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Ask Dr. Gourmet



Why would this sticker be on my Kraft mac and cheese?

Would you know why this sticker might have been put on the Mac n cheese box to cover some important information? I've only noticed it once I brought it home.

Dr. Gourmet Says...

a box of Kraft mac and cheese with a hand removing a sticker over the sodium, calories, and other information on the front of the box

I am not exactly sure but I suspect it is to keep you from knowing just how bad Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is for you.

This front of the box type labeling is a feature that many have been advocating for, but industry organizations have repeatedly blocked regulations calling for their requirement (certainly some companies are doing it voluntarily). It seems pretty simple why they might want to block having consumers know that they are putting an outrageous amount of salt and sugar in their products. It seems likely that the sticker was placed there to help make you feel good about your purchase.

Note that while this says each serving contains 570 milligrams of sodium, this is unprepared. The recipe calls for you to add milk and margarine (margarine is something you should never use). With the margarine it increases the amount of sodium to 720 milligrams according to the Kraft website. That is for a one cup serving, however, and I suppose that some people might eat just one cup, but I also believe that's rare and this box realistically serves two, making that realistic serving more along the lines of 1,080 milligrams of sodium, 525 calories and 1/3 of the fat you need for the day.

As far as the claim that the product is not artificial, here's the ingredient list:

Enriched macaroni product (wheat flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate [iron], thiamin mononitrate [vitamin b1], riboflavin [vitamin b2], folic acid), cheese sauce mix (whey, milkfat, milk protein concentrate, salt, sodium tripolyphosphate, contains less than 2% of citric acid, lactic acid, sodium phosphate, calcium phosphate, with paprika, turmeric, and annatto added for color, enzymes, cheese culture).

I suppose that none of these are artificial in the strictest of terms, but they are still not strictly natural flavors or preservatives.

You are much better off making your own Mac & Cheese. Here are some great recipes:
Creamy Mac and Cheese
Quick Cheeseburger Mac
Salmon Mac and Cheese
Bacon Cheeseburger Mac
Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese
Pimento Mac and Cheese

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet