This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
Baked goods are generally not good for weight loss but there are exceptions. Find out whether pretzels are helpful for losing weight.
The first thing to note is that pretzels come in different sizes and recipes. Later in the article, you will see a comparison of a few of these.
However, the main focus of the article will be an example of hard whole-grain pretzels (1).
These contain a good amount of fiber, a few vitamins and minerals in nice amounts, and a bit of protein but they are very high in calories too.
Pretzels will help you feel a bit fuller but not that much compared to all the energy they add to your diet.
While there are worse food options too, it is fair to say that pretzels will generally not be that good for weight loss. Especially not the ones with refined flour.
This article will also go over the exact nutrition information, how pretzels compare to other snacks, what the least fattening pretzels are, and more.
Calories in pretzels
The total number of calories in pretzels is not the only thing that matters but it does play a role in losing weight. As mentioned, different pretzel recipes can vary in nutrients like calories.
That being said, one example of a hard whole-wheat pretzel contains around 362 calories per 100 grams.
This is a relatively high number of calories compared to many whole foods.
There are baked goods that are higher in calories than pretzels too but this does not change that you get a lot of energy from a small amount of food.
301 of the calories above come from carbohydrates (81.2 g per 100 grams of which 7.7 g fiber).
That means pretzels are not suited for low-carb diets like the keto diet.
What sources these calories in pretzels come from still matter but they contain relatively high amounts. This is generally not helpful when trying to lose weight.
Micronutrients in pretzels
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in pretzels.
Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.
100 grams of this kind of hard pretzels provides you with approximately (1):
- Manganese: 133% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Niacin: 33% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 17% of the DV
- Iron: 15% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 14% of the DV
- Folate: 14% of the DV
- Copper: 14% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 12% of the DV
- Potassium: 12% of the DV
- Vitamin B5: 8% of the DV
- Sodium: 8% of the DV
And some other vitamins and minerals in less significant amounts. That’s a decent amount of vitamins and minerals. Often more vitamins and minerals are welcome for most people.
That being said you have to keep in mind that too much manganese can cause negative side effects (2). This is more of a worry with people that take manganese supplements but if your diet is already very high in grain products the extra manganese from pretzels might not be welcome.
The vitamin and mineral values will vary a lot between different kinds of pretzels. Some pretzels contain a relatively high amount of sodium. Depending on the rest of your diet this may not be welcome.
Fiber in pretzels for weight loss
Another very important factor for weight loss is the amount of fiber in your food.
This kind of pretzels contain around 7.7 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
That’s a good amount of fiber per 100 grams compared to many foods.
Fiber has multiple benefits for weight loss. First of all, it feeds your microbiome, the microbes that live in your intestines. The health of your microbiome influences your body’s health and weight. Feeding it well is usually not a bad idea.
Fiber also helps you feel less hungry without adding a lot of calories to your diet. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.
With the amount of fiber in this kind of pretzels you can reduce the time you spend craving for food a lot.
Protein in pretzels for weight loss
Another thing in food that can help you on your weight loss journey is the amount of protein in it.
This kind of pretzels contain about 11.1 grams of protein per 100 grams. To compare, salmon contains around 25.4 grams per 100 grams (3).
Protein is considered to be the most filling of the 3 macronutrients. Eating enough protein will also help you prevent muscle loss. Muscle helps you burn extra calories throughout the day which is very good for weight loss. Protein calories also take your body more calories to process than calories from carbs and fats.
The amount of protein in pretzels is decent compared to a lot of foods. That being said, if you need a lot of protein in a small volume of food there are better options.
Do pretzels make you lose or gain weight?
Pretzels are relatively high in calories, contain a good amount of fiber, provide you with a nice amount of protein, and contain a variety of vitamins and minerals in nice amounts.
You will likely feel a nice amount fuller after eating whole-wheat pretzels but you are still consuming a high number of calories too.
This makes it fair to say that pretzels will generally be bad for weight loss. Especially the ones with refined flour instead of whole wheat.
To see fat loss results you want to choose some of the more weight-loss-friendly foods available.
At the same time, it is worth mentioning that there are worse foods too.
Replacing something like candy with pretzels could be a positive change that benefits your weight loss.
