The 9 Unhealthiest Store-Bought Tortillas And Wraps

tortilla stack on wood table
tortilla stack on wood table - Ahanov Michael/Shutterstock

Are you making a wrap and trying to keep it healthy? It's possible to do this if you consider all the ingredients carefully, including those found in store-bought tortillas or wraps. To make it easier, we're here to tell you exactly which wraps and tortillas to avoid when grocery shopping.

We all have different ideas of what's nutritious. But for the sake of this article, we'll consider healthy foods to be those that are as close to nature as possible. You won't find tortillas and wraps growing in the wild, but that doesn't mean the ingredient list can't be simple and wholesome -- some products of this kind can contain just corn and water. As such, we consider unhealthy tortillas and wraps to be those with a questionable amount of ingredients, which is usually a sign of food being heavily processed. We also kept our eyes out for products with added sugar, as well as additives or chemicals proven to have negative side effects.

So if you're trying to eat healthy, pay attention to those nutrition labels. After all, what's the point of cooking at home and choosing tasty, nutritious fillings, only to wrap them in sugary or chemical-laden carbohydrates? Before you head to your local grocer, read on to learn about the nine unhealthiest store-bought tortillas and wraps.

Read more: 5 Rice Brands To Buy, And 5 To Avoid

Toufayan Bakeries Garlic Pesto Wraps

Toufayan Garlic Pesto Wraps
Toufayan Garlic Pesto Wraps - Toufayan Bakeries

Brands love to emphasize their positive attributes, and Toufayan Bakeries is no exception. The company's Garlic Pesto Wrap is touted as having zero trans fat and cholesterol. That being said, these wraps still have a laundry list of dough conditioners, gums, and preservatives. And with a list that long, you're bound to find some not-so-wholesome ingredients.

On this nutrition label, we discovered the sulfite sodium metabisulfite, which is used as a food additive. This is cause for concern, as a Clinical and Experimental Allergy review from 2009 found that sulfites caused an array of negative effects, from abdominal pain to chronic skin and respiratory issues. Eating one of two wraps might not cause an immediate reaction. However, with the amount of sulfites in processed foods in general, exposure to these harmful chemicals adds up. And since like many highly processed foods, Toufayan Bakeries' wraps are easy to find -- you can buy them on Amazon or at Walmart -- you could be consuming these wraps a little too often. However, if you're trying to be healthier, try making homemade tortillas instead -- sans the sulfites, of course.

Mission Foods Gluten Free Original Tortilla Wraps

Mission Foods gluten free tortillas
Mission Foods gluten free tortillas - Mission Foods

If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you might have your eye on Mission Foods' Gluten Free Original Tortilla Wraps. While these wraps are indeed gluten-free, not all its ingredients pass our bill of health. One ingredient, in particular, stood out to us: interesterified (and hydrogenated) soybean oil.

You're probably wondering: what is interesterified oil and why is it unhealthy? Per a 2007 abstract published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, interesterified fats have become a popular replacement for trans fats. They are made by chemically combining hard, saturated fats with liquid oils. That sounds okay on the surface, but according to a Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry study published in 2018, interesterified soybean oil contributed to weight gain, dysregulated blood sugar, and liver stress -- a trifecta of modern health issues.

Another ingredient in these tortilla wraps is pea protein, which is becoming increasingly popular as a vegan protein source. Unfortunately, CBC News reported that Dr. Elana Lavine, a pediatric allergist, has witnessed several patients experience allergies or other adverse reactions to pea protein. Lavine told the outlet of pea protein: "It concentrates the protein from a large number of peas into a small amount." This means that, if someone has a sensitivity to peas, this concentration will only create a stronger allergic reaction.

