Are Tortilla Chips Bad for You?

Tortilla chips are quite popular; you can find these chips everywhere, from school lunches to home parties to the tables of Mexican restaurants and large chains. But, the question is, are tortilla chips good for health? These chips are nothing but fried and salted corn tortillas. It is true that you can include corn tortillas in your diet without having to worry a lot about health problems, but those packaged tortillas can be different. Let's find out more about the issue.

Are Tortilla Chips Bad for You?

No one can blame you for thinking that those crunchy chips made from corn tortillas are a healthy snack option, but that is not true actually. The reason is that by opting for those seemingly harmless chips, you would be adding extra fat, calories, and sodium to your diet. So, are they bad for your health? Yes, they are, especially when you eat on a regular basis.

And it could be worse with packaged tortillas. So many unhealthy additives may be involved in the process of turning soft tortilla into a crunchy corn snack, and this can make those chips bad for your health.

If you really want to include them in your diet, you should only eat in moderation. It is quite like any other high-calorie, fried food, and too much of it can cause serious side effects, including water retention, weight gain, and an increased risk of developing hypertension and heart disease.

Side Effects of Tortilla Chips

Are tortilla chips bad for you? You ask. The answer really depends on how much you eat. Eat in excess and you will end up dealing with some serious side effects such as the ones covered below.

1. Weight Gain

Chips are high in calories and fat, you will be eating additional calories that increase your risk of gaining weight. You get about 430 calories from a basket of chips and salsa – it also provides you with about 22g of fat. Even if you eat only 1oz of tortilla chips, you would be putting 140 calories and 7g of fat into your body. Overtime, this increases your risk of becoming obese, which in turn leads to several problems, including hypertension, diabetes, and some forms of cancer.

2. Low Nutrition

Including tortilla chips in your diet to replace other more nutritious food options is never a good thing. Chips are not rich in minerals and vitamins. You will be better off eating some healthy snacks that provide you with any nutrients you may not be getting at meal times.

3. Hypertension

The presence of a high amount of sodium in chips makes them a bad choice if you already have some heart problems. An ounce of tortilla chips may contain up to 160mg of sodium – eating a bag would mean you are consuming more than an ounce of chips. Their high sodium content also increases your risk of developing hypertension even if you do not already have any cardiovascular problem.

Ideally, you should be consuming less than 2,300mg of sodium a day – go for even lower (around 1,500mg/day) if you already have hypertension. A high sodium diet increases your blood pressure that can lead to heart failure, stroke, kidney disease, and coronary heart disease. 

4. High Cholesterol

Are tortilla chips bad for you? Yes, they are, if you eat in excess. And one big reason is that it can increase your cholesterol levels. That happens because chips are rich in bad fat. Since these chips are deep-fried, their fat content goes up. Even worse, the fat found in chips is Trans-fat, which is the most dangerous type of fat, as it increases bad cholesterol levels.

Then How Much Can You Take?

You know tortilla chips are bad when eaten in excess, but it is equally important to know exactly how much is too much. Ideally, you should keep snacks within the 100-200 calories range. This helps satisfy your hunger without affecting your health. In case of tortilla chips, you should be eating no more than 1-ounce at a time. How many chips are included in 1-ounce serving is usually mentioned on the nutrition facts label on the chips. A 1-ounce serving may have up to eight chips, depending mainly on the size of the chips.

Healthy Alternatives You Can Try

Are tortilla chips bad for you? Yes and considering the negative effects of eating tortilla chips, you may already be looking for some better and healthier alternatives. A good idea would be to try baked tortilla chips. They container fewer calories and are low in fat as compared to fried chips. Alternatively, you can try unsalted whole-wheat pretzels with air-popped popcorns to keep your calorie intake low – you will also get additional fiber in this case. And of course, you can also try low-sodium baked apple chips or veggie chips to satisfy your hunger without having to deal with serious side effects. 

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