Veggie straws are mostly processed vegetable powder. They’ve got all the bad and none of the good; they’re probably worse for you than potato chips.
Many of the ingredients in veggie straws are extracted powders and starches from vegetables. The extraction process by which these novel food-like products are produced breaks down many of the nutrients that you would find in the vegetables they're derived from. This process gets rid of a lot of the good stuff - although you likely associate veggie straws with vegetables, they've been processed to the point where they're much flimsier from a nutritional perspective.
Veggie straws also have a high number of calories from fat. Garden veggie straws have 130 calories per serving, almost half of which come from fat. Most of that fat is introduced via the oils that are used in the veggie straws’ preparation.
There's little that's good for you in veggie straws. Despite coming from vegetables, they contain almost no fiber - that's because the vegetables have been processed into dust. They have next to no protein content. There's a smidgen of Vitamin C and a small amount of iron. Still, the calories that you get from a package of veggie straws are likely to be mostly empty.
This is an important point because veggie straws are marketed as a healthier alternative to potato chips. Whole potato chips are good sources of certain b vitamins. They also have protein. While the potato chip production process isn't exactly healthy, it preserves these qualities of the chips - they've still got the b vitamins and the protein afterward.
Veggie straws use potato powder; they're nutritionally bereft of the protein and b vitamins, however, because the potato has been processed. So there's a solid argument to be made that potato chips are actually more nutritious than veggie straws. Tomatoes are another good source of nutrients rendered unhealthy by powdering.
The body of the veggie straw - the small, french-fry-like snack that you eat - isn’t made from a sliced vegetable. It’s baked from a combination of the powdered vegetables in veggie straws. Because of this, the straw has none of the nutritional benefits you get from whole vegetables and whole vegetable products.
This, perhaps, is the essence of why veggie straws are so unhealthy: they’re only related to vegetables in the loosest sense of the word. Veggie straws take the good name of vegetables and use it for marketing purposes to triumph over potato chips - a similarly unhealthy product, in many respects, that nonetheless retains some of the nutrients of a whole vegetable. Don’t be fooled by the lie: veggie straws aren’t good for you.
Possible long-term side effects
- high cholesterol
- heart disease