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Are Chickpea Chips Bad For You?

Also Known As: Chickpea crisps, Chickpea snacks



Short answer

Chickpea chips are often considered a healthier snack choice compared to traditional potato chips due to their higher protein and fiber content and typically lower calorie count. However, the health value can be compromised by added sodium, fats, and preservatives, which may negatively impact cardiovascular health and blood sugar control. Carefully reading nutrition labels for these factors is essential, and moderation is recommended, even with these seemingly healthier snack options.



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Long answer

Nutritional Profile of Chickpea Chips

Chickpea chips are marketed as a healthier alternative to traditional potato chips, but what exactly does that mean from a nutritional standpoint? Let’s delve into the primary nutritional components that define chickpea chips.

Calories: Generally, chickpea chips contain fewer calories than potato chips. An average serving size of chickpea chips, about 28 grams or 1 ounce, typically ranges from 110 to 130 calories, which is slightly lower than the calorie count for a similar serving of potato chips.

Macronutrients: The macronutrient balance in chickpea chips reflects their plant-based origin. They tend to be higher in protein and fiber compared to potato chips, thanks to the primary ingredient: chickpeas. For instance, a serving might contain the following:

  • Protein: 3-5 grams – Chickpeas are a good vegetarian source of protein, which is essential for muscle repair and growth.
  • Fiber: 2-4 grams – Dietary fiber aids in digestion and can help manage blood sugar levels.
  • Fats: 5-8 grams – The fat content largely depends on the oil used in the baking or frying of the chips. Some may have higher amounts of mono- or polyunsaturated fats, which are considered heart-healthy.
  • Carbohydrates: 15-20 grams – Given their legume-based nature, chickpea chips contain complex carbohydrates which are beneficial for sustained energy release.

Micronutrients: Chickpea chips can be a valuable source of certain vitamins and minerals. They usually contain more iron and potassium compared to potato chips. However, since they are a processed snack, it's important to check if they contain added vitamins and minerals or if their micronutrient content comes naturally from the chickpeas.

Added Ingredients: While chickpeas themselves are nutritious, it’s important to consider the additional ingredients in chickpea chips that can impact their nutritional value:

  • Salt: Watch for sodium content, as some brands may add excessive salt to enhance flavor boosting the sodium levels.
  • Seasonings and additives: Flavorings, whether natural or artificial, can alter the nutritional profile. It's ideal to look for options with minimal and recognizable ingredients.
  • Sugars: Some chickpea chips may contain added sugars which can detract from their health benefits.
  • Preservatives: Preservatives might be added to increase shelf life, however, some preservatives have been linked to health concerns.

Remember, the overall health impact of chickpea chips can vary greatly depending on the brand and their specific recipes. Reading the nutrition label and ingredient list is essential to making an informed choice. Additionally, while chickpea chips can offer more nutritional benefits than traditional potato chips, moderation is key in any dietary choice.

Research and studies on chickpea chips are still emerging. However, understanding the nutritional profile of their primary ingredient can give us a reasonable expectation of their benefits. For instance, a study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that chickpea consumption could aid in weight management and reduce the risk of chronic diseases, which could translate to potential benefits of chickpea chips when consumed as part of a balanced diet (1).

Always strive to integrate snacks like chickpea chips into a balanced diet that includes a variety of whole foods to ensure a well-rounded intake of nutrients.

(1) - Wallace, T. C., Murray, R., & Zelman, K. M. (2016). The Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Chickpeas and Hummus. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 35(6), 1-12. DOI:10.1080/07315724.2016.1188735

Ingredients Analysis: What Else is Inside Chickpea Chips

Chickpea chips have gained popularity as a seemingly healthier alternative to traditional potato chips. They often tout protein and fiber content thanks to the primary ingredient: chickpeas. However, the health implications of consuming chickpea chips can be more complex when we delve into the additional ingredients they contain.

