Are you looking for the best low carb tortilla chips? It might seem like an impossible mission since a serving of corn has 22g of carbs. That’s nearly half the amount allowed on the low-carb Keto Diet. The key is to know which options are the best ones for people on programs like Keto and Atkins. That will help you stay on track and avoid going over your daily limit for carbohydrates. The good news is you can find lower-carb tortilla chips on the market. It can help you enjoy the crunchy goodness of the snack food without them being high-carb.
The key is to pick tortilla chip products that swap out high-carb ingredients and namely corn and grain. There are different options, like coconut flour and black beans. Such ingredients can allow you to eat 4x more chips before you get to 10g of carbs. Corn on the cob has 32g of carbs. This is the main issue. There’s no question that corn is healthy and in fact, it’s considered a superfood. However, it’s not allowed on low-carb diets due to the high carbohydrate content. So, it’s important to look for lower-carb ingredients to cut carbs.
Are Regular Tortilla Chips Low-Carb?
Here are the nutrition facts you’d normally get from a standard serving of 10 tortilla chips:
You get 70 calories in this serving, which is about 3% of a 2000-calorie diet. It’s not too high compared to other snack foods. However, the big question is whether you’re getting a high amount of nutrients from corn chips. This figure also doesn’t include any dips that you might add, which can be high-calorie depending on the ingredients.
There’s about 12g of carbs in this serving. It’s nearly one-quarter of the total carbs allowed on the Keto diet. This might not seem too high. However, consider that this is a snack. If you’re going to eat three square meals, then you’ll have to add this amount to the daily total, which can cause you to get to 50g faster on Keto. That, in turn, can kick you out of the state of ketosis. That can lead to unwanted results like weight gain.
You get 2.4g of fats in a single serving of tortilla chips. Most of the fat is unsaturated fat, which is generally healthier than saturated fat. When on diets like Keto you should be getting most of your calories from healthy fats and this can be up to 80% of your total caloric intake.
You also get a small amount of protein at 1.4g. This might be surprising since the food is made from corn. However, it’s highly-processed, which reduces the nutritional value of the whole food. However, it helps a little with your daily protein requirements.
Vitamins and Minerals
You get small amounts of these nutrients. They include 3% of calcium’s daily value, 2% of iron, and 1% of potassium. So basic tortilla chips aren’t a great source of different vitamins/minerals. However, they can still help you get your daily needs.
Best Low Carb Tortilla Chips
1. Grain-Free Chips by Siete
The first ingredient is cassava flour. It also contains coconut flour, avocado oil, and ground chia seed. The coconut flour helps to lower cassava’s higher GI. Another benefit of this product is avocado oil. This is a healthier option than basic vegetable oil.
2. Coconut Flour Chips by The Real Coconut
This is an interesting product since coconut flour is the first ingredient. So, it hasn’t been combined with corn. It’s a plus in terms of keeping the food low-carb. The ingredients include cassava starch and coconut oil.
There are various benefits of this product. Besides the low carb count, you also get other benefits. They include healthy MCT fats from coconut oil. It’s unknown how much cassava starch is added but it’s a secondary ingredient compared to coconut flour.
3. Protein Chips by Quest
This is a Doritos-like chip that’s available in basic Ranch and Nacho cheese flavors. One of the big differences is a 32g bag only has 3g to 4g of net carbs. It’s also easier to control portion sizes since this product is only available in snack-size bags.
One of the main benefits of this product is related to texture. You get a lighter crisp versus other products. This makes it a good option to eat solo instead of pairing with stuff like salsa and guacamole.
These are so low-carb you can eat 40 before you reach 10g of carbs. Usually, that’s done with just 10 regular tortilla chips. What’s the big deal? It’s due to something called “nopal powder.” When it’s combined with the corn tortilla it lowers the carb count.
You won’t have to sacrifice taste for lower carbs. One of the plusses of these corn chips is they’re baked not fried and are unsalted. This provides the taste/texture of traditional tortillas This makes it more like baked Tostitos.
Why Standard Tortilla Chips are High Carb
Various factors affect the nutrient facts of tortilla/corn chips. They start with the ingredients themselves. The first ingredient is usually corn, which is high-carb. One ear of corn has 32g of carbs. This is over 60% allowed for one day on the Keto Diet.
Corn is a superfood. It’s loaded with lots of nutrients including vitamins/minerals and fiber. However, the main issue if you’re on a low-carb diet is carbs. If you’re doing carb cycling then corn is a good pre-workout meal along with rice, wheat, and potatoes. These are good carbs that can give you an energy boost for high-intensity workouts.
However, it’s quite another story if you’re on a diet like Keto or Atkins. In that case, it’s critical to keep your meals and snacks low-carb. Even a tortilla chip is made from high-quality organic corn it’s still going to be high-carb due to the grain/vegetable itself.
Another health-related factor is whether the chips are baked or fried. If you’re looking for a healthier option then go with baked chips. This will reduce the fat content and also avoid the cheap vegetable oils that are usually used for preparing snack foods. You’ll have to pay more for baked corn chips but it might be worthwhile due to the health benefits you get.
Another issue is the chips’ main ingredients. For example, low-carb chips often include ingredients like coconut or cassava flour. These ingredients are lower-carb. You get the most benefits when they’re the first ingredient in the product instead of a secondary ingredient.
An X-factor is your portion sizes. Even if you find a low-carb chip the calories can add up if you eat a big bag instead of 10 chips. So, make sure to keep your portion sizes small. This will allow you to enjoy some crunchy goodness with the best low carb tortilla chips.