Can diabetics eat chips

Best Chip Brands for Diabetes

Contrary to common belief, you can enjoy chips as a snack, even if you have diabetes. While you’ll still need to keep an eye on sodium and be carb-conscious, you don’t have to ban the foods you love from your diet. We’ll show you how to make sense of what’s on the shelves, discuss some ways to healthfully include chips in your diet and share our favorite finds. You’ll get our favorite healthy picks for potato chips and tortilla chips and learn what to look for on the labels.

Related: Try this 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan

What to look for when shopping for chips

Keep it simple: Look for chips featuring short ingredient lists, and without artificial preservatives and flavors. Keep an eye out for added sugars and excess sodium, which are commonly added to barbecue-flavored chips, or any other chips with a sweet or salty taste.

Be heart-healthy: Choose chips cooked with heart-healthy vegetable oils-like sunflower or safflower. Expeller-pressed means the oil was extracted naturally, without use of chemical agents.

Baked versus fried versus kettle-cooked: You’ll save a few grams of fat by choosing baked chips, but don’t be fooled into thinking “kettle-cooked” is a more healthful option. Kettle-cooked chips are still fried-just in smaller batches of oil to give them that extra-crispy texture.

Choose whole-grain: For tortilla chips, fill up on satiating fiber by picking brands that contain whole-grain corn, which might appear as “whole kernel” or “stone ground” corn on the label.

Related: Best Cold Cereal Brands for Diabetes

How to fit chips into a diabetes-friendly diet

While chips don’t offer much nutritional value on their own, they can still be part of a healthful, diabetes-friendly diet when eaten in moderation. Munch mindfully by portioning out a reasonable amount of chips-a 1-ounce serving typically translates to about 15 regular potato chips or 10 tortilla chips-and returning the bag to the pantry. (Or eliminate the guesswork by buying single-serve packages.) As with all meals and snacks, balance blood sugar by pairing carbohydrate-rich foods with a serving of protein-think guacamole, homemade hummus or low-sodium deli meat.

When eating chips with a sandwich, skip the second slice of bread and make a half-size version or open-face sandwich to keep your overall carb count in check. We love crushing a few tortilla chips on top of taco salad or a low-sodium bowl of soup. Instead of scooping high-calorie queso cheese, try one of these heart-healthier swaps: 1/4 cup low-sodium salsa and a dollop of low-fat sour cream; 1/4 of an avocado mashed with lime juice; or sprinkle chips with 2 tablespoons of reduced-fat Mexican cheese and melt in the microwave.

Related: Make Your Own Healthy Salsa.

Nutrition Guidelines:

Serving size: 1 ounce = about 15 regular potato chips; about 10 tortilla chips. Always check the label, since serving size varies widely depending on brand.

Calories: ≤160 calories
Carbohydrates: ≤25 g
Saturated Fat: ≤2 g
Trans Fat: 0 g
Sodium: ≤240 mg
Fiber: Aim for at least 2 g

We put these chips to the test. Here are our favorite potato chips and tortilla chips that meet our nutrition guidelines and taste great.

Image zoom Photo: FritoLay

Simply Lay’s Sea Salted Thick Cut Potato Chips

Serving size: 17 chips

160 calories, 15 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein, 10 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 160 mg sodium

Image zoom Photo: FritoLay

Sun Chips 100% Whole Grain Original

Serving size: 16 chips

140 calories, 19 g carbs, 2 g protein, 6 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 110 mg sodium

Image zoom Photo: Amazon

365 Everyday Value Kettle Cooked Potato Chips Sea Salt

Serving size: 18 chips

150 calories, 17 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein, 8 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 160 g sodium

Image zoom Photo: Cape Cod

Cape Cod Kettle Cooked Potato Chips 40% Less Fat Sweet Mesquite Barbeque

Serving size: 18 chips

130 calories, 18 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein, 6 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 150 mg sodium

