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Hot Pockets: A Hot Mess. How Bad Can They Be?

3/15/17

I used to eat Hot Pockets quite a bit when I was younger.  Back then, I did not care about the many unnatural ingredients in them. Well, now I do care. 

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Recently, I decided to look at the ingredients in some of the products at the grocery store. I came across Ham and Cheddar Hot Pockets. The box says “Good Source of PROTEIN”, “100% Real Cheese”, and “No Artificial Flavors”. How bad could they be? It turns out pretty bad. There are about 50 total ingredients! I was so amazed by this laughable list of ingredients that I had to right this article just so I could share the list with you. Are you ready? Here we go: 

enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine moninitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, fully cooked ham and water product, 25% of weight is added ingredients, ground and formed, natural smoke flavor added (cured with water, sugar, salt, sodium phosphate, dehydrated pork broth, potassium chloride, carrageenan, natural smoke flavor, sodium erthorbate, sodium nitrate), reduced fat cheddar cheese (pasteurized part skim milk, skim milk, modified food starch*, cultures, salt, flavors*, potassium chloride*, annatto, vitamin a palmitate, enzymes, *ingredients not in regular cheddar cheese), pastry margarine (partially hydrogenated soybean oil, palm oil, water, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, sugar, mono and diglycerides, soybean lecithin, potassium sorbate and citric acids (preservatives), annatto/turmeric [color], vitamin a palmitate), 2% or less of modified food starch, creamer (coconut oil, corn syrup solids, sodium caseinate [milk], mono and diglycerides, dipotassium phosphate, soy lecithin), salt, maltodextrin, sugar, palm oil, fractioned palm oil, soybean oil, bread crumbs (bleached wheat flour, dextrose, yeast, salt), enriched flour (wheat flour [niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid]), bleached enriched wheat flour (wheat flour, amylase, ascorbic acid, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), seasoning (cheddar/blue cheeses [milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes] whey, salt, dextrose, dried onion, natural flavor, soybean oil, garlic powder, citric acid, lactic acid, spice, extractives of paprika and annatto), calcium sulfate, yeast, cheese sauce powder (cheddar cheese [milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes], butter [cream, salt], natural flavor, buttermilk powder, disodium phosphate, extractives of annatto and paprika), soy lecithin, potassium chloride, whey, lactic acid blend (lactic acid, calcium lactate), color added, cultured whey (cultured whey, maltodextrin), whey protein concentrate, dried garlic, l-cysteine hydrochloride, enzymes, tricalcium phosphate, soy flour, seasoning (maltodextrin, modified cornstarch, natural butter flavor [contains milk]), egg white, citric acid. Contains: milk, soy, wheat, egg ingredients.

Side note - It took me 25 minutes to copy the ingredients from the box.

Here are four of the worst ingredients:

  • Enriched Flour: The body breaks down enriched flour faster than whole grains, which can raise blood sugar quickly.  An excess of blood sugar will turn into fat.
  • Carrageenan:  Carrageenan causes inflammation.  Inflammation is a root cause for serious medical conditions, such as heart disease, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, and cancer.
  • Sodium Nitrate: The salt in sodium nitrate can increase your risk of heart disease by damaging blood vessels around your heart causing them to harden and narrow.  Consuming large amounts of sodium nitrate puts you at risk of developing stomach cancer and Type 2 diabetes. 
  • Partially Hydrogenated Oil (PHO): PHOs contain Trans fat.  Trans fat lowers HDL cholesterol (“good cholesterol”) and raises LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”) which can increase your risk of heart disease.
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On the Hot Pockets website, in the Frequently Asked Questions section, the first question is “When were HOT POCKETS brand sandwiches launched into retail stores?”  The answer provided is “HOT POCKET sandwiches were introduced in 1983. You’re welcome.”  Nestle, the maker of Hot Pockets, would like you to thank them for making available to you this "food like product" that contains at least 50 ingredients, four of which are known to adversly affect your health.  How about Nestle stop making Hot Pockets immediately and then we can thank them.  In the meantime, do yourself a favor and never eat Hot Pockets, EVER.

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