You are not alone if you’ve been hovering into pita chips lately. After all, it seems like an innocent yet tasty, crunchy, salty afternoon snack to go with your homemade hummus and dips.
Many people, like you (and me), enjoy snacking on a bagful of pita chips, often without thinking much about the nutrition of their afternoon snack. So, are pita chips healthy?
Pita chips don’t contain any beneficial nutrition. They have high calories and sodium, which can drastically increase your daily calories and fat intake, making them less healthy than they appear on the surface. They can take over your diet and send your calorie consumption through the roof in no time.
Read why pita chips are considered unhealthy and some healthier alternatives that can still give you the crunch you’re looking for!
Table of Content
Are Pita Chips Healthy or Not?
Chips made out of Mediterranean flatbread or pita chips are one of the most popular snacks in the world and have even been referred to as the snack that won’t quit due to its tremendous popularity.
Plus, they’re easy to pack into an office drawer or lunchbox and share with coworkers or family members. These flour-baked chips may be a tasty addition to your favorite dips, but they’re pretty unhealthy, especially if you eat them too often or in large quantities.
Pita Chips Nutrition Value
|Dietary Fiber||1.1 grams|
|Sodium||242 milligrams (10 percent DV)|
|Vitamin B6||0.03 milligram (2 percent DV)|
|Thiamine||0.16 milligram (11 percent DV)|
|Magnesium||10 milligrams (3 percent DV)|
|Zinc||0.27 milligram (2 percent DV)|
Are Pita Chips Good for Weight Loss?
Pita chips are not good for weight loss. They generally have a high calorie and fat content. A bag of pita chips can have nearly 500 calories and 30 grams of fat. Artificial flavors, preservatives, and additives may cause health problems.
In addition, most brands use glutinous white flour to produce them, which is low in fiber and not as nutritious as whole wheat flour. Finally, they’re not as filling as other snacks, so you will probably be hungry soon after eating them.
But it doesn’t mean you can’t satisfy your craving for pita chips once in a while!
7 Things That Make Pita Chips Unhealthy
Pita chips are widely available in most grocery stores and are very popular among snacking food enthusiasts. They are great if you like the taste of pita bread and enjoy snacking on something crunchy.
However, below is a list of things you wouldn’t love hearing if you are a pita chip lover.
- Pita chips are high in sodium. A single serving can have over 35% of the recommended amount of sodium.
- Pita chips are also high in fat. They commonly contain more than 15 grams of fat per serving, nearly half the number for a typical meal.
- Pita chips are high in calories, almost 457 calories in 100 grams of chips. If you’re trying to lose weight, this might not be your best snack.
- Packaged pita chips often contain artificial ingredients such as hydrogenated oils and monosodium glutamate (MSG), which can increase the risk factors for heart diseases.
- Pita chips are highly processed and are one of the most popular junk foods on the market today.
- Pita chips aren’t actually healthier than potato chips. Unlike potato chips, pita crisps don’t have a warning label about how many servings to eat in one sitting.
- Eating too many servings at once can lead to indigestion and heartburn.
The only way to avoid, if not reduce, all these downsides is by making your homemade pita chips using whole wheat pitas and seasoning blends instead of buying prepackaged ones.
We will see that in a bit.
Who Should Avoid Eating Pita Chips?
Pita chips aren’t healthy to eat every day, but munching on them occasionally wouldn’t cost you anything.
However, a few groups of people should avoid eating pita chips, especially the packaged ones, even if it’s for ‘once in a while.’ Avoid pita chips if you are:
On Keto Diet
Pita chips have a high carbohydrate content, which can kick you out of ketosis. In addition, packaged pita chips are usually fried, meaning they’re high in unhealthy fats.
They don’t fill you up and provide the nutrients necessary for the body to function at its best. Instead, the carb content makes you crave more of those salty and greasy goodness.
Gluten Intolerant/ Suffer from Celiac Disease
Pita chips contain gluten because they are made of white flour, which is glutinous. When people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity eat foods that contain gluten, they experience an immune reaction in their small intestines.
These reactions can cause damage to the lining of the small intestine. If this happens, your body cannot absorb nutrients from food properly because it can’t break down these nutrients properly.
The most common symptoms of celiac disease include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and chronic mouth ulcers.
Suffer from Heartburn
Besides being high in fat and calories, pita chips are often fried in unhealthy refined oils; sometimes, oils are re-used, increasing heartburn.
Moreover, bagged pita chips are often coated with spices that can trigger heartburn, and the acetic acid in vinegar can also be a problem for people with heartburn. In addition, pita chips are high in sodium, exacerbating heartburn symptoms.
In that case, pita chips can be a non-friendly snack for you if you have chronic heartburn issues.
Homemade Healthy Pita Chips
Not only are pita chips one of the most nutrition-devoid snacks you can get, but they also leave some unhealthy stuff inside your body. You won’t see the effects immediately, but definitely.
Does it mean you have to resist your cravings? Not really! All you need to do is just put a little effort and make it at home.
You can make your healthy version of pita chips at home following a few simple steps. To do this,
- Start by slicing whole wheat pita bread into thin strips
- Then place the slices on a baking sheet with a layer of olive oil on top
- Once they have browned evenly, remove them from the oven and sprinkle them with salt or any other flavorings you would like to add.
If you want something more ‘healthy,’ make the pita bread yourself at home with whole wheat flour. Whole wheat flour is a healthier alternative than white flour, which you get in packaged ones.
However, making pita chips at home doesn’t enrich it with a whole lot of nutrients. But at least you know what’s going in there. You can control the amount of salt (sodium) and oil used in the chips as you prefer.
Tastier, Yet Healthier Alternatives of Pita Chips
The heft of pita chips makes it more appealing than its substitutes like tortilla chips and potato chips as a dunker for dips.
While pita chips may be delicious, they are unfortunately not the healthiest option. However, plenty of other tasty snacks are healthier for you.
For example, baked kale chips or roasted chickpeas make excellent substitutes for pita chips. Both of these snacks have been shown to help with weight loss by suppressing your hunger for a long time and providing some essential nutrients required by the body.
If you feel like a crunchy snack to go with your dips or hummus, why not opt for fresh veggie sticks? They are nutritious and relatively high in fiber, which can significantly increase your daily intake if you aren’t getting enough.
Let’s look into some of the frequently asked questions on pita chips.
Are pita chips gluten-free?
Packaged pita chips are made from wheat flour, so they are not gluten-free. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. For people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you should avoid eating pita chips as they can cause serious health problems.
Are pita chips vegan?
In short- yes, pita chips are absolutely vegan-friendly. It is because no animal-derived ingredient is used in the making process. The essential ingredients to make pita chips are flour, oil, salt, spices, yeast, and sugar.
Are pita chips healthy for diabetics?
Yes- even if you are diabetic, you can munch on a few pita chips. Although the dough of the chips requires a hint of sugar, it does not trigger diabetics at all. However, you can make pita chips at home without adding too much sugar for better control over your health.
Are pita chips keto-friendly?
Pita chips are not considered keto friendly because they are high in carbs and calories. Pita chips have around 15 grams of carbs and 140 calories per serving, which can quickly add up if you’re not careful.
After reading, if you are thinking of making some pita chips at home and saving yourself for life, let me tell you- you are already thinking great! While homemade pita chips can be relatively healthy, that doesn’t mean you should eat them mindlessly. Be mindful of your portion size.
Hopefully, you will control yourself next time in the snack aisle before making a choice you might regret later!