Image zoom Photo: Late July

Late July Organic Sea Salt Thin & Crispy Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips

Serving size: 10 chips

130 calories, 17 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein, 7 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 65 mg sodium

Image zoom Photo: Guiltless Gourmet

Guiltless Gourmet Baked Yellow Corn Tortilla Chips

Serving size: 18 chips

120 calories, 22 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein, 3 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 180 mg sodium

Image zoom Photo: FritoLay

Tostitos Baked Scoops Tortilla Chips

Serving size: 16 chips

120 calories, 22 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein, 3 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 140 mg sodium

Curious about alternative chip options on the shelves? There are always new products popping up-beyond the traditional potato and corn chips. We’re big fans of the brand Beanitos, made from legumes instead of potatoes or corn. Beanitos have a comparable nutritional profile to potato or tortilla chips, but pack in about 5 grams of satiating protein and 4 grams of fiber per serving. And, while not technically a potato chip or a tortilla chip, Popchips-potato chips that are air-popped, not baked or fried-offer a slightly lower-fat alternative to traditional chips.

Don’t Miss:

Top Fast-Food Picks for People with Diabetes
Foods to Avoid with Diabetes

“Don’t eat between meals.” That’s one piece of advice people with diabetes might want to talk to their doctor or a registered dietitian about, says Sacha Uelmen, RD, managing director of diabetes education & nutrition for the American Diabetes Association. While snacking was a way to keep your blood sugar steady years ago, today’s snacking recommendations depend on the medication you take, what time you eat meals, and your weight goals, she explains. What’s more important: “Finding the right portions and balance of foods—including carb, protein, and fat—spaced evenly throughout the day for your personal lifestyle and activity level is what will do the most to keep blood glucose fluctuations to a minimum.” And remember, stress, lack of sleep, and how much exercise you get in a day can also affect blood sugar levels.

If your health provider does recommend snacks, keep the following in mind (and then check out these 12 rules to keep your blood sugar steady):

1. Keep your snacks to 150 calories or less. The danger of snacks is that they can become more like extra meals if you go overboard. First, make sure you’re truly hungry—and not just bored or stressed or craving chocolate—before reaching for a snack. Then limit yourself to 150 calories per snack. And while the ingredients of what you’re eating matters, it does depend on your ultimate goal, says Uelmen. “Some people snack because they don’t eat large meals—and if increasing calories or food intake is the goal, ingredients may be more of a focus. But if someone is trying to lose weight and is hungry all the time, better to aim for snacks that are lower in calories and higher in volume, like vegetables or popcorn.”

2. Beware of low-fat snacks. “They may not have the same calories, but typically if you take out the fat, you add carbs or sodium,” says Uelmen. And since the low-fat option may not be as satisfying, it may be better to eat a smaller portion of the full-fat kind: “Not that ice cream is a fantastic snack, but oftentimes people will eat low-fat ice cream and eat many more calories than if they just ate a small portion of regular ice cream that they enjoy,” she adds. Here are some healthy snack ideas.

3. Plate your snacks. Eat straight out of the bag and you’re guaranteed to eat more, whether it’s chips, pretzels, or cookies. Instead, put a small portion on a plate, seal up the bag and put it away, and then sit down and enjoy your snack.

4. Grab the whole bag. A single serving bag, that is. You’re much more likely to stop after one serving if you don’t have to measure it out yourself. If paying more for extra packaging that will eventually clog landfills bothers you, separate the snacks yourself into reusable single-serving containers when you get home from the grocery store so they’re ready to grab when you’re ready to eat them. Bonus: “Portioning out snack foods into single servings that meet your personal calorie goals is helpful for many people,” says Uelmen.

5. Pour a handful of nuts. Almonds, walnuts, pecans, peanuts, and cashews contain the healthy monounsaturated fats that lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. And because they’re packed with protein, “good” fat and contain few carbohydrates, they won’t raise blood sugar as much as pretzels do. Just stick to a handful, or about a quarter of a cup—and check out which nuts are the healthiest to eat.

