- 7 good reasons NOT to eat chips
- What Are Tortillas?
- Corn Tortilla Carbs and Nutrition
- When Tortillas Fit Into a Low-Carb or Keto Diet
- When You Should Avoid Tortillas
- Corn Tortilla Carbs: Are Tortillas OK on Keto?
7 good reasons NOT to eat chips
Here are my 7 reasons NOT to eat chips
- They’re high in fat and in processed not-good saturated fat. Check them out and you’ll see that, while they do vary, most chips generally have around 25 to 30 per cent total fat.
- If the chips are cooked in sunflower oil, it will state this on the ingredient list. This oil is low in saturated fat so you’ll find these chips have less than 10 per cent of the total fat as their saturated fat. But if the chips are cooked in palm oil, you’ll usually only read ‘vegetable oil’ on the label. But those chips will be around half saturated fat.
- As a nation, we eat too much salt but it’s not the little we add to our cooking or sprinkle over our meals that’s the big contributor. Most of the salt we take in comes from processed foods – and chips are a prime culprit. Here are a couple of samples: Red Rock Deli Honey Soy Chicken – 520mg per 100g; and Natural Chip Company Sea Salt 644mg per 100g. Ideally aim for less than 600mg or better less than 400mg per 100g.
- Added sugar. I know we think of chips as savoury or salty snacks but you may be surprised to see how the flavoured types have added sugar. Think Honey Soy, Sweet Chilli, Chicken, Cheesey Corn Chips. They have sugars ranging from around 3 per cent to 5 per cent.
- Too easy to eat. And too easy to overeat! Chips hit all the sweet spots (pardon the pun) – they’re crunchy, they have fat, salt, sugar, and flavours in just the right proportions to make us want more. What’s more, they seem so insubstantial; they’re not filling so they can’t be that bad, can they?
- They’re kilojoule/Calorie dense. In other words you get little nutritional value for too many kilojoules. They’re the opposite of green vegetables which are nutrient-dense!
- I’m sure you’ve heard the expression ‘cheap as chips’. Fact is, they’re not – cheap, that is. Check out the per 100g price on the docket of your favourite chips from your local supermarket and then multiply by 10. That’s the cost per kg. Now potatoes cost around $4 per kg. Potato chips vary anywhere from $11.30 per kilo to a whopping $37.00 per kilo!
Read more about popular salty snacks on my website here. I compare 50 grams (2 ½ oz) of potato chips, corn chips, cashews, beer nuts, pretzels, rice crackers, BBQ shapes and Bhuja Indian spicy mix for their fat, saturated fat and salt.
Are the newest, ‘trendy’ chips with lentils, spelt or beetroot any better?
There are plenty of new, trendy chips on the market and at first sight they often appear to be healthier than the more common potato or corn chips. They range from blue maize to lentil chips; from kale and spirulina to chickpea chips. Not forgetting ancient grains like spelt or einkorn!
Despite the added beetroot, lentil or parsnip, think of these as still chips with around 30 per cent fat, of which half is saturated (if fried in palm oil) and 68 per cent carbs.
If fried in canola or sunflower oil, their saturated fat is low and these are a healthier choice.
The quantity of beetroot or lentil is usually small, at less than 10 per cent, which is NOT high enough to change the nutrition from the base starch of corn (maize) or potato, which are not especially nutritious in the first place. Yes, there’s some protein and some fibre and also phytochemicals from the beetroot or carrots, but not a huge amount.
But don’t forget that they are really a highly-processed, salty, snack food that is all too easy to overeat. Even coloured (thanks to phytochemicals from the beetroot or carrots), they remain a food that’s hard to resist. So many people tell me they open a pack and before they realise it, the chips are all gone! Without them even noticing!
All chips can claim to be free of preservatives as they are a fairly dry product (no moisture for bacteria to grow in) and their high salt content also acts as a preserving agent, just like the salted preserved lemons that you make at home.
I prefer the plain or ‘classic’ varieties which are just potato or corn (maize), oil and salt. Steer clear of the flavoured varieties such as Sweet Chilli or Sour Cream and Chives or Nacho Cheese as these have long lists of additives including colours, flavours and flavour-enhancers.
On the whole, chips added nothing beneficial to your diet and it’s easy to eat more than you planned so it’s best to avoid them where possible. However, the old adage of “a LITTLE of what you fancy does you good”, with the emphasis on the “LITTLE” is probably a more realistic policy than giving them up entirely.
