Veggie chips are not vegetables

Veggie ChipsNo, veggie chips are not vegetables.

You’ve got to give food marketers props.  They sure know how to dress up junk food and make it look healthy.  It could sound like a conspiracy to force people to make bad choices, but in my opinion it’s all about giving people an excuse to eat what they want.  Veggie chips are the perfect example of this phenomenon.

After the recent WalkTalkNutrition podcast on Health Halos, I decided to check out the veggie chip situation, and was horrified to discover how many brands and varieties there are.  Just check out some of the available brands.  The Health Halo word “veggie” predominates, pimped up with other feel-good terms like “garden”, “good health”, “natural”, “eat your vegetables” and “sensible portions”.  “Sea salt” is another sneaky but meaningless Health Halo term.  Oh, it comes from the sea.  It must be superior to regular old table salt.  Not.

So let’s be clear: eating veggie chips is not equal to eating vegetables, no matter how much vegetable powder fairy dust was mixed into the chip batter.  These are, first and foremost, chips.  The calories, fat, sodium and fiber are all similar to regular old potato chips.  Thanks to the vegetable powder, some veggie chips may have slightly more vitamin A than potato chips, but you’d get vastly more vitamin A (and a lot of other nutrients) by eating broccoli or kale or carrots.  Not to mention a lot more fiber, a lot less fat and fewer calories.

No matter what health halo term you see on the label, if you’re buying veggie chips, you’re buying chips — processed snack food with a lot of fat and salt.  If you want to eat more vegetables, eat actual vegetables — unprocessed food with a lot of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, without the fat and salt.

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