6. Have a few whole-grain crackers with peanut butter. Yes, the peanut butter will additional calories, but the tradeoff may be crackers topped with PB is more satisfying thanks to the fat than just crackers and provides a bit of protein and calcium, says Uelmen. “And it will have less immediate impact on blood glucose.”`

7. Munch a few raw veggies. Get in an extra serving of vegetables by nibbling on grape tomatoes, carrots, red and green peppers, cucumbers, broccoli crowns, and cauliflower. Eat them plain or dip them into nonfat yogurt, a light salad dressing, or hummus (stick with 1 to 2 tablespoons’ worth). Here’s what happens when you don’t eat enough veggies.

8. Spread some black bean salsa over eggplant slices. The salsa has only about 15 grams of carbs, 80 calories, and 1 gram of fat. “Beans are great because they provide protein and fiber, but they also contain carbohydrates, and it’s easy to eat more than a portion, so pay attention to portion sizes,” Uelmen notes.

9. Indulge in a few decadent bites. Have a snack of a small piece of dark chocolate (about the size of a Hershey’s miniature chocolate bar), three dried apricots and three walnuts or almonds. Savor every nibble!

10. Grab a yogurt instead of a smoothie. It’s hard to control portions when you’re downing a smoothie, since they have a lot of calories and more fruit than you’d eat in a single serving, says Uelmen. Have a small non- or low-fat yogurt instead.

11. Get berry happy. Any kind of berries will do, since they are high in fiber and have less impact on blood sugar. Another plus: Because they’re low in calories, the portion size is bigger—and makes for a more satisfying snack, Uelman notes.

12. Eat an apple—with the skin. An apple with the skin contains about 3 grams of fiber. The skin packs a double whammy, carrying healthy soluble fiber that helps to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease and antioxidants that fight free radicals and lower the risk of diabetes complications.

13. Say cheese. If you stick to a serving size (1 ounce), cheese won’t make your blood sugar spike. (Actually, your blood sugar is probably safe even with larger amounts but portion control is a good practice.)

14. Have your chocolate “bar” frozen. By that we mean enjoy a frozen fudge pop. “They can satisfy that sweet tooth/chocolate craving and tend to have few ingredients and calories,” says Uelmen, who’s a big fan of Yasso’s Greek yogurt frozen bars. “While they do contain carbs and sugar, they’re only 100 calories and provide some protein—and better than a piece of cake or ice-cream sundae,” she notes. If you’re in need of more low-cal snacks, try these healthy 100-calorie snacks.

13 Easy and Quick Snack Ideas for People With Diabetes

Snacking often gets a bad rap. But if you are managing type 2 diabetes, including healthy snacks in your diet can be a great way to keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range and energy levels high. They can also be a great weight-loss tool.

“Sometimes people think of snacks as an unhealthy thing, but can be quite the opposite,” says Kelly Kennedy, RD, a nutritionist at Everyday Health. “Snacks provide another opportunity for nutrition, and with a small amount of carbohydrates (15 grams or less), can help keep blood sugar levels steady throughout the day,” Kennedy adds. Eating a healthy snack can also help keep hunger at bay until your next meal, which can ultimately prevent overeating.

RELATED: 5 Diabetes Weight-Loss Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

If you’re managing diabetes, though, an important thing to keep in mind when snacking is your carb count. Carbohydrates are the nutrient in foods that are broken down into glucose, and they can have a significant impact on blood sugar levels, Kennedy says.

It’s important to consider quantity and quality when it comes to carbs. Bingeing on carbohydrates or having too many simple carbohydrates at once can cause spikes in blood sugar, which in turn can increase the risk of diabetes complications like diabetic neuropathy, diabetic retinopathy, heart disease, and stroke.

But, Kennedy points out, “This doesn’t mean that you need to avoid carbohydrates completely.” Instead, eat a healthy amount of good carbohydrates — such as those from fruits and vegetables, fat-free or low-fat dairy, and whole grains — including while snacking.

