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What’s in This?: Microwavable Super Pretzel

All six ingredients in this Bavarian knockoff explained (yep, even thiamine mononitrate)

Forget Thanksgiving. The most gluttonous day of the year is Super Bowl Sunday, where bowl after bowl and paper plate after paper plate is filled with finger-food bacchanalia that would make even the mad genius responsible for the TGI Friday’s appetizer selection blush (and certainly the ancient Romans). And so, all week leading up to game day, we’ll be offering up our own menu of scientific investigations, origin stories and majestic feats of snacking that not even the biggest sporting event of the year can top. Read all of the stories here.

Whether your Super Bowl party is packed with bystanders who intend to converse loudly throughout the game and then sit silently for the commercials, or whether you plan to go the lone-wolf route of watching the game solo with minimal distractions from pesky friends (Who needs friends? More beer and carbs for you!), it’s always advisable to have standby foods on hand that you can break out as needed whenever comestibles are in short supply. 

To that end, the microwavable Super Pretzel is always ready for chewing in just 30 seconds, meaning your stomach never has to sit in rumbly discomfort for too long before it has its critical carbohydrate fix. But what exactly is lurking within that pasty, tasty pastry? That’s what we’re here to discover before you find yourself trading expeditiousness for expedience. 


Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid): Flour with certain ingredients added back into it, usually comprising the vitamin B complex and iron lost during the preparation process.

Water: Enough water to keep a pretzel moist and steamy after microwaving.

Corn Syrup: Corn syrup is a liquid sweetener made of glucose. The non-high-fructose variety is still sugar of course, but the single gram of sugar contained in the Super Pretzel is no cause for any alarm.

Yeast: The fungus that makes dough rise. It’s no wonder fungi always made Mario grow so rapidly.

Salt: If you eat this thing without the added salt pack, you could technically eat 10 of them and still only reach 50 percent of the recommended daily sodium intake level. Of course, that all changes drastically if you unleash the unfettered fury of the salt pack contained in the Super Prezel’s box. That half a teaspoon of salt will immediately elevate this pretzel to nearly 40 percent of your daily sodium value. This may sound substantial, but you’d easily top that if you consumed just two slices of a Little Caesars pizza

Bicarbonates and Carbonates of Soda: Bicarbonate of soda is another name for baking soda, which is often used as a leavening agent, causing dough to rise and become porous by increasing the surface area. Carbonate of soda (sodium carbonate) is less frequently used in food, because it reacts much more strongly and can be caustic in high amounts. That said, pretzels are one of the few foods that actually benefit from sodium carbonate, which provides them with their distinctive flavor.

The Verdict 

There isn’t much to complain about here. There are no laxatives pulling double duty as food thickeners, nor is there a pile of preservatives to sift through, or a mystery flavoring sheltered by U.S. trade-secret protection. If you want to reach for a Super Bowl snack with confidence knowing that you can identify what you’re ingesting, and you’re only interested in consuming 160 calories per ration, you can do far worse than a microwavable Super Pretzel — or even three.