12 Unhealthiest Store-Bought Tortilla Chips

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Let's face it — it's hard to pass up a good store-bought tortilla chip. Crispy, crunchy, and salty ... what's not to love? Still, not every tortilla chip is the same. There are some that sport more additives than others, complete with artificial colors and strange-sounding ingredients. In this post, we're cracking open the details on which tortilla chips contain concerning ingredients, along with information on why these ingredients are so concerning in the first place. Please note that because most tortilla chips have been fried in oil, the vast majority of them will contain a good amount of fat, calories, and salt. We get that. The point of this post, however, is to uncover what hides beneath by exposing some of those lesser-known ingredients that often make it into your chip bag so you can make a more informed decision about which tortilla chips will be granted the golden opportunity to make it into your tummy. 

From popular brands to generic store grabs, we're ready to dish on some of the unhealthiest store-bought tortilla chips we could find on the market. Ready to take a peek at what lurks within? Stick with us.

1. Fieras Chili & Lime Spicy Corn Rolled Tortilla Chips

Looking for something cheap? You can pick up a bag of these tortilla chips at some Dollar Tree locations for only $1.25, but if you're looking for something healthy, these aren't it. Fieras Chili & Lime Spicy Corn Rolled Tortilla Chips come packed with a whole lotta flavor – and a whole lotta additives, too. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) – which has sometimes been believed to cause unwanted symptoms like headaches and sweating — lands on the list along with artificial colors, many of which can have controversial outcomes for certain people. Red No. 40, for example, has benzene in it, which, according to Cleveland Clinic, carries with it the risk for cancer and is also connected to sneezing, migraines, behavioral problems, and hyperactivity in children.

Maltodextrin is another ingredient found in Fieras Chili & Lime Spicy Corn Rolled Tortilla Chips, and is known to cause sharp spikes in blood sugar, an imbalance in gut bacteria, and side effects in those who may be sensitive or allergic, according to Medical News Today. Thus, while we're certain that these inexpensively priced chili and lime corn tortilla chips taste the part, they certainly aren't the best when comparing their ingredients against other tortilla chips on the market.

2. Doritos Cool Ranch Flavored Tortilla Chips

Love Doritos? We feel you. Doritos have that one-of-a-kind flavor that is often imitated but never quite duplicated in terms of its intoxicating flavor. And while you may love munching on these original flavored tortilla chips, they aren't the best for your health in terms of ingredients added.

Taking Doritos Cool Ranch Flavored Tortilla Chips as an example, expect to find Blue No. 1, known for allergic reactions in some people according to the Center For Science in the Public Interest, and Red No. 40 covering your chips (along with other colors). You'll also get a dose of monosodium glutamate, maltodextrin, and artificial flavoring. Dextrose, which often has an impact on people in much the same fashion as other types of sugar, runs the risk of unnecessary weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and liver disease. It's also been thought to make anxiety and depression symptoms experienced by certain individuals worse, meaning dextrose could potentially have a gnarly effect on mental health for some, according to WebMD. There are other ingredients in Cool Ranch Doritos we aren't too fond of as well, like sodium acetate, and for that reason, we're designating these chips as some of the unhealthiest tortilla chips out there.

3. Tostitos Hint of Guacamole Flavored Tortilla Chips

Guacamole-flavored tortilla chips? Sign us up! Tostitos undoubtedly outdid themselves with this one, pairing the deliciousness of guacamole flavor with its classic salted tortilla chip; but is it healthy? Well....

According to the ingredients label, Tostitos Hint of Guacamole Flavored Tortilla Chips come with artificial flavors, colors, and additives. As far as artificial coloring goes, we can't say we're too crazy about the yellow and blue dyes used. Yellow No. 5, specifically, is associated with an increased risk of colon cancer when consumed over time due to its effect on white blood cells, according to Healthline. It's also important to note that food dyes in general can have a negative effect on the behavioral health of children, although some children may be more sensitive to food dyes than others.

In addition to artificial colors, Tostitos Hint of Guacamole Flavored Tortilla Chips contain maltodextrin, which is an additive often used as filler in food. It causes sharp spikes in blood sugar and has an even higher glycemic index than table sugar does, according to Medical News Today. Maltodextrin may also have a negative effect on gut bacteria. With all things considered, Tostitos Hint of Guacamole Flavored Tortilla Chips, though tasty, might not be your best option when it comes to tortilla chip snacking.

4. Great Value Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips

Great Value Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips might be a great deal at $2.24 per bag, but it isn't so great in terms of health. Despite being advertised as "naturally flavored," these tortilla chips contain other ingredients that still cause us concern, even if the flavoring is presumably natural.

First and foremost, Great Value Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips contain artificial colors, which we've already confirmed is less than ideal when it comes to certain health ailments like cancer and behavior-related issues in children. Beyond that, this bag of chips also contains maltodextrin as well as monosodium glutamate, often referred to as MSG, which may trigger headaches and a fluttering heartbeat in sensitive individuals.

