Are vegetable or bean chips that much healthier than potato chips?

veggie chips

With the holiday season, there are more parties and more snack foods. In that context, It's been fun watching the proliferation of "healthy" chips in the snack food aisle. After all, it's been drilled into us that potato chips are bad for us, so it seems to make sense that kale chips, black bean chips - indeed anything not labeled "corn" or "potato"  are good for us. The Los Angeles Times and, subsequently,  Fooducate, took a look at the question and produced some interesting data. 

In the article, Chips expand beyond potato and corn; a garden awaits, The LA Times notes that chips are still chips and have fat, sugar, and salt in them. However, there can be some benefits with chips that have a lot of fiber (like those made from lentils or peas) as they will fill you up faster, or chips made from vegetables will often use "healthier" fats, including those made from nuts or seeds. However, they attribute the growing "healthy chip" popularity more to a desire for variety than health benefits, and, in fact, note that "Though snacks perceived as more healthful are outpacing much of the market, different permutations of potato and tortilla chips are projected to grow even more quickly than the many types of vegetables that are now being fried, baked and dehydrated into salted snack chips." 

And in The Chips Revolution - Not Just Potato and Corn Anymore, Fooducate compares potato chips, black bean chips, and kale chips and concludes,"All are about 1 ounce in serving. All have fats in them. The fats in the kale chips are mostly from the cashews and sunflower seeds, which is better than the frying oils of the other two chips. Ironically, the classic potato chip product has the shortest ingredient list. But then again, that's probably the reason potato chips have been around for so long - potatoes lend themselves to the form factor, unlike kale and beans that need to get work done to beat them into a chip form factor. From a fiber perspective, the bean chips win hands down. They are also mostly non-GMO. All three products are similar in calories and sodium."

So the bottom line ? Choose what you like or what makes you feel good because of taste, or value, or health worries, or the fun of being adventurous- but eat all chips in moderation.

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