Remember they are a discretionary food. To learn more about more about discretionary foods, check out these posts on the Foodwatch website :
- Discretionary foods – what the heck are they?
- Discretionary food overload?
In Clean Eating Dreamland, every snack spread you encounter is stocked with fresh crudité and organic mixed nuts. Here in reality, of course, the options aren’t so abundant. We’ve all sidled up to the party snack table that’s got nothing but jumbo bags of potato chips and corn chips—essentially, two different kinds of high-calorie, fat-soaked carb slabs. That rumble in your stomach isn’t going to take care of itself, though, so which do you choose? It’s time for a food face-off.
MORE: Doughnut vs. Muffin: Which is the Lesser of Two Evils?
Potato chips get a bad start with 15 more calories per serving than tortilla chips.
Both chips have little to offer when it comes to protein and fiber—so that’s a draw.
But fats make things interesting: While tortilla chips have less saturated fat than potato chips, they also have almost 10 times the trans fat. Sure, a serving only has 0.2 grams of trans fat, but those little amounts add up quickly when the WHO daily recommended limit is only 2 g per day.
Next: Vitamins and minerals. Neither chip has much, but potato chips edge out tortillas with 8% of your daily value for calcium and 7% of your daily value for sodium. Tortilla chips do have a hair more calcium, however, with 3% of your daily value.
Finally, we examine the salt factor: Tortilla chips have a surprising 38% less sodium than their potato peers.
Tortilla Chips: 4 points
Potato Chips: 3 points
Winner: Tortilla Chips
Nutritionally, these snacks are almost the same. But when push comes to shove, go tortilla, says Toby Amidor, MS, RD, nutrition expert and author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen. Why? “They’re a good vehicle to dip into salsa and guacamole, and these dips deliver a variety of good-for-you nutrients,” she says. “Potato chips are usually eaten as-is, limiting the amount of nutrients you take in.”
But don’t pick blindly, says Gina Consalvo, RD, a Pennsylvania-based nutritionist. “Reading ingredients is a must,” she explains. “Try to avoid highly refined vegetable oil blends since they can be a sneaky source of trans fat. Then, choose a brand that is made of just corn or potato with expeller-pressed oil and sea salt. Nothing else.” And no matter what, both experts stress one thing: Portion. Control. And don’t forget: Some tortilla chips are so jumbo-sized that a serving is just six measly chips.
Whether you’re on the first weeks of your ketogenic diet or already fully immersed in the keto lifestyle, you might be craving your favorite high-carb dishes. If you’re a Mexican food fan, you may be dreaming about soft tacos or crispy tortilla chips dipped in chunky avocado guacamole. But are corn tortilla carbs allowed on keto?
Mexican dishes like quesadillas, tacos, enchiladas, fajitas, and burritos are usually quite high in carbs, and that’s mainly due to one ingredient: tortillas.
Corn tortilla carbs can quickly pile up, surpass your daily carb values, and kick you out of ketosis. But there might be a way to include these Mexican staples in your keto meal plan.
Birthday Cake Keto Bars are here!
The answer to your sweet tooth. 17g of fat, 3g of net carbs, incredibly delicious.
What Are Tortillas?
There are two types of tortillas found in restaurants and grocery stores all over the country today — wheat tortillas (including whole-grain or whole-wheat) and corn tortillas.
While corn tortillas may have started as the most common tortilla, wheat tortillas became extremely popular once it was discovered that wheat flour could provide a solid tortilla base.
Both types are popular, yet they come from two different sources. While corn tortillas are a type of thin flatbread made from ground maize, wheat flour tortillas are made from finely ground wheat flour.
Versatility is one of the main reasons that tortillas are so popular. Tortillas are a type of flatbread that can be eaten hot or cold and used in several different dishes.
Flour tortillas are often softer and more pliable option of the two. Not to say corn tortillas don’t have similar features. However, they have a more chewy texture in comparison to flour tortillas. They can both be served soft or hard and make great chips.
Corn Tortilla Carbs and Nutrition
When you inspect the nutrition facts of tortillas, their macronutrient value varies depending on whether you make them at home, buy them pre-packaged in the grocery store, or order them in restaurants.
Your typical corn tortilla is about 61 total calories for a one-ounce serving (or 28 grams), including 12 grams of net carbohydrates, 1 gram of total fat, 2 grams of dietary fiber, and 2 grams of protein.