RELATED: How to Tell the Difference Between a Good Carb and a Bad Carb

When it comes to lowering your risk for diabetes complications, maintaining a healthy weight and controlling blood sugar go hand in hand. After all, being overweight can contribute to insulin resistance, the hallmark of type 2 diabetes.

“People are often amazed at the changes they see with even a little weight loss,” Kennedy says. Indeed, losing at least 5 to 7 percent of body weight can lead to improved insulin sensitivity and even help prevent prediabetes from progressing to full-blown type 2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

But how you choose to lose weight matters. Remember that a healthy diet that promotes gradual weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week is best.

Unsure of which snacks are best for weight loss, improving blood sugar control, and boosting energy? Admittedly healthy choices can be challenging if you’re pressed for time or work in an office filled with processed, packaged snacks that contain high levels of sugar, salt, and fat. To help steer you in the right direction, here are 13 smart snacks for diabetes to help you meet your health goals.

Additional reporting by Barbara Kean

Why Did I Eat the Chips? A July 4th Diabetes Landmine, Explained

By Adam Brown

A restaurant mistake and four lessons I’m taking away from it…

July 4th was a beautiful day here in San Francisco, and my girlfriend Priscilla and I decided to walk to the Marina district for lunch. It was a gorgeous three-mile, hilly walk from our apartment – not unusual for us, but also not a short stroll.

I had a low-carb breakfast beforehand – a few strips of turkey bacon and a handful of nuts – without taking any mealtime insulin. I carried glucose tablets on the walk, just in case of a low. By the time we got to the restaurant, my glucose had gone from 97 to 145 back down to 85 mg/dl.

We chose a Mexican restaurant, which unfortunately had few low-carb options. (Fajitas, my usual order, were not listed.) I opted for the small appetizer meatballs (“albondigas”) and a side of plain black beans. I thought this was a pretty clever order, given the options.

And then the trouble started.

The waitress came by and deposited a medium-sized bowl of freshly baked, salty tortilla chips in the middle of our table. I harmlessly gobbled a few, as my glucose was steadily dropping. But alas, with the salty floodgates open, I then picked a few more – then a few more, and a few more. About 20 chips in, I realized I was way overboard and needed to take some insulin to cover the unplanned-for white carbs. Oops.

I also moved the chips to the other side of the table and further away from my mouth. But as we continued to wait, I continued to gobble – chip by chip. I probably ate 30 chips in total, but who knows; I wasn’t counting.

Lunch finally came, I took another dose of insulin for the carbs in the black beans, and we enjoyed our meal. Here’s the full trace of my glucose on July 4, from 8am to midnight.

Over the past 90 days, my blood sugar has been over 180 mg/dl only 2% of the time, so at 275 mg/dl – a glucose level I see rarely – I felt awful. I was also frustrated with myself: “WHY DID I EAT THE CHIPS??!!”

I knew we were walking three miles back home, and combined with extra insulin to cover the high, I came back under 140 mg/dl three hours later. All in all, I needed 51 units of insulin on July 4, which is nearly double the amount I normally use.

The obvious takeaway here is not that interesting: I ate too many chips and regretted it. But as I’m writing this 24 hours later, there are some interesting lessons I want to call out. Part of this is for my own selfish benefit, as writing helps me internalize what I might do differently next time. Let me know what you think!

1. “Carb stacking” is a sinister snowball; know my domino foods and plan accordingly.

Chip-by-chip, I didn’t think I was doing that much damage. But 30 chips could easily have been 60 grams of carbs, which is triple the number I eat in a typical meal.

This concept of “carb stacking” could also be phrased as “Eating tiny amounts of unplanned carbs repeatedly, without measuring them out or realizing the blood glucose snowball I am creating.”

