Which crisp is healthier? The answer will surprise you

They’re cheap, they’re tasty and they’re easy to eat on the go. It’s no surprise then that the average Briton eats 66 grams, or just over two bags, a week. Tasty and convenient as they are, we always feel guilty for eating them: too processed, too much salt, too high in fat.

Maeve Hanan, dietitian and founder of Dietetically Speaking, suggests that crisps can be high in salt, fat and saturated fat, which studies have linked to adverse health outcomes such as obesity, cancer and heart disease. The Government recommends that men should eat a maximum of 30g of saturated fat per day, and 20g for women. Although a standard 25g bag of pre-salted crisps contains 7.7g of fat, only 0.6g of this is saturated, which would put it in the medium or ‘amber’ category of the Food Standards Agency’s traffic light labeling system, meaning ‘okay without eat most of it. the time’.

On the other hand, crisps contain energy in the form of carbohydrates, which nourish our bodies, and a small amount of fiber. And let’s not forget how delicious they are, as Hanan points out: “Food provides much more than just nutrition, and for many people, biscuits can make eating experiences enjoyable and satisfying.”

Are they so bad for us then? And how do our old sayings stack up against some of the newer, ‘healthier’ options? Let’s dig in.

Walkers Cheese & Onion Crisps

Nutrition per 100g (pack size 25g): 514 kcals, fat 29g (sat 2.4g), carbs 54g (sugar 2.6g), protein 6.3g, fiber 3.8g, salt 1.2g

Taste: You’ve got to hand it to Walkers, whether it’s just nostalgia or the 76 years they’ve been making crisps, this is the ultimate cheese and onion crisp, perfect thickness, not over-seasoned and super crisp.

Health: These crisps are ultra-processed food (UPF) and contain a long list of ingredients, some of which are unfamiliar. Otherwise, nothing too scary, maybe a little high in fat and salt, but fine as an occasional snack.


Nutrition per 100g (16g pack size): 536 kcals, 30.8g fat (2.7g saturated), 62.1g carbs (2.7g sugar), 2.5g protein, 1.2g fibre, 2.1g salt

Taste: Since I haven’t had quaff in about 30 years, I was surprised at how artificial the cheese tasted, with a strangely sweet, lingering aftertaste. Unpleasant.

Health: Another ultra-processed offering, with the flavor enhancer MSG listed twice in the ingredients for some reason. This crisp was the lowest in protein, the second lowest in fiber and the second highest in salt of those tested.

Doritos Tangy Cheese

Nutrition per 100g (30g serving size): 505 kcals, 26g fat (2.4g saturated), 58g carbs (2.7g sugar), 6.5g protein, 5.7g fibre, 1.2g salt

Taste: You can taste the toasted corn of the tortilla chip but there is far too much seasoning that reminds of smelling socks and is not tangy at all, despite the name.

Health: A long list of unsavory ingredients means we’re back in UPF territory, but these Doritos are surprisingly high in fiber and not as high in salt as you might imagine.

Pringles Salt & Vinegar

Nutrition per 100g (serving size 30g): 514 kcals, fat 29g (sat 6.3g), carbs 56g (sugar 2.5g), protein 5.7g, fiber 3.3g, salt 1.9g

Taste: The overpowering, almost nuclear taste of salt and vinegar might appeal to younger palates, but it was far too strong for my more mature palate.

Health: It won’t surprise you that these are ultra-processed and at the higher end of the scale for saturated fat and salt. Not the worst offender, but little to recommend them nutritionally.

Original Hula Hoops

Nutrition per 100g (serving size 24g): 499 kcals, fat 25g (sat 2.2g), carbs 65g (sugar <0.5g), protein 3.1g, fiber 2.6g, salt 1.4g

Taste: There’s something about the hula to hoop ratio that’s just perfect, and it’s the simple, light saltiness that makes these a true crisp classic.

Health: A nice surprise to see only six ingredients listed, and while it’s still technically a processed food the scale is definitely better. Also one of the lowest in sugar.

