Biscuits are a convenient food that is easy to grab and keep munching on. Biscuits are mostly not baked at home, and people purchase them from stores. However, before purchasing, it is essential to check the biscuits’ type, nutritional facts, packaging, etc.
Biscuits: An Introduction
A biscuit is a popular quick bread-like snack and is usually called a bakery product. It is a baked food that contains flour, sugar, and fats. Fresh-baked biscuits, refrigerated biscuit dough, and dry biscuit mix are readily available at the grocery store. There are several varieties of biscuits, such as glucose biscuits, digestive biscuits, creamy sandwich biscuits, chocolate-coated biscuits, rusks, and cookies, and they also come in different flavours nowadays.
People tend to consume a lot of biscuits, but they should know whether biscuits are healthy to consume and what nutritional components they include. Biscuits can contribute to various health benefits if made with safe and nutritious ingredients, providing calcium, fibre, protein, and iron. However, biscuits can also harm your health due to some of their ingredients.
Popular Types of Biscuits
The biscuit variations vary greatly depending on the ingredients, flavours and texture. Let’s get to know the many types of biscuits:
Wafers are flat-textured cookie biscuits that are crisp, soft, thin, and light. They originated in Italy and Austria. These dry biscuits are available in various flavours, from vanilla to chocolate, and sometimes with a cream-filled inside layer.
Ginger cookies are a classic English treat and snack. As the name implies, the biscuits have powdered ginger and additional baking components such as flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. These biscuits have a hard texture but melt on the tongue and have a lovely unsweetened flavour. They’re a crispy and perfect snack to munch with tea or coffee.
Digestive biscuits are unsweetened or semi-sweet biscuits that can be a part of a healthy diet. These fibre-rich biscuits keep you satiated for extended periods. Unlike white flour or processed components, these use whole grains.
Most cookies are dry, thick, crunchy, and dense, given the texture. Cookies are varieties of bakery biscuits that can have a variety of tastes and fillings. They are satisfying as a snack and are best eaten alone or with beverages like tea.
Arrowroot biscuits are a nutritious and delicious snack for people searching for flour-free alternatives to cookies and biscuits. These biscuits include arrowroot flour to give them a unique and rich taste, vitamins, and other macronutrients. These are ideal snacks to pair with tea or coffee.
Bourbon biscuits originated in the United Kingdom. They are dry, crispy, and flavorful, with a chocolate cream filling making them an excellent snack of the day.
The famous Indian biscuits, known as Karachi or Osmania biscuits, are thick, flat, round-shaped cookies for nighttime snacking. They are rich in flavour and taste, with a mildly sweet and salty delicacy that goes well with tea and coffee.
Macaroons, an Americanised form of French biscuits, are another well-known biscuit variation that is getting popular. These coconut-flavoured biscuits have a gentle, sweet flavour and are dry and light biscuits that come in circular form. The crispy outside and soft interior biscuits are best served as desserts or side dishes with other snacks during the evening and supper hours.
Rusks are hard, dry biscuits or twice-baked bread that people sometimes use as a teether for newborns. Cake Rusk is a rusk made with cake rather than bread that is popular in some cultures.
Nutritional Properties of Biscuits
Biscuits have varied nutritional profiles depending on their type and ingredients. However, the USDA provides this nutrition value for one hundred grams of digestive biscuits.
- Energy: 500 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 66.67 g
- Iron: 2.4 mg
- Protein: 6.67 g
- Sugar: 16.67 g
- Fibre: 6.67 g
- Saturated Fatty acid: 13.33 g
- Sodium: 667 mg
These nutritional values are an indication of digestive biscuits’ nutritional profile. However, it varies on the manufacturing brand and the ingredients. But, the nutrients in biscuits usually involve calories, carbohydrates, fibre, sugar, fats and sodium.
The HealthifyMe Note
Not all biscuits have the same amount of these properties as mentioned earlier. Nutritional properties in biscuits can range from calories to iron, depending on the origin and variety of biscuits you consume. For example, 100g of whole wheat Marie biscuit does not contain any amount of calcium and iron. However, 100g of buttermilk biscuit contains 2.9 mg of iron and 235 mg of calcium.
Potential Benefits of Eating Biscuits
Biscuits are always considered a junk snack that everyone seems to eat any time of the day. However, if made with healthy ingredients, it can deliver some health benefits also. So, let’s check them out.