Carb stacking can be a really destructive diabetes landmine that drives hours of out-of-range blood sugars. It is certainly one I experienced as a teenager, eating vast quantities of goldfish crackers without counting them. Related is the concept of “domino foods”: once I have one, I cannot control myself and I eat a ridiculous number of them. Many salty, crunchy foods fall in this bucket for me, including chips, popcorn, and crackers. See #3 below for solutions to “carb stacking” and “domino foods.”

2. When stepping on a diabetes landmine, the #1 most important response is to get back on track as soon as possible.

Though I was frustrated with my runaway chip consumption, I also knew that beating myself up wouldn’t change my 275 mg/dl in the moment; it would only make me feel frustrated, make Priscilla feel bad, and ruin a beautiful day off.

Instead, I looked at my CGM, took the necessary insulin, and tried to enjoy the walk home. I knew I would come back into range eventually, and I also knew that the past was done; I could only look forward.

I know some people that fall “off the wagon” with food and say, “Well, I’ve ruined things today; I’ll get back to eating healthy tomorrow.” When I make a mistake, my goal is always to respond to it productively and get back on track as soon as possible; if my wagon is trailing off course, I want the next decision to steer me back in the right direction.

That night, some friends came over and brought a huge bowl of tortilla chips and salsa. I focused on eating the guacamole, steak, and homemade Caesar salad instead.

3. “What could I do differently next time?” – the #2 most important diabetes landmine response!

I’ve spent much of the past year talking about Diabetes Bright Spots: understanding what choices work (food, mindset, exercise, sleep) and how to replicate those specific decisions, behaviors, and habits. But sometimes it helps to look at Landmines, especially outlier ones.

The goal of this kind of Diabetes Landmines analysis is not to beat myself up, but to identify what could be done differently next time. When I’m in this scenario again, how will I respond?

In this case, there are several options:

  • Tell the waitress we don’t want the chips – this is the advice I actually wrote to follow myself in Bright Spots & Landmines. If I’m eating with someone who does want chips, ask the waitress for an individual serving.

  • Put the chips seriously out of reach on the table, instead of kidding myself. As noted above, I moved them further away, but clearly they were still within reach. I must constantly remind myself that environment usually beats self-control, as I wrote in this column two months ago. Once the chips were in front of me, it was difficult to make the right choice.

  • Have a black-and-white “no-chips” personal policy – I know this is not easy for everyone, but for domino foods, I find complete abstinence is easier than moderation.

  • Have a salty, crunchy, low-carb snack that I could have eaten instead of chips – Had I brought almonds or peanuts with me, I could have eaten those instead of chips.

  • Document what happened in writing so I remember how I felt next time I’m confronted with chips – hence this column!

  • Avoid this restaurant in the future – a bit aggressive, but if the Diabetes Landmine is unavoidable, this is an option.

Every diabetes landmine has a menu of possible responses – the goal is to identify and pre-load them as a plan of attack, reducing their impact.

4. 42 Factors Affect Blood Sugar – was anything else in play here? Probably.

Yes, I overdid it on the chips, but likely one or more other blood sugar factors were in play here:

  • I changed my pump’s infusion set in the morning, and I often see higher blood sugars after insertion. Did this play a role?

  • I’m using a month-old vial of insulin, which also traveled with me to Orlando two weeks ago. Has the insulin lost a bit of potency?

  • Perhaps there were some hidden carbs in the meatballs (e.g., bread crumbs?), or perhaps the black beans had more carbs than I guessed. In other words, the high blood sugar might have come from the combination of chips + low-balling the main meal’s carbs.

I’m not invoking the 42 factors to make excuses! However, when a diabetes landmine occurs, identifying other factors in play always reminds me that not every single blood sugar has a simple cause, and perfection is not a fair bar to set.

How do you deal with Diabetes Landmines like this? Send me an email with your comments or reach out on Facebook or Twitter!


