80 different products in the test
Off to the couch, TV on and a bag of chips to nibble on. Just a chip or two. Many nibblers know that it usually doesn’t stay that way. If only the little salty things weren’t there! That is why many people are now turning to supposedly healthier alternatives and getting chips that are not made from potatoes, but from beetroot, parsnip or sweet potato. After all, pulses and vegetables are good for the figure and the manufacturers promise crunch without regrets. But are vegetable chips really healthier? The consumer advice center NRW has tested it.
High in Fiber and Less Fat?
Specifically, the consumer advice center examined 37 chip variations based on legumes, 21 items with vegetable chips and 22 different puff snacks, which are offered by 27 manufacturers in stationary and online shops. Many of them are advertised with the most diverse health-related statements such as “less fat than …”, “high in fiber” or “high protein content”. First things first: Few products offer real calorie savings compared to normal potato chips.
Legume chips only 100 kilocalories less
In particular, chips made from legumes are often advertised with claims between 30 and 70 percent “less fat than conventional chips”. On closer inspection, however, it turns out that these statements are true, but that the lower fat content does not automatically mean a correspondingly lower amount of calories, according to the consumer advice center in North Rhine-Westphalia. For example, the statement “40 percent less fat than potato chips” for the products under consideration was accompanied by calorie quantities that are only 9 to 18 percent lower than those of potato chips. On average, the 37 different pulses made from legumes under review produce around 439 kilocalories per 100 grams. In comparison, potato chips averaged 536 kilocalories per 100 grams.
Vegetable chips are sometimes even greasier
In the case of vegetable crisps, the judgment of the consumer advice center is even tougher: the supposedly healthy alternative has an average of 496 kilocalories per 100 grams, which is only seven percent below the calorie content of potato crisps. What is particularly noticeable in this product group is the sometimes very high fat content. According to consumer protection, some products were even significantly higher than the fat content of potato chips.
Puffed snacks vary widely in terms of nutritional information
The conclusion of the consumer advice center: Chips or snacks made from beetroot, parsnips, sweet potatoes, corn, beans, lentils or peas are no healthier than potato chips or peanut flips.