Additionally, eating a pretzel every once in a while will likely not be the end of your weight loss journey. If you really like the taste of them, small amounts could help you stay consistent with your diet.
What are the healthiest pretzels to eat?
There are a few choices you can make when it comes to pretzels. Some are healthier and better for weight loss than others.
First of all you have the difference between whole wheat and regular pretzels. In this example comparison the whole wheat hard pretzels have 7.7 grams of fiber vs the 3 grams of fiber in the plain hard pretzels (4). For weight loss that’s a big difference.
Then you can compare the plain hard pretzels vs a plain soft pretzel. The soft pretzel will have even less fiber, 1.7 grams per 100 grams (5).
If you look at these nutritional value examples it looks like hard multigrain pretzels are the healthiest and best for weight loss. In the end, you will have to look at individual brand differences and the rest of your diet and lifestyle to make a good conclusion.
|Values Per 100g||Hard Whole-Wheat||Hard Plain||Soft Plain||Soft Multigrain|
|Calories||362 calories||378 calories||338 calories||332 calories|
|Fiber||7.7 g||3 g||1.7 g||3.7 g|
|Protein||11.1 g||10.3 g||8.2 g||8.6 g|
Pretzels vs other foods for weight loss
You now know how good pretzels are for weight loss but how do they compare to certain other foods? Find out how good pretzels are for weight loss vs popcorn, chips, crackers, and bagels.
Pretzels vs popcorn
Popcorn is another popular snack. Popcorn is corn heated until it pops. If you’re only looking at calories, plain popcorn contains slightly more calories. Pretzels contain around 362 calories per 100 grams vs the 382 calories per 100 grams of popcorn (7).
Whole-wheat pretzels contain around 7.7 grams of fiber per 100 grams, popcorn 15.1 grams. The protein content of these foods is similar, 11.1 grams per 100 grams in pretzels and 12 grams per 100 grams in popcorn. Finally, popcorn contains slightly more vitamins and minerals in total.
Based on these numbers plain popcorn will be better than pretzels for weight loss.
Pretzels vs potato chips
Potato chips are another popular comparison. Potato chips are a lot higher in calories per 100 grams, 559 calories per 100 grams (8).
The amount of fiber is a lot different too. Potato chips have about 3.1 grams of fiber per 100 grams vs the 7.7 grams of whole-wheat pretzels. Potato chips contain about 4.5 grams of protein per 100 grams, so a lot lower than pretzels. In terms of the amount of vitamins and minerals, pretzels and potato chips are similar.
The huge differences in some of the most important nutrients for weight loss makes it so pretzels are better for weight loss than potato chips.
Pretzels vs crackers
Next there is pretzels vs crackers. In this comparison saltine crackers will be the example. Saltine crackers are higher in calories than pretzels, 417 calories per 100 grams vs the 362 calories per 100 grams of pretzels (9).
Saltine crackers contain 0 grams of fiber per 100 grams. A lot lower than the 7.7 grams of fiber per 100 grams in whole-wheat pretzels. Saltine crackers contain about 16.7 grams of protein per 100 grams. Pretzels contain a lot more vitamins and minerals.
Whole-wheat pretzels will be a lot better for weight loss than saltine crackers.
Pretzels vs bagels
Multigrain bagels contain 4.1 grams of fiber so a decent amount lower than whole-grain pretzels. In terms of protein they are very similar, the bagels contain 10.2 grams per 100 grams. Pretzels and bagels also have similar amounts of vitamins and minerals.
All in all, it is hard to say whether pretzels or bagels will be better for weight loss. Bagels are lower in calories but also lower in the important nutrient fiber.
Chart of pretzels vs other foods
There are some interesting differences in nutritional content that matter when it comes to weight loss.
The amount of vitamins and minerals in the foods does matter for weight loss and health but you can’t simplify that in one number. You can check out the numbers for pretzels (1), popcorn (7), potato chips (8), saltine crackers (9), and bagels (10) to compare.
|Values Per 100g||Pretzels||Popcorn||Chips||Crackers||Bagels|
|Calories||362 calories||382 calories||559 calories||417 calories||250 calories|
|Fiber||7.7 g||15.1 g||3.1 g||0 g||4.1 g|
|Protein||11.1 g||12.0 g||4.5 g||16.7 g||10.2 g|