We’ve distributed over 65,000 copies of Bright Spots & Landmines: The Diabetes Guide I Wish Someone Had Handed Me. If you would like one, get it here:

6 Worst Diabetes Snacks You Should Cut From Your Diet

No one likes to be told no — especially if you have diabetes and are already struggling to meet the day-to-day dietary demands of the disease, which most people would admit is no easy task. Often, a diagnosis of prediabetes or full-blown type 2 diabetes means you have to give up or limit many of the foods you once loved, like white potatoes and red meat, and many others for which you may not yet have developed a taste, such as leafy greens and seafood. But making healthy choices when you have diabetes is one of your best bets for maintaining or achieving proper blood sugar control and helping to prevent certain diabetes complications, such as nerve damage, vision problems, heart disease, and stroke, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

Adequate sleep and regular exercise should be part of that effort, but so should smart snacking. After all, a good diabetes snack can help you keep your blood sugar on an even keel, provide energy throughout a busy day, help improve your workout, and prevent you from overeating at mealtime.

But when you choose which snacks to reach for when hunger strikes, are some options better than others? Unsurprisingly, yes, and when snacking, you should continue to count your carbohydrate intake, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) advises. According to an article published in February 2014 in the Journal of Education and Health Promotion, making sure your overall diabetes diet is rich in fruit, veggies (especially the nonstarchy kinds), lean protein, healthy fats, and whole grains can help you stay on track.

And while most dietitians agree with the phrase “everything in moderation” when it comes to best managing your blood sugar, it’s actually true that when you have diabetes, there are some snacks that are best left off your plate (think: calorie-laden, high-carb foods that come packaged in a bag). Snacks that are high in unhealthy saturated fat, carbohydrates, and sugar should be limited and, if possible, avoided. These kinds of fare are more likely to mess with your blood sugar and may contribute to unwanted weight gain — an effect that can further reduce insulin sensitivity and potentially worsen diabetes symptoms and complications, leaving you feeling sluggish rather than energized.

Unhealthy diabetes snacks aren’t always as obvious as that gooey candy bar you may eye in your office vending machine (but skip the obvious ones, too). Try to steer clear of the following quick eats to avoid blood sugar spikes and to help better manage diabetes now and down the road.

That lovely crunch of chips that makes them so incredibly moreish. Oh yes, we all agree that chips/crisps are a food that’s hard to say no to. And for type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, that’s where chips can get you into trouble.

With a high carb content and very little to offer in terms of nutrition. Indulging in even a small portion of chips may quickly see your blood sugar levels going in one direction – and that’s not down where you want it to be!

Read on to discover the facts behind one of our favorite snacks.

JUMP TO: What are chips | Nutrition facts for chips | Chip varieties compared | Research on chips for diabetes | Chips diabetics can eat | Conclusion

What are Chips?

Chips are popular snacks, often made from corn, wheat, or more commonly, potatoes.

Typically, chips are either deep fried or oven baked, and while chips are usually regarded as junk food, many brands have come out with self-proclaimed “healthier” options such as fat free chips that cut down on calories and “100 calorie packs” to help with portion control.

But are these “healthier” options really that healthy?

And what about regular chips: are they all just junk or do some chips make the cut?

The nutrition facts will give us a little more insight.

Nutrition Facts for Chips

One ounce (28 g) of regular potato chips contains:

  • Calories: 151
  • Carbohydrates: 15.3 g
  • Fats: 9.6 g
  • Protein: 1.8 g
  • Dietary fiber: 0.9 g

Potatoes are a high carb starchy food. One ounce (28 g) of potato chips (about 10 to 15 chips) contains over 15 g of carbs. But… let’s face it, who sits down to eat 10 to 15 chips?

Often it’s a matter of crunching down several ounces of chips in one sitting, right? They are a food that is very moreish, and therefore, very easy to over consume.

Science has even shown that chips are not a satiating (filling/ satisfying) food, which makes you more likely to overeat and consume way more carbs than you intended to.

In addition to being high in carbohydrates, potato chips are also low in fiber. They contain less than 1 g of fiber per serving, which doesn’t bode well for your blood sugar control.

