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Are Chips Keto?

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FACT CHECKED
  Published on November 9th, 2022
  Reading time: 4 minutes
  Last modified November 7th, 2022
Potato chips are usually not keto-friendly

Maybe your regular diet is high in processed food and you’re wondering whether you can still have your favorite snack now that you have transitioned to keto. Especially if you happen to be doing lazy or “dirty” keto, you might want a convenient snack that gives you a little bit of flavor or crunch. Chips are often a go-to staple in the American diet, but can you have chips on keto? 

Most chips are off-limits on a keto diet because they are high in carbs, whether they’re made from potatoes or from corn. With an incredibly high net carb amount (due to the low fiber), these are not a good option for anyone who happens to be low-carb, keto included. 

For more information on whether chips are okay for keto and what you can eat instead, here are the facts. 

Can You Have Chips on Keto? 

Chips usually don’t meet the stringent requirements for a keto diet (even if you are doing lazy or dirty keto) for two reasons. First, the main ingredient in most chips is potato or corn, both of which tend to be quite high in carbs. While potato chips are sliced ultra-thin and then fried, you can’t get around the fact that this root vegetable is packed with carbs and has little nutritional value. While potatoes on their own are good sources of vitamin C and potassium, potato chips are processed, which often robs them of their health benefits anyway. 

To feel full from your potato snack, you would likely have to eat the equivalent of a medium potato. On its own, a potato can have anywhere from 25 to 30 grams of carbs. Most people will find that this can never fit into their keto macros. In the same way, corn typically is not keto friendly, either, although it is possible to eat small amounts of popcorn and remain in ketosis. A small serving of corn tortilla chips has about 15 grams of carbs.

Another reason might not want to let the chips past your lips on keto is the cooking process. It likely comes as no surprise that chips are a processed food that doesn’t quite resemble the potatoes (or corn) from which they came. They are treated with salty seasonings and then fried in oil. Plus, many of the oils used for frying such as corn or canola oil aren’t the best choices for those on keto

When Can You Have Chips on Keto?

Corn tortilla chips in a bowl

If we’re talking about the traditional potato or corn chip, the answer is that it’s best to stay away totally from these foods in order to stay on track with keto. However, there are some exceptions if you still want that delightful crunch somewhere in your diet. 

While you should avoid traditional chips, that’s not to say that you won’t find a bag of keto-friendly chips at your local store. More companies are starting to recognize that keto isn’t just the latest fad but is here to stay. As a result, you might actually be able to find low-carb chips in the grocery aisle.

Keto-friendly chips are often protein-based and made from meat, almond flour, and other low-carb ingredients that are conducive to staying in ketosis. Make sure to study the nutrition label to see what their primary ingredient is, the oil they are cooked in, and their net carbs (total carbs minus dietary fiber) to see if they will fit in your macros reasonably for a small snack. 

Chip Alternatives

One great keto substitute for chips (especially if you’re a potato chip lover) is pork rinds. They still have a delightfully salty, fatty taste and a satisfying crunch but without the carb content. Instead, pork rinds consist mostly of protein and fat. They often make a perfect chip substitute for those who miss the crunch and flavor of chips. Remember, you don’t want to overeat this snack because it is high in sodium, MSG, and often artificial flavors. 

There are also healthier ways that you can get a bit of crunch in your diet without resorting to a bag of your favorite crinkle-cut potato chips. Depending on your favorite flavor, you may enjoy crispy kale chips or roasted jalapeno cheese crisps 

If you crave crackers like the famous Cheez-Its, you might be able to substitute them for these keto homemade Cheez-Its or a multiseed cracker 

The only downside is that homemade snacks like these require more prep work than simply popping open a bag of chips. On the other hand, you will know every ingredient that goes into these recipes and can ultimately trust that they won’t undo all of your hard work to live a healthier lifestyle. 

Cutting Back on Chips

The unfortunate reality is that most chips aren’t going to fit into your new keto diet, but you have a few options. You can look for bags that are marked as keto-friendly with low carb counts, opt for small servings of pork rinds, or make your own chips and crackers at home. However, even if you’re used to eating lots of chips in your pre-keto diet, keto is known for helping people stay full and satiated and going keto often reduces or eliminates cravings for junk and snack food. So if you’re new to keto: give it some time. You may find you don’t even miss your favorite chips.

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