Antioxidant Power in Processed Snacks?

Mystic Harvest Purple Corn Tortilla Chips

Take a look at the “health” claims on this package of tortilla chips:

  • Contains Antioxidant POWER
  • Gluten Free
  • Made with non GMO ingredients
  • Added Fiber

It’s not a snack, it’s a health food! That’s what manufacturers would have us believe.

Let’s take a look at the back of the bag to see how healthy this product really is.

Mystic Harvest Purple Corn Tortilla Chips - Nutrition

The ingredient list is relatively straightforward: Purple corn, oil, salt. The oat fiber is a trick to boost up the fiber count of the snack. The various oils listed are the result of fluctuating market prices for different oils. Manufacturers buy whatever is cheapest or is available at a certain time.

The nutrition information starts with a really irritating statement – each bag contains 1.5 servings. That’s a joke. People will eat the entire bag. So instead of 130 calories, there are actually almost 200 calories.

Regarding the antioxidants. While it’s true that purple corn (and purple produce in general) contain a family of antioxidants know as anthocyanins, it’s not necessarily true that a highly processed version of the corn will maintain high enough levels of them to be relevant. In fact, the opposite is usually the case.

Enjoy these tortillas for what they are – a relatively benign snack. Don’t buy into all the superfluous and unsubstantiated health claims.

 

Sources:

Processing and storage effects on monomeric anthocyanins, percent polymeric color, and antioxidant capacity of processed blueberry products

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  • Carol H

    Not to mention that antioxidant claims can only be made regarding certain antioxidants that MUST also show as at least 10% DV on the nutrition label. The “ORAC score” is not a legal basis for food label claims.

  • H2O

    If you want antioxidants in your diet try eating a piece of fruit or vegtables they have one ingredient and will be easier on your body to digest