Common Additional Ingredients

  • Vegetable Oils: Many chickpea chips are fried or baked with oils such as sunflower, canola, or palm oil. While oils can be a source of essential fatty acids, some may be high in omega-6 fatty acids, which in excess can contribute to inflammation.
  • Salt: Salt is a key flavor enhancer in chip products. Excessive salt intake is associated with high blood pressure and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Flavor Enhancers: Seasonings like maltodextrin, yeast extract, and natural flavors can add depth to the taste but may also contribute additional sodium or additives.
  • Preservatives: Chemicals such as butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) or butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) may be used to prolong shelf life but have raised health concerns in some studies for their potential effects on the endocrine system.
  • Thickeners and Emulsifiers: Ingredients like guar gum and lecithin improve texture but can cause digestive issues for some people.

Nutritional Additives

  • Fiber Additives: Inulin or chicory root fiber may be added to boost fiber content, valuable for digestive health, though they may cause bloating or discomfort in some individuals.
  • Protein Powders: Additional plant proteins from sources like pea or rice protein isolate could be included to increase protein, which is beneficial for muscle building and satiety.

Exploring a sample ingredient list reveals that while chickpea chips can be part of a balanced diet, caution is warranted. The type and quality of oils used, the sodium content, and the potential inclusion of certain additives and preservatives are all factors that can influence whether these chips are a genuinely healthy choice. It's crucial to read labels carefully and consume these snacks in moderation. One study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition highlights the importance of considering the entire macronutrient and micronutrient profile of snacks, rather than focusing on a single ingredient.

For individuals with specific dietary restrictions or health concerns, it’s recommended to consult with a dietician or nutritionist who can provide personalized advice based on the comprehensive ingredient makeup of chickpea chips.

Comparative Assessment: Chickpea Chips vs. Traditional Potato Chips

When deciding between chickpea chips and traditional potato chips, it's crucial to examine the differences in their nutritional profiles, ingredients, and overall health impact. Here's a breakdown to inform your choice.

  • Nutritional Content:
    • Chickpea chips often have a higher protein content compared to traditional potato chips due to the inherent protein in chickpeas.
    • They tend to be higher in dietary fiber, which can aid in digestion and provide a sense of fullness.
    • Potato chips generally have a higher carbohydrate content and may contribute to a quicker spike in blood sugar levels.
  • Fat Quality:
    • The type of oil used in frying can greatly affect the healthiness of the chip. Chickpea chips are sometimes baked or cooked in healthier oils like olive oil.
    • Potato chips are often fried in oils high in saturated fats, although some brands have shifted to using oils with a better fatty acid profile.
  • Caloric Density:
    • Both types of chips are similar in caloric density, but due to the higher fiber and protein in chickpea chips, they may contribute to better satiety and weight management.
  • Additives and Preservatives:
    • It's important to check labels for additives and preservatives, which can be present in both chickpea chips and potato chips.
    • Natural flavors and minimal preservatives are a positive sign of healthier options.
  • Glycemic Index (GI):
    • Chickpea chips often have a lower glycemic index compared to traditional potato chips, making them a potentially better option for blood sugar control.
  • Sodium Content:
    • Both types of chips can be high in sodium, which can impact cardiovascular health; it's advisable to opt for brands with lower sodium content.

Research supports the dietary benefits of legumes, such as chickpeas, which are associated with an improvement in various health markers. A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that the consumption of legumes, specifically, was linked to a modest reduction in LDL cholesterol and improvement in cardiometabolic health (source). Remember, however, that processing can alter the health benefits of the original food source, so chickpea chips shouldn't be assumed to hold all the benefits of whole chickpeas.

Comparatively, potato chips have been more commonly associated with negative health outcomes when consumed in excess. For instance, a study in The New England Journal of Medicine indicated that potato chips contribute to more weight gain per serving than any other food (source).

Ultimately, while chickpea chips can be part of a balanced diet and offer certain nutritional advantages over traditional potato chips, they should still be consumed mindfully as part of an overall healthy eating pattern.

