Friday Food X-Ray: Veggie Straws

Veggie chips! 

That sounds like a healthy snack, doesn’t it?

At least, that’s what the food industry would like you to think!

Let’s have a closer look together.

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The label uses the word “garden“, “veggie“, “no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives” and “olive oil” to grab the attention of health-conscious consumers (you and me!).

It certainly made me grab a bag  and hope that it could be a healthy treat for me!

Turning the bag over to look at the label was a little disappointing, to say the least. 🙁

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Where are the veggies and olive oil??!

Here’s what I see from this ingredient list. 

These are NOT veggie chips.

They’re glorified potato chips with a dash of veggie and olive oil.

Here are 3 reasons why I won’t eat them

1. They are mostly made of potato and corn.

Regular potatoes are unfortunately on the dirty dozen list by the EWG,
which means that they contain high amounts of pesticide residues. 

And about 90% of the corn grown in North America is GMO (genetically modified).

To me these 2 are big NOs. 

I refuse to burden my body with harmful chemicals and GMOs.

I don’t want to encourage the food industry to keep using the cheapest and low-quality ingredients that are a big part of what is wrong with our health and that of the planet.

Remember that you vote with your dollar every time you buy food.
You CAN make a difference!

2. They contain vegetable processed oils
(with a sprinkle of olive oil…).

These veggie straws contain canola oil and/or safflower oil and/or sunflower oil

Don’t you love all of these “and/or” ?

To me, that pretty much means that:

* they don’t know for sure,
* it changes all the time depending on what is the cheapest one they can get, and
* they actually don’t really care.

It might be my own personal interpretation, but that’s how I feel when reading the ingredient list. 🙁

And I find it very funny that the olive oil is actually a blend of rosemary and olive oil seasoning. Don’t ask what that means. I am not even sure myself.

The front of the package is clearly misleading by claiming this food product contains olive oil. 

It turns out that the one of the very few healthy ingredients in these veggie straws in actually found in minute amounts. So small that you could never get any of the benefits olive oil confers. 

I don’t like encouraging companies with misleading packages. And I even go out of my way to avoid vegetable oils like canola oil (see last week post on mayonnaise and my rant on canola oil here).

3. They don’t contain veggies.

Don’t tomato paste, spinach powder and beetroot powder count as veggie?

Well, no! I don’t think we can count on the trace amounts of processed vegetables you get in these veggie straws to get your daily servings of vegetables!

Again, I don’t like encouraging companies with misleading packages. 

After reading the ingredient list, I had an almost uncontrollable
impulse to put the bag (and all the other ones) in a trash can.

*deep breath in and out*

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Nutritional value of these veggie chips = 0!

The healthier alternatives to veggie straws & potato chips

If I want to eat potato chips, I’ll buy organic potato chips like these ones made with coconut oil only. You can also find some made in 100% olive oil or avocado oil. These are great options too but remember that it’s best that the potatoes be organic to minimize your exposure to pesticides. 

Sweet potato chips are a good alternative because they contain low levels of pesticide residues, but make sure that they’re cooked with the right fats and that the other ingredients are okay.

Personally, I actually prefer plantain chips like these when I have a crunch cravings. Give them a try! They are completely different than potato chips but so yummy! 🙂

Organic coconut chips like these are also good to satisfy a crunch craving and a sweeter tooth.

And if you want to get a real serving of veggie, try kale chips like these (making sure the other ingredients and fats used are healthy too) or make your own (see video on how to here). 

What is your verdict?

Are you convinced to ditch veggie straws and regular potato chips?
I challenge you to start looking at food labels to become aware of all the foods containing
non-organic potatoes and corn as well as vegetable oils like canola oil.
Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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p.s. I am not picking on any brands. This is just ONE of MANY examples of how the food industry is trying to trick us into buying their products… The goal of Friday Food X-Ray is to shed light on this impostors and find healthier alternatives that help you feel as good as you deserve to feel!

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