Fritos are one of the most beloved snacks many people grew up eating.
They are a nostalgically crunchy and delicious part of childhood memories, whether enjoyed at a baseball game or packed in a school lunch.
However, when it comes to health, are Fritos bad for you?
Short answer: While Fritos may taste great, they are bad for you as they are extremely low in nutritional value and contain artificial colors and flavors and risky additives.
In this post, I have compiled a list of 5 reasons why to avoid Fritos.
But before getting to the list, let’s take a look on Fritos nutritional value and ingredients.
Nutritional value of Fritos
A single serving(28g) of Fritos(Original) has:
- Calories: 160
- Carbohydrates: 16g
- Sugar: 0g
- Fat: 10g
- Protein: 2g
- Fiber: 1g
- Calcium: 30mg
- Sodium: 170mg
- Iron: 0.2mg
- Potassium: 30mg
What are Fritos made up of?
When it comes to the ingredients, Original Fritos are made of only three simple components: corn, corn oil, and salt.
However, the flavored Fritos come with a long list of ingredients.
For example, the ingredients in Fritos Honey BBQ flavor include corn, corn oil, salt, maltodextrin, sugar, brown sugar, onion powder, monosodium glutamate, dextrose, honey solids, spices, tomato powder, molasses solids, yeast extract, artificial colors (yellow 5 lake, yellow 6 lake, blue 2 lake, red 40, yellow 5, blue 1), natural and artificial flavors, garlic powder, corn starch, citric acid, disodium inosinate, and disodium guanylate.
5 Reasons Fritos are bad for you
1. Low in nutrition
Fritos are low in nutritional value and provide little to no health benefits.
A one-ounce serving(28g) of Fritos contains 2g of protein, 30mg of calcium, 0.2mg of iron and 30mg of potassium which is very low.
In addition, Fritos are made from corn, which is a starchy carbohydrate. This means they are also not a good source of fiber(1g per serving).
Moreover, the processing that Fritos undergo eliminates the number of vitamins and minerals that the original corn has.
So, while Fritos may be tasty, they are not a good snack choice in terms of nutrition.
2. Use of artificial colors
One of the main reasons to avoid Fritos is that some of its flavors use artificial colors, such as Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Blue 1.
While all these colors have been deemed safe by food authorities, they are associated with various health issues.
For example, artificial colors like Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 have been found to be contaminated with carcinogens like benzidine and p-Cresidine.
On the other hand, colors like Blue 1 and Blue 2 have been found to cause hypersensitivity reactions(especially in children).
Moreover, these artificial colors have also been linked to allergic reactions such as hives, rashes, swelling, and skin reactions.
3. Use of artificial flavors
In addition to artificial colors, Fritos also uses artificial flavors among its flavors.
However, those flavors have not been revealed by Fritos on packets.
While the use of artificial flavors is not always a bad thing, food companies must label what flavors they use. This is because some people might be allergic to these flavors, which is a health concern.
4. Not good for diabetics
Fritos are not an ideal choice for people with diabetes as they are processed and high in simple carbs that can have a significant rise in blood sugar levels.
In addition, Fritos contain maltodextrin, a white powder made from corn starch which is high in glycemic index(105-185) and, on consumption, can spike blood sugar levels.
5. Use of risky additives
Another reason that makes Fritos bad for you is that they are full of risky additives such as MSG, Maltodextrin and Dextrose.
All these additives are used to enhance the flavors of the Fritos chips, but they are controversial.
For example, MSG in studies is associated with possible toxic effects such as CNS disorder, obesity, hepatic damage, and reproductive malfunctions.
Maltodextrin can lead to spikes in blood sugar levels and has also been found to cause gastrointestinal issues.
Furthermore, dextrose is a type of sugar that, if consumed excessively, can lead to weight gain, obesity and type-2 diabetes.
Are Fritos good for weight loss?
Fritos may be lower in sugar, but they are not an ideal food choice for weight loss as they are made by deep-frying, are high in simple carbs, and are full of additives like Maltodextrin and dextrose which has been linked to weight gain in studies.
If you are looking to lose weight, it would be best to avoid overconsumption of Fritos, especially the flavored varieties such as Honey BBQ, Chilli cheese and Flamin’ Hot.
Note that weight loss depends not on one specific food but on your overall diet.
Are Fritos better than potato chips?
When compared nutritionally, Fritos does not significantly differ however they have higher levels of calories, fat and sodium than most of the potato chips available.
Here is the comparison of Fritos to other potato chips available in the market
Fritos may be a tasty treat, but they are not healthy, particularly the flavored varieties, as they are extremely low in nutritional value and contain artificial colors and flavors(unrevealed) and risky additives.
In addition, they are also not an ideal choice for diabetics and people looking to lose weight.
Moreover, they are also not healthier when compared to other potato chips available on the market.
However, if you still wish to eat them, opt for only the Original, Lightly salted and Scoops Fritos flavors as they use only three ingredients and contain no unnecessary additives.
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Fritos is currently available in 7 flavors which includes Original, Lightly salted, Scoops, Honey BBQ, Chilli cheese, Flamin’ hot, and Spicy Jalapeño.
Fritos are processed which makes them a major source of calories, fat and sodium. If consumed in excess, they can be bad for your heart.
Fritos are made by deep-frying, and are above average in calories, which can be fattenning if consumed in excess.
Only the Original, Lightly salted, and Scoops flavor of the Fritos are gluten-free.
Only the Original, Lightly salted, Scoops and Honey BBQ flavor of the Fritos are dairy-free.
Fritos are fried as they are made using deep frying in oils like corn, sunflower or canola.
Fritos might upset your stomach especially when you eat them in excess. This is because they are fried and contain ingredients like maltodextrin which have been associated with some gastrointestinal issues such as bloating and gas.