Why You Should Never Buy Soft Pretzels At The Food Court

While there are aspects of the pre-pandemic life that we're all desperately missing by now, one that might not seem all that enticing is the old-school shopping mall experience. That is, until you remember the scent of those buttery, salty, soft pretzels wafting through the food court, beckoning you in. If you're missing soft pretzels, you can at least take comfort in the knowledge that your body definitely isn't. Here are just a few reasons why soft pretzels, like those found at Auntie Anne's, are one of the worst food court choices you could be making.

For one thing, the typical soft pretzel contains about three times the number of calories of a single serving size of hard pretzels, but that's not even the tip of the iceberg (via Healthline). If you're like most people, a plain pretzel isn't what you're going to pick from behind that acrylic display case, and all those extras only add calories, fat, and sugar. For example, a cinnamon sugar pretzel contains 470 calories, which is 130 more than the plain version. Then, each dipping sauce will add an additional 45 to 170 calories on top. But calories aren't the only reason to steer clear of the soft pretzel stand.

More reasons to avoid soft pretzels

There's a reason that many diets limit carbs, and it's not just to make us miserable. It's because high-glycemic foods like white bread, pasta, and, yes, soft pretzels are rapidly digested by the body and turned into sugar, which in turn causes the blood sugar to spike (via Harvard School of Public Health). As a result, the pancreas pumps out insulin to regulate the blood sugar. Over time, a diet high in refined carbohydrates can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and overall weight gain. But it's not just the carbohydrates in those buttery soft pretzels that should concern you. 

While you might have guessed that each of Auntie Anne's pretzels is individually brushed with butter, you might not realize just how much salt they contain (via HuffPost). According to FDA guidelines, adults should aim to stay under 2,300 mg of salt per day, but even the lowest calorie pretzel sold by Auntie Anne's (the jalapeño pretzel without butter) contains about half of that amount of salt in what most of us would consider a simple snack (via Eat This, Not That!). Too much salt, even in healthy individuals, can cause high blood pressure, giving you just another reason to resist the lure of soft pretzels (via National Library of Medicine). Keep these things in mind the next time "let's go to the mall" gets stuck in your head ... or try replacing it with the new quarantine edition (via YouTube).