Not concerning enough? Disodium guanylate, also found in Great Value Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips, functions much like MSG and, thus, may cause similar reactions in people who are sensitive to MSG. Not only this, but disodium guanylate adds to sodium levels in whatever it graces, and as a result, those with kidney stones or people who are looking to lower their sodium intake should be very leery of this ingredient, according to Healthline. Overall, this bag of Great Value tortilla chips might be cheap, but it also isn't going to be the healthiest grab out there.

5. Meijer Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips

‌Another generic store brand grab, Meijer Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips stacks up in a way very similar to the generic Walmart version of nacho cheese chips. This includes the same concerning ingredients, only this time we're seeing Polysorbate 80 added to the mix.

In case you aren't familiar, Polysorbate 80 is an additive often found in baked goods and other processed foods. It works as an emulsifier the same way that similarly named additives do, such as Polysorbate 60 and Polysorbate 65. According to the Center For Science in the Public Interest, these emulsifying agents work well for tasks like keeping oil from separating and helping to prevent certain food items from spoiling. Even so, additives like these can sometimes prove risky when it comes to long-term health. Though more studies are needed regarding human studies, testing done on mice concludes that Polysorbate 80 and other additives like it may disrupt the mucous lining of the gut and also cause inflammation.

Outside of Polysorbate 80, you also expect to find artificial colors in Meijer Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips like Yellow 6, Red 40, and others. Monosodium glutamate and disodium guanylate are thrown in for good measure. Thus, we recommend eating these in moderation if guarding your health is a major priority for you.

6. Great Value Glacier Ranch Tortilla Chips

‌Similar to the nacho cheese variety, these Great Value Glacier Ranch Tortilla Chips, also produced by Walmart, contain many of the ingredients we've warned you about thus far. Monosodium glutamate, artificial colors, and disodium guanylate can be found here, and you'll also see dextrose making an appearance which, as we've said before, is linked to an increased risk for certain ailments including heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

Unfortunately, these aren't the only additives to think twice about when stuffing your face full of these albeit delicious tortilla chips from Walmart. Great Value Glacier Ranch Tortilla Chips also feature an additive known as titanium dioxide. According to the Center For Science in Public Interest, titanium dioxide can accumulate in the body over time, increasing the risk for cancer and even causing genetic damage to the nervous system or the immune system. Because of this, many concerns have been raised over the use of this additive, especially given that it often falls under the umbrella of "artificial color" on food labels rather than being listed by itself.

Phew! After all of those risks, we'd have to confirm that Great Value Glacier Ranch Tortilla Chips probably aren't the greatest for long-term consumption.

7. Tortiyahs! Guacamole Superior Dipping Chips

Tortiyahs! Guacamole Superior Dipping Chips certainly look promising at first blush. The packaging is full of delicious claims like the use of sea salt and stone-ground corn, with modern graphics that lead us to believe this is one of those trendy and healthy tortilla chips. With that said, a closer look at the ingredients tells a bit of a different story, and several ingredients featured in the chips make us question how healthy these chips really are.

Tortiyahs! Guacamole Superior Dipping Chips come sprinkled with monosodium glutamate, which packs with it several ramifications, especially for those sensitive to the substance. Headaches, fluttering heartbeat, flushed skin, and weakness are just a few of the symptoms that people sensitive to MSG experience. In addition, Tortiyahs! Guacamole Superior Dipping Chips contain artificial colors, with the likes of Yellow No. 5, Yellow No. 6, and Blue No. 1 making the list. Lastly, these chips feature maltodextrin in their ingredients, which, as we mentioned before, can have an effect on your body similar to sugar, but worse, according to Medical News Today. Needless to say, you might want to steer clear of these chips, especially if you plan to consume them on a regular basis.

8. Takis Rolled Blue Heat Tortilla Chips

‌If you haven't guessed by now, anything with an electric blue hue isn't exactly going to earn bonus points for being healthy, especially when it comes to tortilla chips. Granted, we know there's such a thing as a blue corn tortilla chip, and we're all for those, but when it comes to Takis Rolled Blue Heat Tortilla Chips, that blue color isn't exactly "all natural."

Let's back up a bit. Takis Rolled Tortilla Chips contain all sorts of additives, many of which just sound bad from the start. TBHQ, for instance, sounds like a bunch of letters just thrown together, and definitely isn't a staple in the common kitchen pantry. With that said, TBHQ works as an antioxidant that keeps food fresher for longer. The problem is that this compound is of the artificial sort and comes with certain risks you ought to know about. According to MedicineNet, an increased risk of cancer, food allergies, and more have been associated with this additive, and unfortunately, we see it sitting pretty right next to a slew of other additives in the Takis Rolled Blue Heat Tortilla Chips ingredient list.