Instant Source of Energy
Biscuits are full of nutrients your body requires to generate energy, particularly in the morning. These components frequently contain complex carbs that are gradually released and keep you feeling fuller for longer. In addition, they have whole grains, fibre, and protein, which are necessary for energy production. Some of the biscuits may also have B vitamins, which play a crucial function in releasing energy.
Can be a Good Source of Fibre
Usually, biscuits may not be high in fibre. However, different kinds of biscuits made with specific ingredients can be fibrous. For example, biscuits made with whole grains can be rich in fibre and provide health benefits. According to USDA nutrition standards, one 30-gram digestive biscuit has 150 calories, 20 g of carbs, and 2 g of fibre. Although the calories are high, they can provide about 7-8% of your total fibre requirement. It is because wheat bran, the outer part of the wheat grain, provides the fibre in the biscuit.
Studies show fibre-rich foods help avoid constipation, reduce cholesterol, and aid weight management. However, most biscuits have added sugar. So, they are not the most beneficial form of fibre.
Enriched with Vitamins and Minerals
Choosing whole-wheat biscuits instead of white-flour biscuits provides needed minerals. Though whole grains include many critical elements, you may fall short of achieving your daily vitamin and mineral requirements if you exclude refined grains manufactured from enriched flour.
Including refined grains manufactured with enriched flour, such as biscuits, in your diet helps you fulfil your daily vitamin and mineral requirements. In addition to boosting energy, research suggests that these vitamins and minerals act as antioxidants for the immune system, good skin, and hair.
Easy Digestible Option
Fibre is an essential food with several health advantages. When recuperating from stomach surgery or having a burst of digestive problems, a healthcare physician may advise you to follow a low-fibre diet for some time. Low-fibre foods are easy to digest. When eating a low-fibre diet, search for bread and grains with fewer than 2 grams of fibre per serving, such as biscuits.
Biscuits with Fruits and Berries are High in Antioxidants
Not all biscuits contain antioxidants. However, ginger cookies and biscuits with berries can have some amount of antioxidants. Ginger also contains antioxidants in foods such as garlic, coffee, and green tea. These nutrients aid in eliminating free radicals, which cause cell damage and an increased risk of illness.
Antioxidants include vitamin C and E, selenium, and carotenoids like beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Research has shown that antioxidants are synthetic or natural chemicals that can prevent or postpone some forms of cell damage. As a result, eating ginger cookies can impart some of these health benefits.
According to studies, ginger cookies can help with nausea and motion sickness. Ginger is an ancient herb used for many natural therapeutic purposes throughout history, most notably as an antiemetic. The best current information indicates that ginger is a safe and effective therapy for nausea and vomiting.
Possible Side Effects of Eating Biscuits
Now that we have mentioned the potential benefits of eating biscuits, let’s look at how they can harm your digestive and immune systems.
Usage of Palm Oil
Palm oil is one of the most common ingredients that biscuit manufacturers use. It is fat-based, and regular use may elevate some risk factors for cardiovascular disease. It is inexpensive and one of the most harmful oils to consume. Palm oil also reduces antioxidant ability, increasing your risk of heart disease.
High in Sodium
According to the Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH), ordinary sweet biscuits contain 0.4g of salt per 25g bag. It is no secret that excess salt intake can raise the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart failure if ingested in excess. Excess salt consumption also causes water retention, which causes bloating, puffiness, and weight gain.
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are in store-bought biscuits and cookies. According to studies, they are both harmful to human blood. In addition, sodium Benzoate is also present in some biscuits related to some forms of DNA damage.
Biscuit recipes vary and may include wheat, dairy, or eggs, which are frequent dietary allergies. If you have food allergies, carefully check the recipe or the food label on your boxed biscuit mix or refrigerated biscuit dough. You may also seek biscuit recipes that exclude the allergen, such as gluten-free biscuits for people with a wheat allergy, celiac disease, or gluten sensitivity.
Storage and Food Safety
You can store fresh-baked biscuits in the cupboard for up to 18 days. Biscuits have a low moisture content, extending their shelf life. Refrigerated biscuit dough should be used before expiration, although you can store boxed biscuit mix in the cupboard for up to 9 months. Always check the packet for the expiration date.
