Are Fritos Bad For You? 5 Reasons To Avoid Them

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.

Also read: Are Baked Hot Cheetos Healthy? Let’s Find Out

Nutritional value of Fritos

Fritos come in multiple flavors such as original, scoops, spicy jalapeno, lightly salted, Honey BBQ, Chili cheese, and flamin hot.

Here’s the table showing the nutritional value of each flavor.

Spicy jalapeno16091621200
Lightly salted16010162180
Honey BBQ16091621200
Chili cheese160101621210
Flamin hot160101621170
Per 28g serving

What are Fritos made up of?

Fritos comes in different flavors.

Therefore, the exact ingredients can vary depending on the flavor you choose.

The Original, Scoops and Lightly Salted flavors consist of just three basic ingredients: corn, vegetable oil (corn and/or canola), and salt.

However, for other flavors, you’ll find a more extensive list of ingredients, such as:

  • Maltodextrin (Made from Corn)
  • Monosodium Glutamate
  • Spices
  • Natural Flavors
  • Onion Powder
  • Dextrose
  • Sugar
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Tomato Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate
  • Whey
  • Artificial colors

5 Reasons Fritos are bad for you

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 corn undergo eliminates the number of vitamins and minerals that the original corn has.

So, while Fritos may suit your taste buds, they are not a nutritious snacking option.

2. Use of artificial colors

One of the main reasons to avoid Fritos is that couple of its flavors uses artificial colors. These includes 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)[1].

Moreover, these artificial colors have also been linked to allergic reactions such as hives, rashes, swelling, and skin reactions[2].

3. Use of artificial flavors

In addition to artificial colors, Fritos also uses artificial flavors among its chips.

However, those flavors have not been revealed by Fritos.

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 highly processed ingredients

Another reason that makes Fritos bad for you is that they are full of highly processed ingredients such as MSG, Maltodextrin and Dextrose.

All these ingredients are used to enhance the flavor 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 can be considered good for weight loss as they are lower in sugar and contain 160 calories per serving, which is not much.

However, it’s important to consume them in moderation they are packed with highly processed ingredients like maltodextrin and dextrose.

Studies have shown that eating more processed foods can increase the risk of weight gain[3][4].

If you are looking to lose weight, it would be best to consume Fritos in moderation, especially the flavored varieties such as Honey BBQ, Chili cheese and Flamin’ Hot.

Note that weight loss depends not only on one food but overall diet and lifestyle.

Are Fritos better than potato chips?

When compared nutritionally, Fritos does not significantly differ to potato chips.

Fritos 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

Per 28g serving

Are Fritos gluten-free?

Fritos are gluten-free as they do not contain any gluten-based ingredients.

Are Fritos vegan?

Fritos come in both vegan and non-vegan flavors.

The vegan flavors include original, scoops, lightly salted and honey bbq.

The non-vegan flavors include spicy jalapeno, chili cheese, and flamin hot.

Final words

Fritos may be super delicious, but they are not healthy, particularly the flavored varieties.

There are many reasons for this such as:

  • They are extremely low in nutritional value.
  • They contain artificial flavors.
  • They contain various artificial colors.
  • They contain highly processed ingredients.

Additionally, they are also not an ideal choice for diabetics.

However, if you still wish to eat Fritos, opt for the Original, Lightly salted and Scoops flavors. These flavors uses only three ingredients and contain no unnecessary additives.

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Here are a few other posts that might also be helpful for you:


How many flavor of Fritos?

Fritos is currently available in 7 flavors which includes Original, Lightly salted, Scoops, Honey BBQ, Chilli cheese, Flamin’ hot, and Spicy Jalapeño.

Are Fritos bad for your heart?

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.

Are Fritos fattenning?

Fritos are made by deep-frying, and are above average in calories, which can be fattenning if consumed in excess.

Are Fritos fried?

Fritos are fried as they are made using deep frying in oils like corn, sunflower or canola.

Can Fritos upset your stomach?

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.

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Yatender is the founder of Investohealth! He provides thoroughly researched, unbiased reviews analyzing packaged foods' ingredients, nutrition, and health impacts. Join him on a quest for healthier, more informed eating habits.

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