Hidden Factors: Sodium and Saturated Fat Content

When it comes to evaluating the healthiness of chickpea chips, it's essential to take a closer look at two specific hidden factors – sodium and saturated fat content. While chickpeas themselves are a nutritious choice, offering protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals, the transformation into a snack chip can involve the addition of ingredients that may diminish their nutritional value. Let's delve into the implications of these ingredients on your health.

Sodium Levels in Chickpea Chips

Many snack foods are high in sodium, which is often added to enhance flavor and extend shelf life. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams a day and an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults. Consuming excessive sodium can lead to hypertension, heart disease, and stroke. It's important to check the nutrition label on chickpea chip packages for their sodium content per serving. Some brands may offer low-sodium varieties, which are better choices for those monitoring their salt intake.

Saturated Fat Considerations

While chickpeas naturally contain minimal fat, many chickpea chips are cooked in oils that may be high in saturated fats. The type of oil used in the production process can significantly influence the saturated fat content of the chips. Oils such as coconut oil or palm oil, which are high in saturated fats, can increase the risk of heart disease when consumed in excess. It is important to examine the type of oil listed in the ingredient list and opt for chips made with healthier oils like olive or avocado oil, which are higher in monounsaturated fats and offer cardiovascular benefits.

When consuming chickpea chips, consider these factors:

  • Always read the nutrition label to check for sodium content per serving.
  • Look for brands that use 'low sodium' or 'no salt added' on their packaging if you are on a salt-restricted diet.
  • Check the ingredient list for the type of oil used and select options with oils lower in saturated fat.
  • Be conscious of portion sizes, as it's easy to eat multiple servings in one sitting, thus multiplying your intake of sodium and saturated fat.

Remember, chickpea chips can be part of a balanced diet when consumed mindfully and in moderation. Being aware of their sodium and saturated fat content helps you make an informed decision that aligns with your dietary needs and health objectives.

In summary, while chickpea chips can be a healthier alternative to traditional potato chips, it's crucial to consider the hidden factors such as sodium and saturated fat content that may impact your health. Make sure you read labels carefully to ensure that your snack of choice is as beneficial as possible.

Frequently asked questions

Chickpeas are naturally gluten-free, making them a potential snack option for those following a gluten-free diet. However, it's critical to check the packaging of chickpea chips for gluten-containing ingredients or cross-contamination warnings, as they may be processed in facilities that also handle gluten-containing products. Always look for chickpea chips that are certified gluten-free to ensure they are safe for individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Chickpea chips can be considered a vegan-friendly snack, provided they don't contain any animal-derived ingredients. While the base ingredient, chickpeas, is plant-based, consumers should review the ingredient list to ensure there are no non-vegan additives such as dairy or honey in flavored varieties. Always check for a vegan label to be certain that the chips meet vegan dietary standards.

Chickpea chips generally have a higher protein content than potato chips due to chickpeas being a good source of plant-based protein. This higher protein content can contribute to a heightened sense of fullness or satiety, which may help in managing hunger and supporting weight management efforts. Protein takes longer to digest, which means it can keep you feeling full for a more extended period, potentially leading to a reduced overall caloric intake.

Chickpea chips typically have a lower glycemic index (GI) than traditional potato chips, meaning they cause a slower rise in blood sugar levels after consumption. This is beneficial for blood sugar control and may make chickpea chips a better snacking option for individuals with diabetes or those looking to maintain stable energy levels. However, it's still important to consider the overall carbohydrate content and to consume them in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Ask a question about Chickpea Chips and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • bloating
  • digestive discomfort

Possible long-term side effects

  • hypertension
  • heart disease
  • increased risk of cardiovascular disease
  • potential endocrine system effects

Ingredients to be aware of


  • higher protein content
  • higher fiber content
  • essential vitamins and minerals
  • potentially lower glycemic index
  • satiety and weight management
  • cardiometabolic health improvement

Healthier alternatives

  • low-sodium varieties
  • chips made with olive or avocado oil
  • whole chickpeas

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Hippeas Chickpea Puffs

  • Vegan snack
  • 3g protein per serving
  • 2g dietary fiber
  • Gluten-Free
  • Crunchy & satisfying
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-07-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-07-2024

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