The last nutrient to consider is the fat in potato chips.

While naturally-occurring fats in coconuts, avocados, and meats are good for you, some fats do not benefit you at all.

Trans fats, for example, are the worst of the worst, significantly increasing risk of heart disease. And fried foods like potato chips tend to contain them. Not to mention, heating oils to the temperatures needed for deep frying often leads to oxidation of oils, which dramatically reduces their healthfulness.

Of course, most of us know this to be true (that deep fried foods and trans fats are unhealthy), so these things should be of little surprise to you.

Baked versions of chips are of course somewhat better, but that still doesn’t get rid of those carbs!

Comparing Different Chips

Potato chips aren’t the only chips with a high carb load. Whether they are made from potatoes, corn, or a mixture of different grains and starches, chips tend to be high in carbohydrates across the board.

Take a look at the amount of carbs in the various chips below, and keep in mind that these are the values for a tiny, 1 ounce (28 g) serving.

The corn chips, potato chips, and even the beloved nacho cheese Doritos all contain around 15-20 g of carbs per serving, which is way too much if you’re aiming for the recommended 50-80 g of carbs per day.

Another thing to keep in mind is that chips are pretty much void of any real micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), except for all that added salt/sodium. That means the calories in chips can classified as “empty calories” and “empty carbs” – which simply means they don’t have any value to offer you (other than that wonderful crunchy sensation).

To manage your blood sugar and A1c levels, you want to avoid eating empty calories and carbs and ensure you stock up on nutrient dense foods like healthy fats, lean proteins, and micronutrient rich greens and vegetables – this helps lower blood sugar and optimize your health.

Think of your food as fuel for your body. You want to fuel yourself with clean, whole foods that will energize you and help your body balance and heal.

The final thing to take notice of on the comparison chart is the fat free potato chips.

At first, fat free chips sounds like a great idea – they’re lower in calories and they don’t contain as many fats. That sounds healthier, right?

But fats aren’t the main concern for people with diabetes and prediabetes – carbs are! And fat free does not remove those carbs.

Back to top

Research on Chips and Diabetes/ Prediabetes

The consumption of fried foods has been associated with many negative health consequences such as weight gain and obesity, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, hypercholesterolemia, and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.

In populations worldwide, diets rich in processed food, including potato chips (a typical Western diet) are associated with higher risk of metabolic syndrome/ prediabetes.

And to be expected, there is no research to show potato chips provide any benefit for helping with blood sugar and A1c control. Chips aren’t your friend because they are a high carb food.

On the other hand, low carb diets have been shown to improve insulin resistance and blood sugar control.

A review of 9 different studies found that a low carb diet can positively affect many metabolic parameters for type 2 diabetics – lower A1c levels, reduced triglycerides, increased HDL “good” cholesterol, and greater weight loss, compared with high carb, low fat diets.

Beyond improving cholesterol levels, low carb diets may boost cardiovascular health by improving blood flow, endothelial function, and decreasing blood pressure.

Are There Any Chips Diabetics Can Eat?

There are always options and alternatives – always!

Sure, they may not be exactly like potato chips or nacho chips, but they still do the trick.

Crunchy Kale Chips

Kale is full of vitamins, minerals and beneficial compounds. Plus, it’s low in carbs. And while it may sound strange, kale actually bakes up as perfectly crunchy chips – like super crunchy! And you can flavor them with all sorts of delicious combinations. Grab the recipe here.

You can roast carrot or pumpkin cut into ‘fries’ – just keep a check on how many you eat as both veggies are a little higher in carbs than green veggies. They also won’t go super crunchy like potato chips, or the kale chips mentioned above.

You can also buy some crunchy low carb treats on Amazon.

And if you shop around locally, you can find various high protein, low carb chips available – take a visit to the health food or sport supplement store.


Chips are greasy, they’re void of nutrients, and they’re full of carbohydrates. What’s not to love?