Guerrero Caseras Burrito Flour Tortillas

Guerrero caseras flour tortillas
Guerrero caseras flour tortillas - Guerrero

Just like tortillas on the grill, the Guerrero brand is about to get some heat. This well-known brand is found everywhere from mainstream grocery stores to mom-and-pop shops. It offers several varieties, but the one in question is Caseras Burrito Flour Tortillas. Caseras translates to "homemade" in English, which may make you think that these tortillas are cooked in someone's kitchen with the most basic ingredients. Unfortunately, that's not the case here. Aside from the bleached flour, gums, and additives, these tortillas contain vegetable shortening made from a mixture of interesterified and hydrogenated soybean oils. We've detailed the dangers of interesterified oils above. But the term "hydrogenated" isn't great to hear either.

A 2021 study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition linked the consumption of hydrogenated vegetable oils to a higher risk of heart attack. The study couldn't say the same for other fats consumed, like olive oil, ghee, or animal fats. So if you're trying to be healthy, stick to less processed options.

Mission Foods Sweet Hawaiian Flour Tortillas

mission sweet hawaiian tortilla package
mission sweet hawaiian tortilla package - Mission Foods / Facebook

Another Mission Foods offender is the brand's Sweet Hawaiian Flour Tortillas. We can't lie, the idea of wrapping these tortillas around some pulled pork, caramelized onions, and honey barbecue sauce sounds delicious. However, part of what makes our mouths water is the sweetness of it all, and unfortunately, these tortillas are made with more sugar than average.

One serving (two tortillas) contains 5 grams of sugar, as well as 140 calories and 26 grams of carbohydrates. That might not sound like a ton of sugar on its own, but considering the standard American diet, these numbers add up quickly, especially if you're combining these tortillas with sweet ingredients like Nutella, peanut butter, or jelly.

We've all been warned about the dangers of too much sugar, one of which is that this can lead to metabolic disorders. But is there science to back this up? Well, a 2015 review published in Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences examined several studies on the topic. The research found that sugar contributes to cardiovascular diseases, as well as weight and fat gain, which can indirectly lead to type 2 diabetes. Keeping that metabolism strong and healthy means watching your sugar intake, which can be tricky, seeing how sugar-laden our grocery store shelves are. Although Mission Foods products can be found on just about any of them, you should avoid products like the brand's Sweet Hawaiian Flour Tortillas.

Toufayan Bakeries Keto Wraps

Toufayan Keto wraps
Toufayan Keto wraps - Toufayan Bakeries

Are you avoiding carbs but craving a burrito? Toufayan has you covered with the brand's Keto Wraps, which have zero net carbs. For those unfamiliar with "net carbs," this is a term that refers to the carbohydrates absorbed by the body. However, if it's overall health you're after, there are some things to know. Toufayan's Keto Wraps have three phosphate additives.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, healthy levels of phosphorus keep our skeletal system strong, but getting too much (especially in the form of phosphate additives like the ones found in these wraps) can do the opposite, by pulling calcium out of bones. The foundation also notes that we absorb 100% of phosphorus in phosphate additives. So, if you're eating lots of processed foods like Toufayan's wraps, you might be getting more phosphorus than you realize.

Additionally, a Deutsches ÄRzteblatt International review from 2012 looked at several studies on the topic and concluded that phosphate additives are damaging to health. The researchers reported that phosphates can cause vascular damage and accelerate aging, and recommended a labeling requirement with foods for phosphate additives. Toufayan's wraps don't come with such a label, so consider this your warning about their phosphate content.

Great Value Soft Taco Flour Tortillas

great value flour tortillas
great value flour tortillas - Walmart

Walmart's signature brand, Great Value, is aptly named. Unfortunately, although it's easy on the wallet, it's not so easy on the body. These Great Value Soft Taco Flour Tortillas contain vegetable shortening, sugar, additives, and preservatives like calcium propionate. This particular chemical extends the shelf-life of food by preventing the growth of microorganisms -- but that benefit comes at a price. A clinical trial published in the Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health in 2002 showed that calcium propionate caused irritability, restlessness, inattention, and sleep disturbance in children.

Even McDonald's removed the artificial additive calcium propionate from its burger buns in 2018. Perhaps the company was influenced by similar scientific studies, or maybe they were simply trying to market to health-conscious consumers. Regardless of the reason, we hope more mega-corporations like Walmart follow suit. Until then, we recommend opting for healthier tortillas without potentially harmful ingredients like these. If you're worried about tortillas without stabilizing additives like calcium propionate going moldy, just pop your tortillas in the fridge to keep them fresh longer.