Wheat flour tortillas are similar, providing a total of 87 calories per one-ounce serving size (or 28 grams,) including 14 grams of net carbs, 2 grams of total fat, 2 grams of protein, and less than 1 gram of fiber.
When it comes to vitamins and minerals, corn tortillas might have the upper hand. While wheat flour is overly processed and stripped of almost all of its nutrients, yellow corn, the main ingredient of this Mexican staple, comes packed with vitamin A, lutein, and folate.
Vitamin A and lutein can protect your eye health while folate is an essential vitamin that can help prevent cognitive decline, fatigue, and insomnia.
To fully profit from its health benefits, make sure you read the labels carefully and choose tortillas that are non-GMO and free of harmful trans fats and hydrogenated oils.
When Tortillas Fit Into a Low-Carb or Keto Diet
With both flour and corn tortillas sitting around 12-15 grams of net carbs per ounce, it would be hard to have more than one small tortilla and not go over your daily carb limit. When you think about it, one ounce is quite small and wouldn’t fill you up.
But if you want to have tortillas while following a low-carb, keto, or low-calorie diet, this (small) amount would be the way to go.
The keto diet recommends that your daily intake of net carbs be anywhere between 20-50 grams, which means that having over two ounces worth of tortillas can possibly kick you out of ketosis.
However, there are ways to consume your favorite Mexican dishes on a low-carb or keto diet. Besides substituting regular tortillas with a low-carb tortilla recipe, those who lead more physically active lives have the opportunity to follow a targeted keto diet (TKD) or cyclical keto diet (CKD).
TKD is a type of keto diet that caters to more active people, allowing for an extra 25-50 grams of carbs up to 60 minutes before and after their workout window.
The CKD, on the other hand, is meant for athletes who train at such high intensity that their body requires additional carbs in order to get that glycogen back to their muscles.
The CKD follows a standard ketogenic diet five days of the week, whereas on the other two days (or 24-48 hours), it calls for a high-carb, low-fat ratio where you can consume anywhere from 400-600 carbs (known as the carb-loading period).
When You Should Avoid Tortillas
Tortillas may not be the best option for those following a low-carb or keto diet. You may want to steer clear of them in general, unless you’re making them yourself.
While the glycemic index of corn tortillas is considerably low — especially if you make them yourself — pre-packaged flour tortillas might have ingredients that could be damaging to your health.
Some of the options in your local grocery store can contain substances such as enriched bleached white flour, corn starch, hydrogenated oils, sodium benzoate, , cellulose gum, dough conditioners, and sorbic acid.
The body processes enriched bleached white flour just like sugar, creating a rapid increase in blood glucose, therefore activating a strong insulin response. This creates a sudden burst of sugar in your cells, which could be avoided by choosing a low-carb flour alternative.
You may also want to avoid flour tortillas if you’re intolerant or sensitive to gluten. Because they’re made directly from wheat grounds, flour tortillas are not gluten-free and may create some undesired side effects such as bloating, constipation, abdominal pain, headaches, skin issues, fatigue, anxiety, and more.
Corn Tortilla Carbs: Are Tortillas OK on Keto?
While a one-ounce serving of tortillas will not necessarily kick you out of ketosis, chances are most tortillas you can buy nowadays will come in a much larger serving.
If you want to eat authentic corn or flour tortillas, making them at home would be your best bet. Even in the scenario of homemade tortillas, one tortilla (or about 50 grams) could contain up to 30 grams of total carbohydrates per serving. This amount of carbs uses up more than half of your daily allowance while on the keto diet, putting you at risk of getting kicked out of ketosis.
When it comes to corn tortilla carbs, it’s best to avoid them and opt for a healthier alternative.
Be aware that there will most likely be some hidden carbs in your diet throughout the day as well, whether you recognize them or not.
The best way to include tortillas in your meal plan is either to make your own low-carb tortilla version at home or if you’re following a TKD or CKD. This will allow a window of high-carb intake while still following the ketogenic diet guidelines.
When it comes to this staple Mexican food, tortillas are too high in carbs for your daily values.
For keto versions of your favorite high-carb dishes, check out these delicious and decadent recipes:
- Dairy-Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust
- Low-Carb Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- The Easiest Keto Lava Cake Recipe Ever
March 14 is National Potato Chip Day. If any snack food deserves its own day, then it probably should be potato chips, given their popularity. Walk down any snack aisle in a grocery store and you’ll quickly see that potato chips reign. We Americans love our chips. In fact, we love them so much that we gobble down 1.2 billion pounds of them each year.
