Food & Nutrition

Are McVitie’s Digestives healthy? We take a close look at this classic British biscuit

Published by Finn Hayden

We Brits love our biscuits, and most of us can't enjoy a cup of tea without one.

Biscuits don’t get any more iconic than a Mcvities Digestive - the distinctive sweet but salty taste has made them a firm favourite for years, and it’s not uncommon for a British home to have at least a few packets of these biscuits in the cupboard.

There’s no denying that Mcvities digestives are tasty, but are they healthy? The name certainly makes them sound like something healthy, much to the confusion of many foreigners. We wanted to take a close look at these biscuits to see how healthy they actually are, let’s get into it:

What are McVitie's Digestives made from?

Ask most people what a McVitie's biscuit such as a Hobnob is made from and they’d probably be able to tell you that they’re made from oats, but we’d imagine that people would have a harder time telling you what the digestive biscuits from the brand are made from. They're actually 70% wheat and wholemeal, which is quite impressive. They're also free from artificial colours or flavours and they don't contain any hydrogenated vegetable oil like many biscuits do.

One thing which really surprised us was looking at the ingredients of chocolate Mcvities Digestive biscuits - they currently contain E476, an E number.

McVitie's Digestive biscuits

What are the nutritional statistics of Mcvities Digestive biscuits?

Comparing the nutritional statistics of Mcvities Digestive biscuits to other biscuits from the McVitie's range and you start to realise that they're not too healthy.

For example, you’ll find 71 calories in 1 Mcvities Digestive biscuit. This is almost double the calories that you’ll find in Mcvities Rich Tea biscuits, which contain just 38 calories per biscuit.

Mcvities Digestive biscuits also contain more than double the fat compared to the Rich Tea biscuits from the brand, with 3.1g of fat in a digestive and 1.3g of fat in a Rich Tea biscuit. Digestive biscuits from Mcvities also have almost 3 times the amount of salt compared to Rich Tea biscuits, with 2g of salt in 1 Digestive biscuit and 0.07g of salt in 1 Rich Tea biscuit.

There isn’t such a huge difference between Mcvities Digestive biscuits and Rich Tea biscuits in terms of sugar, but you’ll still find 0.7g more sugar in 1 Digestive biscuit compared to 1 Rich Tea biscuit.

What about Milk Chocolate McVitie's Digestives?

There are lots of varieties of Mcvities digestive biscuits, but we wanted to focus on the Milk Chocolate variety because they’re definitely one of the most popular. Obviously it’s expected that the Milk Chocolate digestives will contain more sugar, fat, and calories compared to the standard digestive biscuits from the brand due to the chocolate, and that’s the case, but interestingly the Mcvities Milk Chocolate digestives contain 0.04g of salt less per biscuit compared to the standard digestive biscuits from the brand.

McVitie's Milk Chocolate Digestives

It’s a bit more useful to compare Mcvities Milk Chocolate digestives to a different type of chocolate digestive biscuit, so we’ll compare them to the Tesco own-brand milk chocolate digestive biscuits. It doesn’t make for great reading for fans of Mcvities Milk Chocolate digestives though - the Mcvities variety contain 1g of sugar per biscuit compared to the Tesco own-brand milk chocolate digestive biscuits, which is a big difference. They both contain the same amount of fat per biscuit, and Mcvities milk chocolate digestives contain 0.06g of salt more per biscuit compared to the Tesco own-brand version.

What about The Light One Digestive biscuits?

If you’re not aware, you can buy a lighter version of Mcvities Digestive biscuits called The Light One. These biscuits are definitely a bit healthier than the standard Digestive biscuits from Mcvities, but not as much as we would have expected. For example, you’ll still find 68 calories in 1 The Light One digestive biscuit, which is only 3 calories fewer than you’ll find in 1 of the normal digestive biscuits from Mcvities. The Light One variety also contains just 0.3g of fat less per biscuit compared to 1 normal digestive biscuit from Mcvities. The most significant difference between these 2 varieties of Mcvities digestive biscuit is the sugar content - you’ll find just 1.3g of sugar in one The Light One digestive biscuit. That’s not just less sugar than you’ll find in 1 of the standard Mcvities digestive biscuit, but it’s also less than you’ll find 1 Rich Tea biscuit.

The light one digestove biscuits

So, are McVitie's Digestives healthy?

McVitie's Digestive biscuits aren't very healthy when you compare them to other biscuits from the McVitie's range, as they contain almost double the amount of calories and fat that you'll find in Rich Tea biscuits.

However, The Light One McVitie's Digestive biscuits do make for a healthier choice than the standard digestive biscuits from the brand.

What do you think of McVitie's Digestives biscuits and do you think they're healthy? Let us know in the comments! If you do want healthy biscuits, we have a guide to sugar free biscuits here.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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