this post with 18 tips for weight loss without counting calories.

7. Are Ritz Crackers Banned in Other Countries?

Are Ritz Crackers banned in Switzerland?

According to Stacker.com, Ritz Crackers are banned in several European countries, such as Switzerland, Hungary, Iceland, Austria, Denmark, and Norway.

The reason why Ritz crackers were banned in parts of Europe is because they contained partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, which added a small amount of trans fat to the crackers. However, this may be out-of-date news.

Trans fat is commonly regarded as the most dangerous kind of fat, increasing the risk for heart disease and other problems. And when you see “partially hydrogenated” oils in foods, these are often sources of trans fat.

Even when the food label says 0g trans fat, as it does with Ritz Crackers, there can still be a small amount of trans fat present. (If the total amount is less than 0.5g per serving, the food label is legally allowed to say 0g.) (source)

However, I want to add this note: Ritz’s recipe may have already changed in this regard.

Back in 2015, the FDA determined that partially hydrogenated oils are no longer Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for human consumption. Since then, all food manufacturers in the US were ordered to remove these oils from their products.

The final compliance date for this transition was January 1, 2020. Therefore, logically speaking, there should no longer be any partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil in Ritz Crackers. If there is, I think they’d be in trouble with the FDA.

As of November 2021, the Ritz website still lists partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil as a possible ingredient for certain flavors.

That said, if you check the ingredients list on the Ritz box at your store, you may just see canola oil and palm oil listed instead. In that case, you shouldn’t have to worry about trans fat in your Ritz.

The possible trans fat in Ritz Crackers would specifically be coming from the “partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil.” So if you don’t see that in the ingredients list, you should be fine.

8. Are Ritz Healthier Than Chips?

Ritz Crackers seem to have lower sodium content than most chips. Otherwise, they do not seem to be significantly healthier than popular chip brands like Lays, Fritos, Tostitos, and Doritos.

Here is a table showing some nutrition facts for Ritz Crackers compared to popular chip brands. You’ll notice that in many areas, Ritz looks pretty similar to the chips:

Ritz FlavorServing SizeSat. FatSodiumSugarFiber
Ritz Crackers Original5 crackers (16g)1g105mg1g0g
Lays Classic15 chips (28g)1.5g170mg<1g1g
Fritos Original32 chips (28g)1.5g170mg0g1g
Tostitos Scoops13 chips (28g)1g120mg0g2g
Doritos Nacho Cheese12 chips (28g)1g210mg1g1g
Are Ritz Crackers Healthier Than Chips?

When it comes to sodium, Ritz seem to be a bit better. But when it comes to fiber, they appear to be worse. So overall, I would not say that Ritz Crackers are notably better or worse than chips. Neither are particularly healthy foods.

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