Digestive biscuits are becoming popular as a part of a healthy diet and are gaining the attention of many health enthusiasts. As these contain a decent amount of fiber, many people claim that digestive biscuits can improve digestion. They are also said to manage blood sugar levels. But are digestive biscuits healthy enough to be a part of your diet? Can they be used as a healthy substitute for regular biscuits? Know the answer to your queries, nutrition facts, possible negative effects of digestive biscuits here. Scroll down.
What Are Digestive Biscuits?
Digestive biscuits are semi-sweet biscuits with a crumbled texture. They are available in many variations. They are fast becoming popular as a replacement for several unhealthy snacks. Most digestive biscuit brands on the market tend to advertise their high fiber content, given the nutrient’s role in promoting digestive (and overall) health. Addition of fiber to regular foods does have positive effects (1). But is that the case with digestive biscuits too?
To understand better, let us first explore the ingredients in digestive biscuits.
Ingredients In Digestive Biscuits
Most digestive biscuits contain the following nutrients:
Coarse Brown Wheat Flour: It gives the biscuit a distinctive texture and flavor.
Sugar: It is used in the granulated form to impart a sweet flavor. It also gives a tender texture to the biscuit.
Vegetable Oil: It keeps the biscuits moist and prevents them from breaking.
Wholemeal: It is used as a source of fiber.
Malt Extract: It improves the crispness, texture, and taste of the biscuit.
Raising Agents: These are used to create a fluffy crumb in the biscuits. Most biscuits use sodium bicarbonate as a raising agent.
Salt: It is used to enhance the taste.
Few other biscuit variants may also contain oatmeal dried whey, cultured skimmed milk, and powdered nuts.
Following is the nutritional composition of digestive biscuits in general:
Nutritional Values Of Digestive Biscuits (Per 100 Grams)
Energy: 478 calories
Carbohydrates: 62 grams
Fat: 21 grams
Protein: 7 grams
Dietary Fiber: 3 grams
Sugar: 16 grams
Sodium: 500 mg
Do these nutrients offer any health benefits? Keep reading to know more.
Benefits Of Digestive Biscuits
When consumed in moderation, a digestive biscuit may be a better alternative to regular biscuits or cookies. Here are its benefits:
May Curb Hunger Pangs: Many digestive biscuits are rich in fiber. Fiber helps reduce hunger pangs (2). However, the link between regular consumption of digestive biscuits and reduced hunger is unclear.
May Aid Digestion: The fiber in these biscuits helps absorb water and softens stools. It also promotes digestion and may relieve constipation (3). However, more information is warranted in this regard.
May Aid Weight Loss: Fiber may keep the stomach full for long. This may increase satiety and regulate food intake, and potentially aid weight loss (4). However, the fiber in digestive cookies cannot be an alternative to natural fiber sources.
These benefits may make you feel that digestive biscuits can be consumed guilt-free. But are they healthy if consumed regularly?
Are Digestive Biscuits Healthy?
Digestive biscuits contain fiber that has many positive benefits for overall health. Also, they are made of whole wheat flour, which is way better than white or processed flour. These biscuits also contain fewer calories than regular cookies.
But other ingredients like vegetable oils, malt extract, and raising agents outweigh these benefits. They may do more harm if you consume all the biscuits in one go. Vegetable oil when cooked produces trans fats. You should avoid trans fats because they are harmful to your health. It is difficult for most people to digest wheat flour, and it may increase inflammation when combined with sugar.
Hence, moderation is advised. You should also check how many of these biscuits fit into your daily calorie budget. Consuming too many of these digestive biscuits can also pose certain risks.
Risks Of Digestive Biscuits
Anecdotal evidence suggests that over-intake of digestive biscuits may pose the following risks:
The malt extract may cause flatulence if consumed in excess.
Vegetable oil may induce cough when taken in excess.
Raising agents may cause nausea and vomiting in a few.
Hence, moderation is highly advised if you want to reap the benefits of digestive biscuits.
Digestive biscuits may not deliver on all of their lofty promises, but they can be a superior alternative to a traditional cookie to stave off hunger cravings. Their high fiber content may provide certain benefits like reduced cravings, improved digestion, and potential weight loss. However, if consumed in excess, certain ingredients in these biscuits like malt extract, raising agents, and vegetable oils may cause certain side effects such as flatulence, nausea, and cough. Therefore, you should consume digestive biscuits in moderation, just as you might do with regular cookies.