La Banderita Ricas Flour Tortillas

La Banderita Flour Tortillas
La Banderita Flour Tortillas - La Banderita

La Banderita advertises that its Soft Taco Flour Tortillas are free of bleached flour, cholesterol, and hydrogenated oils. But what the company doesn't advertise is that these tortillas come with many preservatives and dough conditioners. And when you see hard-to-pronounce chemicals on an ingredient list, it's usually not a good sign. So, when we stumbled upon sodium metabisulphite on the nutrition label, we decided to dig deeper. This chemical is used to help the dough stay soft, fluffy, and fresh, which are all undoubtedly good things when it comes to baking. However, we also uncovered a 2012 article published in Gastroenterology and Hepatology From Bed to Bench that highlighted adverse reactions from this preservative, ranging from skin and stomach issues to full-blown allergic reactions.

Ole Mexican Foods, the parent company of La Banderita, uses sodium metabisulphite as a dough conditioner for many of its flour-based products. However, the brand's corn tortillas have a much shorter ingredient list with fewer chemicals and zero sulfites. La Banderita is a big name in the tortilla game, and its products can be found across major retailers. To avoid unhealthy additives, we'd opt for the brand's corn tortillas over flour.

La Tortilla Factory Carb Cutting Zero Net Carb Flour Tortillas

La Tortilla Zero Carb tortillas
La Tortilla Zero Carb tortillas - La Tortilla Factory

La Tortilla Factory's Carb Cutting Tortillas have a long list of ingredients, one being sucralose, an ingredient you don't commonly see in tortillas or wraps. Sucralose is an artificial sweetener, and if you've ever had Splenda, you know what sucralose tastes like. It adds that sweet touch without calories, but it's also raised some concerns in health circles. Studies are conflicting, but one randomized controlled trial from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition linked sucralose to decreased insulin sensitivity. Another 2020 study published in Nutrition Journal showed that chronic consumption of sucralose negatively affected the glucose and insulin response of healthy adults.

Studies aside, it seems unnecessary for savory tortillas to contain sucralose at all. But as a society, it seems we've been conditioned to expect sweetness from all our foods. That hyper-palatable flavor keeps us coming back for more. As one of the leading tortilla suppliers in the United States, La Tortilla Factory has its share of return customers and the company's Carb Cutting Tortillas are widely available. But if health is your top priority, go for La Tortilla Factory's organic corn tortillas instead.

Tumaro's Carb Wise Premium White Wraps

Tumaro's premium white wraps
Tumaro's premium white wraps - Tumaro's

Tumaro's Carb Wise Wraps come in many varieties, from Whole Wheat to Premium White. The company also has some fun flavors including Honey Wheat, Sriracha Chili, Sundried Tomato Basil, and Everything Bagel. Regardless of which type you choose, each tortilla is about 40 grams and ranges from 60 to 70 calories with roughly 5 net carbs. But another commonality across flavors is that they have ingredient lists rivaling CVS receipts. And to top it off, one of those ingredients is soy flour, a controversial food in health communities.

Soy flour comes from soybeans, which have been a hot topic of debate, especially because of how they're grown. The Food and Drug Administration reports that over 90% of soy grown in the U.S. is genetically modified. Studies on genetically modified foods have had conflicting reports. However, a thorough 2022 review published in Environmental Sciences Europe concluded that reactions to genetically modified foods included fertility issues, tumors or cancer, decreased learning ability, and organ abnormalities. The review noted that most of the studies on these foods have been completed on animals, and we need more information on their effect on humans. Until then, we'd rather be safe than sorry.

To make matters worse, glyphosate is used in over 50% of soy crops. Since the World Health Organization classifies this herbicide as "probably carcinogenic to humans," we'd think twice before consuming soy products, including soy flour. Instead, try embracing soy-free products like traditional corn tortillas.

Read the original article on Daily Meal