Kettle Chips Lightly Salted

Nutrition per 100g (25g serving size): 516 kcals, 29.5g fat (2.0g saturated), 53.7g carbs (0.4g sugar), 6.5g protein, 5.0g fibre, 0.7g salt

Taste: These crisps were my favourite, ‘fresh from the fryer’ flavour, just enough salt to season without making you mushy, and very crispy.

Health: As they proudly state on the packet, these crisps contain ‘absolutely nothing artificial’, just potatoes, vegetable oil and sea salt. They were the lowest in sugar and salt, better than average in protein and fiber but only slightly high in saturated fat. However my new dream go-to.

The ‘healthy’ crisps

Manufacturers have been quick to capitalize on our ‘crisp guilt’, and many ‘healthier’ crisps are now available on supermarket shelves. But as any savvy consumer knows, that doesn’t mean a product is meant to be healthier. The ‘health halo’ is a tactic used by companies to draw consumers’ attention to one beneficial aspect of a food, for example saying it is ‘high in fibre’, to make the food sound better for you than it actually is. really. As well as having some fibre, the same product could be highly processed and contain a lot of sugar, fat or salt.

Sour Cream & Onion Popchips

Nutrition per 100g (serving size 23g): 432 kcals, fat 13g (sat 1.7g), carbs 69g (sugar 4.4g), protein 6.7g, fiber 4.8g, salt 1.1g

Taste: I liked the crunchy texture of the popped chips but I felt they didn’t deliver enough in the way of sour cream and onion flavor. A little underwhelming.

Health: The advantage of being ‘popped not fried’ is evident in the lowest fat content in our test crisps by some margin. Unfortunately, the sugar content was the second highest and the ingredients list contains maltodextrin, a UPF additive. They don’t live up to the hype.

Chips Right Barbecue Lentil Chips

Nutrition per 100g (20g serving size): 469 kcals, 19.4g fat (2.9g saturated), 63.6g carbs (4.5g sugar), 9.5g protein, 0.9g fibre, 2.55g salt

Taste: I liked the tangy barbecue flavor here, not too sweet, but the crisps had a strange puffed tortilla texture that left a ‘pasty’ coating in the mouth.

Health: There’s nothing bad on the ingredients list, which is a big plus, but it’s the highest in salt and lowest in fiber of all the crisps in question, which is surprising given that it’s a high- Lentils are fiber.

Tyrrells Sea Salt Vegetable Crisps

Nutrition per 100g (serving size 30g): 540 kcals, fat 37.9g ​​(saturated 4.0g), carbs 40.6g (sugar 23.6g), protein 4.8g, fiber 9.0g, salt 1.1g

Taste: For full transparency I am a regular buyer of these crisps, I love the combination of root vegetable flavors and the slightly chewy texture.

Health: These were by far the highest in sugar due to the natural sugars in the vegetables, but no added sugar. They also had the highest fiber content in our selection, which mitigates any potential sugar spikes. I will still be buying them despite the high (natural) sugar content.

Off the Path Eating Caramelized Onion & Balsamic Vinegar Peas & Bean Sticks

Nutrition per 100g (serving size 30g): 448 kcals, fat 17.2g (sat 1.8g), carbs 59.1g (sugar 4.2g), protein 9.6g, fiber 9.1g, salt 2.0g

Taste: Reminiscent of Wheat Crunchies in shape and texture, I enjoyed eating these crisps, although the salt and vinegar flavor could have been a little stronger. Extra thanks for filling up the bag to save on packaging.

Health: Nothing too suspicious in the ingredients here and very low in fat, lots of fiber and the highest protein at 9.6g/100g. Just a little higher in salt than some of the others.

The conclusion

The result is that, when choosing crisps, or indeed any food product, ignore any big health claims on the front of the packet and go straight to the information on the back. Crisps marketed as ‘healthier’ crisps are often higher in saturated fat and salt and lower in fiber than regular ones, although the quality of the ingredients also needs to be taken into account.

It is always better for your health to choose those with minimal processing and natural ingredients without additives. On the other hand, crisps contain energy in the form of carbohydrates, which nourish our bodies, and a small amount of fiber. And let’s not forget how delicious they are. As for Hanan, what crisps does she recommend?

“I always recommend going for the type of crisp you like best, as this is best for your relationship with food.”

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