But really, chips just aren’t a suitable food for people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.

Next time you’re in the mood for a treat, do your blood sugar a favor – skip the chips and try one of these 40+ low carb snacks.

From crunchy kale chips to a sweet chocolate milkshake or a bowl of creamy baba ghanoush – you’re bound to find something from these fun low carb snacks recipes that is sure to please your appetite!

Are Pretzels Good For Diabetics?

Have you been wondering if pretzels are a good snack for diabetics? It’s common knowledge that many packaged snacks are loaded with white flour, sugar, sodium and preservatives that interfere with glucose control. We heartily recommend Unique Pretzels Sprouted “Splits” and Sprouted Shells that are made with authentically healthy sprouted whole grains.

Unique Pretzel Bakery was founded in Reading, Pennsylvania during the late 1890s, and the family-owned business has continued to grow for 120 years. Our most famous product is Unique Pretzel “Splits”, a split-open pretzel which was accidentally invented when the dough was left to set too long and split open during baking.

Are pretzels a healthy snack?

Although pretzels have a reputation as a healthy snack, many brands are made from refined white flour, yeast, salt and some kind of oil or other fat. The fact that they are baked will save some calories, but anything made with white flour acts like sugar as the body digests it. Diabetics should opt for snacks made from whole grains instead. They are richer in fiber and usually cause a slower rise in blood sugar.

We make our Sprouted “Splits” and Sprouted Shells with 100% organic sprouted whole grain flour from Essential Eating® Sprouted Foods, and they are the only mass-produced sprouted flour pretzel snacks.

What are sprouted grains?

Sprouted whole grains provide the body with many nutrients that are vital for good health. How can they be so nutritious? The nutrients are naturally present in the germ, the fibrous bran and the starchy endosperm of 100% whole grains.

Unfortunately, most grains we eat today have been processed to remove the germ and bran in order to make the grain softer and finer and improve the shelf life of the products. These “refined” grains have lost most of their fiber, iron, and B vitamins. Even though they often “enriched” afterward with nutrients lost during processing, the important parts of the healthy whole grain are still missing.

When properly milled into flour instead of using a wet-milled paste or “mash”, sprouted whole grains begin to turn into plants, and the USDA classifies them as vegetables. The starch molecules (which our bodies may otherwise store as fat) are converted to simple sugars that can be more easily absorbed and used for energy. The sprouting process also makes other nutrients, such as proteins, vitamins, and minerals, more available.

Here are some of the other health benefits of our 100% whole grain sprouted pretzels, particularly for people who have diabetes or are working to prevent it:

  • Sugar-free
  • Trans-fat free
  • Cholesterol-free
  • Lactose-free
  • High in fiber
  • Heart-healthy
  • Kosher
  • Vegan

The ingredients in our pretzels are GMO-free, organic, and contain no added sugars, flavors, malts, colors, additives or preservatives. Just enough sea salt is added to give them a pleasant crunch and delicious flavor. And our sprouted pretzels are the first to be made with organic extra virgin olive oil, a healthier oil.

Another benefit for diabetics of eating sprouted whole grain pretzels is the fiber. Fiber, particularly soluble fiber, can improve blood sugar levels. The inclusion of insoluble fiber (such as from fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains) in the diet may also lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Overdoing it on fried snacks, such as French fries, potato chips and doughnuts, can wreak havoc on blood sugar because they are carbohydrate-heavy. They are also full of unhealthy trans fats, having been deep-fried in hydrogenated oils, which can raise bad cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease. Opt for packaged snacks, like our sprouted grain pretzels, with zero grams of trans fat and no partially hydrogenated oils (a major source of trans fats) on the ingredient list.

Pretzels can be a good snack for diabetics as long as you make the right choices. Sprouted “Splits” and Sprouted Shells from Unique Pretzels are available from our online store and can be found on the shelves of your local Wegmans, Fresh Market, Whole Foods and Giant stores.

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