Are Sun Chips Really That Nutritious?

Finding healthier options of your favorite snacks sounds like a simple task, given the size of the food industry. Yet, what if your "healthy" version of a snack is not so healthy after all? That's where chips come in. Or, more specifically, Sun Chips.

Frito-Lay advertises the snack as "all natural" due to the ingredients. While yes, the chips contain fewer artificial ingredients than other popular brands, they are not as nutritious as you might think (via Eat This, Not That!). Sun Chips were Introduced in 1991, and in 2008, Frito-Lay brought a solar-powered plant online to manufacture the snack to lessen the company's carbon footprint. (A win for the environment!)

Whether it is Harvest Cheddar, Original, Garden Salsa, Chili Lime, or French Onion, fans are drawn in by the light and crunchy texture of the snack. The company claims that these chips are heart-healthy, with whole grains, less fat, and preservative-free ingredients, but is that the truth? Are Sun Chips a healthy snack? With genetically modified ingredients involved, the answer can be unclear.

What is actually in Sun Chips?

Instead of utilizing potatoes, like many traditional chips, Sun Chips are made with whole grains. According to Everyday Health, that means they are higher in fiber, at two grams per serving. However, the product is produced with genetically-modified corn. GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are manipulated through genetic engineering in a laboratory (via Non GMO Project).

This means significantly more pesticides and an association to Maltodextrin. Is It Bad For You? explains that this carbohydrate can increase your level of sugar in the blood and is related to gastrointestinal issues in certain individuals. As far as nutrition goes, there is a significant amount of sodium (120 milligrams) and fat (six grams).

It's true that Sun Chips are free of artificial flavors and preservatives. However, the genetically modified corn was found to contain the weed-killing chemical glyphosate through an analysis performed by GMO Free USA (via Prevention). This national advocacy group revealed that Roundup, the chemical normally utilized on GMOS, is linked to cancers, premature births, DNA damage, birth defects, and ADHD.

Are they still better than other chips?

Due to the fact that Sun Chips contain fiber, they can bulk up your diet and make you feel full faster. This enables you to digest food properly and maintain a healthy weight. The Washington Post explains that chips made from whole grains instead of potatoes can be considered healthy. Of course, there's a catch: That's true as long as you only consume the one-ounce serving size.

It is difficult to analyze which snacks are the best for you and why. The product still has more calories and fewer vitamins than your optimal snack (via Everyday Health). You know the saying: It is all about moderation. Sun Chips can still satisfy your hunger without having to overindulge in them. The original flavor is also vegan, as it is made without milk products.

On your next trip to the grocery store, make sure to check out the nutritional facts and do your research. After all, you never know if those "healthy" snacks are as nutritious as they appear.