NOTE: Although this post discusses Robert's American Gourmet veggie chips, it can be applied to any other brand with a similar ingredient list.
The packaging boasts "potato, spinach and carrot," as well as "natural," but a closer look finds that there is nothing healthy about this rather new snack food.
Contrary to popular belief, the inclusion of vegetables (usually in powdered form) to otherwise nutrient-void choices does not make them healthier.
Take a look at these ingredients: Potato Flour, Potato Starch, Spinach, Carrot, Beet Root Powders, Rice and/or Sunflower Oil and Salt.
True, there nothing is inherently unhealthy (i.e.: high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils). There is also nothing inherently nutritious.
A baked potato, consumed with its skin, offers fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and some B vitamins, all of which are non-existent in potato flour.
Keep in mind that a nutrition label lists ingredients by order of prominence by weight. In this product, potato flour and starch are the big players.
Yes, spinach and carrot are there, but a look at the nutrient values makes it clear they aren’t the featured stars of these chips.
A one and a half ounce serving contains:
6 grams fat
375 mg sodium
1.5 grams fiber
And as far as vitamins and minerals go, all we find is:
2% of the iron daily value
Remember, the more processed a food, the higher the sodium amount (and the lower the potassium). Granted, we do not know how much potassium is in this product, but keep in mind that whole fruits and vegetables contain virtually no sodium.
So, those 375 milligrams indicate this is not just a whole carrot being roasted and turned into a crispy chip.
Another clue this is basically just a potato chip with some spinach dust sprinkled on top? The low fiber amount. Vegetables are some of the best sources of fiber (a medium baked potato provides 4.5 grams, a cup of peas packs in 8, and a cup of brussel sprouts delivers 6.4!). These chips, though, deliver a weak 1.5 grams.
These veggie chips are by no means the equivalent of a larger order of McDonald’s fries. However, they are not a good choice if you are looking for a nutritious snack, despite what the packaging may have you believe.