A Chip Off the Old Potato…
We can thank a man named George Crum for inventing potato chips. George was working as a chef at a resort in Saratoga Springs, New York, in 1853. As the story goes, a disgruntled diner complained that his French fries (popular since the 1700’s) were too thick and he sent them back to the kitchen. George trimmed them down a couple of times, making them super thin and essentially creating the first potato chips! The chips became known as Saratoga Chips and were a hit on the menu. After that, potato chip popularity spread throughout New England. In the 1920’s, Herman Lay started selling potato chips out of the back of his car to grocers. The rest, as they say, is history.
Potato Chip Nutrition
People always lament, “Why is it that foods that taste good are so bad for you?” Well, chips are not necessarily as “bad” as one may think, but they’re not exactly what you’d call a health food. Potato chips start out OK when they’re potatoes that are washed and peeled. Then, they are sliced by a machine to 1/20th of an inch thick. The slices are washed and dried, and then moved to the fryer (which is filled with hot oil). Once they’re cooked, the chips are lifted out of the oil, salted (most of the time), and sometimes seasoned. They’re then packaged and sent off to stores. (Speaking of seasonings, we have flavors like barbecue, cheddar, sour cream and onion, and salt and vinegar in the US. Other countries have flavors such as garlic, dill pickle, roasted chicken, wasabi, and paprika!).
The frying and the salting are where the nutritional value of potatoes goes downhill. For comparison purposes, let’s look at the nutritional value of a baked potato and a handful of chips:
Baked potato, 1 medium: 145 calories, 34 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of fiber, 0.2 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 8 milligrams of sodium
Potato chips, 1 ounce: 155 calories, 14 grams of carbohydrate, 1 gram of fiber, 11 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 149 milligrams of sodium
Interestingly, there’s not a big difference in calories between the two. The chips are obviously much higher in fat and do contain sodium (these are salted chips), although the sodium is not off the charts (a low-sodium food has no more than 140 milligrams per serving). The catch? An ounce of chips isn’t all that much. It’s a small handful, roughly 10 to 20 chips. Is that all you eat? Can you really eat just one, or ten, or twenty? Or do you keep reaching your hand in the bag?
No, potato chips aren’t all that “bad.” But, people typically don’t stick with just one serving, which is one ounce. And the chips usually replace healthier choices, such as fruits and vegetables. For example, if you’re asked if you’d like chips or some carrot sticks with your sandwich, which would you choose?
Reduced-fat and baked chips fare a little better in the calorie and fat categories, so they’re a better choice than the regular version. As with any lower-fat food, be careful with portions, though. And note that the carbohydrate goes up a little when the fat goes down.
Reduced-fat potato chips, 1 ounce: 134 calories, 19 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of fiber, 6 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 139 milligrams sodium
Baked potato chips, 1 ounce: 110 calories, 23 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 150 milligrams of sodium.
Unsalted potato chips, 1 ounce: 152 calories, 15 grams of carbohydrate, 1 gram of fiber, 10 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 2 milligrams sodium
Unsalted chips are obviously a much better choice, sodium-wise. But low-sodium doesn’t have anything to do with the fat or calorie content. By the way, if you favor salt and vinegar chips, you’ll swallow 380 milligrams of sodium per 1-ounce serving. Keep in mind that the sodium recommendations for the general public are no more than 2300 milligrams per day. If you’re a middle-aged or older adult; have high blood pressure, diabetes, or kidney disease; or are African-American, your goal is no more than 1500 milligrams of sodium per day. It’s hard to fit salty potato chips into a 1500-milligram sodium diet.
Fortunately, most brands of potato chips are free of harmful trans fats. And several brands are low in saturated fat. You could do worse with a snack food. Yet, the bottom line is that potato chips will probably never be considered a health food. It’s OK to enjoy them in moderation. But don’t let your love of chips crowd out healthier snack choices, like fruit, whole-grain crackers, or yogurt.
Make Your Own!
You might want to try your hand at making a healthier potato chip. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Heat up a cookie sheet in the oven. Start with one baking potato per person. Scrub it well but don’t peel it. Slice it as thin as possible (a mandolin is best for this). Spread the slices on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. If desired, sprinkle lightly with some sea salt. Bake the slices for 10 minutes, then turn the chips and bake for another 10 minutes. They should be lightly brown and crisp. Remove from the cookie sheet and cool on a paper towel. Then eat! Happy Potato Chip Day!