Other offenders include Blue No. 1, maltodextrin, disodium guanylate, and more. Not sure about you, but this isn't something most of us would constitute as a healthy tortilla chip.

9. Julio's Seasoned Corn Tortilla Chips

‌We thought this might be an interesting addition to our list of unhealthiest store-bought tortilla chips, albeit a little different from the rest. Up until now, most of the unhealthy tortilla chips featured here have been chock-full of artificial colors, strange-sounding ingredients, and more. In this case, Julio's Seasoned Corn Tortilla Chips are a seemingly very basic grab yet feature a surprising additive that stands out among the otherwise healthy and minimalistic ingredients.

What are these mystery ingredients, you might ask? MSG, actually. Surprisingly, this seemingly ordinary tortilla chip packs a little more than what you'd expect in the flavor department, especially when compared to similar basic tortilla chips. The difference seems to be that this particular chip comes "seasoned" by which we assume they mean "doused in MSG." In any event, monosodium glutamate may cause certain folks a variety of issues, though most of the symptoms do at least seem to be short-term. Nevertheless, this is an ingredient we think this tortilla chip could do without – especially for those who find themselves negatively affected by it.

10. Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili Flavored Tortilla Chips

Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili Flavored Tortilla Chips definitely sound delish, but how do they stack up healthwise? Not very well, we're afraid. Like so many of the other unhealthy tortilla chips on the list, the main offender here is the additives contained in each crispy, crunchy chip you encounter. Ingredients like caramel coloring, sodium diacetate, monosodium glutamate, and more have the potential to lead to unsavory outcomes, especially when they are consumed in large amounts over long periods of time.

To be specific, caramel coloring is said to have caused cancer in both male and female lab mice when produced with ammonia, according to Consumer Reports. Sodium diacetate is another additive found in Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili Flavored Tortilla Chips, which works to give the chips a tangy vinegar-esque flavor. The problem is that this same additive can sometimes be used as a pesticide in non-food instances and may cause a variety of ill effects to certain individuals,  including allergic reactions and issues with digestion, when it is consumed in excess. Though this is a tasty tortilla chip, it certainly isn't one we feel comfortable designating as a healthy snack.

11. Quest Hot Spicy Flavor Tortilla-Style Protein Chips

‌All right, so we get that these are technically tortilla-style chips, but we thought we'd include them since Quest is such a popular brand. Marketed as a seemingly healthy tortilla chip, these Quest Hot Spicy Flavor Tortilla-Style Protein Chips pack protein with as much as 19 grams and are geared towards low-carb dieters, as each serving contains around 4 grams of net fiber.

Groovy, right? Eh, kind of. We get that these tortilla chips are high in protein and low in carbs, but what about those artificial colors and the presence of whey protein isolate? We've already given our spiel on artificial colors and the havoc they can wreak on certain individuals when consumed frequently and on a long-term basis. As for the whey protein isolate, well, whether or not that's a concern is up for you to decide. What we do know is that whey protein can sometimes lead to unsavory outcomes for some, including acne, bloating, headache, tiredness, reduced appetite, and more, according to WebMD.

Yeah, these chips may pack a punch in terms of protein, but in our eyes, Quest Hot Spicy Flavor Tortilla-Style Protein Chips is just the same old song and dance when it comes to risky additives.

12. Sabritas Turbos Flamas

‌Sabritas Turbos Flamas can be found at Target and are essentially a twisted version of tortilla chips that are sprinkled with plenty of, ahem, "spices" to get your tastebuds in a tizzy. ‌Sabritas Turbos Flamas makes the naughty list of unhealthiest tortilla chips because, as you likely know by now, they contain an excessive number of additives, many of which may prove risky to your long-term overall health. The bright red hue of these chips is the first clue that things aren't quite right, as red and yellow artificial colors are clearly observed on the ingredients list. In addition, expect to get a dose of many of the additives discussed earlier in the post including maltodextrin, monosodium glutamate, sodium diacetate, disodium guanylate, and more.

No, these were never meant to be a "healthy" treat, and yes, it is perfectly plausible to expect you might grab these for a snack every now and again. But as with anything highly processed, Sabritas Turbos Flamas should be consumed in moderation to avoid the negative outcomes often associated with additives like the ones found in these tortilla chips. Now you know!


We determined the unhealthiest store-bought tortilla chips by a simple scan of ingredient lists from brand to brand. We considered generic store-brand tortilla chips as well as popular brands to give the post as much variety as possible. Tortilla chips that contain worrisome additives are included, especially those featuring monosodium glutamate or artificial colors, since plain tortilla chips tend not to contain these additives (in most cases). Also, it is important to note that chips that were simply high in fat, calories, or salt were not included, as most tortilla chips, flavored or plain, will include some fat, calories, and sodium. 

Hey, don't blame us if your favorite brand made the list. It's all in good fun, but it's also good to know what's hiding in your chip bag. Happy snacking!