Eating biscuits is a ritual for many people. It may have some nutritional gains ranging from being a good source of fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, calories, and energy. The nutrition mostly depends on the ingredients used. For example, if it is a ginger biscuit, you can get the benefits of antioxidants. However, most biscuits consist of palm oil, all-purpose flour, and preservatives which can increase the risk of heart diseases, high blood sugar, bloating, weight gain, allergies, etc. Eat a moderate level of zero added sugar protein-infused biscuits to stay healthy, and keep the biscuits in a safe container to control the moisture level.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. How much nutrition is in a biscuit?
A. The nutrition in biscuits varies depending on the ingredients used. However, biscuits contain common nutrients: calories, carbohydrates, fibre and sodium.
Q. Is a biscuit healthy?
A. Typical biscuits have many side effects from high usage of palm oil, sodium, and preservatives. However, some biscuits, such as ginger and digestive biscuits, have some benefits. Biscuits are a healthier alternative to a snack with a cup of tea or coffee when consumed in moderation. However, they have hidden calories in sugar, salt, bad fats, and refined wheat. They’re also high in salt to extend shelf life and meet market demand.
Q. What are the health benefits of biscuits?
A. The most significant benefit of eating biscuits is the instant energy they provide due to their high-calorie content. However, biscuits can have some health benefits, including a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals, anti-inflammatory components, and a good amount of calories. In addition, ginger biscuits can help reduce nausea and vomiting, and as they are high in antioxidants, they can help have good skin, hair, and nails.
Q. Are biscuits high in carbs?
A. Biscuits have a high amount of carbohydrates. It is primarily due to their ingredients. However, the carbohydrate content may differ for different varieties. But, in general, almost all biscuits have high carbohydrate content. Carbohydrates are the body’s primary energy source, fueling your brain, kidneys, heart muscles, and central nervous system. Fibre, for example, is a carbohydrate that promotes digestion, makes you feel full, and helps keep blood cholesterol levels in balance. Carbohydrates provide numerous advantages when consumed in moderation.
Q. Is biscuits good for weight loss?
A. Low-carb cookies can help you stay in shape and not gain weight. Though people say digestive biscuits are healthier and more effective in weight loss, they are not. Digestive biscuits do not provide enough benefits. Other biscuits, such as breakfast biscuits, can give instant energy while helping manage weight.
Q. Are biscuits junk food?
A. Sweet beverages, sweets, chocolates, sweet snacks, chips and crisps, crunchy snack foods, biscuits, cakes, most fast meals, jam, and honey are junk food. For example, biscuits are junk because they have unprocessed fat and highly processed carbohydrates which are not suitable for health. In addition, they are also made with palm oil and contain various preservatives in most cases. Hence, in general, biscuits are junk food.
Q. Will biscuits make me fat?
A. Biscuits have moderate to high sugar content and serve as empty calories. So, when consumed in large quantities, it can harm you and lead to obesity, diabetes, etc. Therefore, biscuits can make you fat if you eat them unconsciously.
Q. Can I eat biscuits every day?
A. Most biscuits are made of refined flour. Refined flour or maida is unhealthy because it quickly releases sugar into the circulation, causing an insulin surge. In the long run, this can contribute to insulin resistance and diabetes. There is an ongoing discussion about how many biscuits a person can consume, and a credible source has proposed no conclusion.
Q. What are the disadvantages of eating biscuits?
A. There are several disadvantages of eating biscuits. First, as palm oil is cheap, it is widely used in most biscuits and creates a risk for cardiovascular disease. It can also cause bloating, puffiness, and weight gain due to the high amount of sodium. Finally, biscuits are also high in calories and carbohydrates and do not significantly provide essential nutrients.
Q. Are digestive biscuits sugar-free?
A. Though many digestive biscuits claim they are sugar-free, they are not. You can choose to have sugar-free digestive biscuits available in the stores. But while buying them, check the nutrition facts, and if they have zero added sugar, then only buy them.
Q. Are biscuits good for protein?
A. Some biscuits can be a good source of protein due to the inclusion of protein-rich foods like eggs, milk, cereals, and nuts. Protein can aid weight loss and provide other benefits.
Q. What type of carbohydrate is a biscuit?
A. Carbs are classified into starchy (complex) carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates (sugar). Sugar is a common ingredient in sweeter meals such as cakes, cookies, puddings, and liquids. Hence, biscuits are simple carbohydrates.