Spicy foods are more popular than ever. Every conceivable treat has a flaming hot version, and snackers adore them. Chips are America’s second-favorite snack, so they come in a wide array of spicy options. Picante foods have certain health benefits, but can eating spicy chips make you fat despite the potential perks?
Spicy chips eaten in excess can make you gain weight. Chips are deep-fried and rich in saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, and salt一all the ingredients that contribute to weight gain. However, occasionally, reasonable portions won’t ruin your diet or increase your waistline.
Don’t feel alone if you can’t seem to stop yourself when it comes to these spicy treats. Although there are ingredients that make you gain weight, there are aslo components that help your health! Read on to discover why spicy chips may make you fat and some healthier alternatives to satisfy your need for crispy, spicy snacks.
How Spicy Chips Make You Fat
The spicy component of the chip is not what makes you gain weight-the; in fact, the heat is quite good for you. The chip itself is the problem. Chips are beloved snacks, but they can pack the pounds onto snackers. Chip fans gain weight because of two fundamental components of the snacks: their ingredients and their addictiveness.
Chips are made primarily of potatoes, oil, and salt. Nutritionally, these ingredients translate to a high caloric intake, a great deal of saturated fat, and too much sodium. Weight gain is a pretty simple mathematical formula: you gain weight when you take in more calories than you burn.
All food has calories, but healthy foods provide you with vitamins and nutrients as well as calories. Chips are high in calories, but they also have very little nutritional value. Eating chips doesn’t sate hunger for long, making them problematic for those watching their weight.
Snacking on chips won’t fill you up. The calories are empty, so if a snacker is genuinely hungry and hoping to relieve that hunger with chips, they will need to eat many more chips before they feel full, then they would have a more nutritionally rich snack. Snackers ingest more calories and saturated fats without gaining any beneficial nutrients.
Additionally, chips contain high levels of saturated fat. We all need some fat to survive, but saturated fat is not particularly beneficial. Saturated fats have nine calories per one gram and are blocky. These fat molecules stack together tightly and form strong bonds that are difficult for the body to break down, causing weight gain.
High Levels of Sodium
Chips also contain high levels of sodium. Like fat, we all need some salt in our diets; however, The American Heart Association suggests a limit of 2300 milligrams of salt daily. A serving of potato chips contains 170 milligrams of sodium, or seven percent of your recommended salt intake.
While this seems harmless in a vacuum, you need to keep two things in mind. First, very few people eat only one serving of chips because chips don’t satisfy hunger. Spicy chips can be quite addictive and probably not your only meal of the day. Salt causes water retention, which causes weight gain.
Chips Are Addictive
Eating spicy chips in moderation will not make you fat. The snack, however, packs on the pounds partially because they are impossible to stop eating. A U.K. study performed by Dr. Tony Goldstone equated the addictive properties of chips to those of hard drugs.
In a sense, you can Blame evolution. Humans benefited from the quick bursts of energy carbohydrate-rich foods provide. We now release mood-lifting opioids when we eat these foods. Additionally, the sodium in chips causes our brains to release dopamine. The dopamine causes such a good feeling that we eat to continue feeling it.
However, chips also use a less expected sense against us, which is surprisingly our hearing. The satisfying crunching sound of a chip contributes to its addictive nature.
Studies found that snackers who couldn’t hear their chips crunch ate fewer than those who perceived the crispy noise. Human beings associate the crunching sound with freshness, a highly desirable trait in food. The noise convinces our brains that the chips are fresh and we should eat more of them.
How Spicy Chips Are Good for You
While the “chip” component of the snack can make you gain weight, the spicy element has certain health benefits. Most of the healthy perks of hot foods come from capsaicin. Capsaicin is the chemical compound that provides chili peppers with heat, found primarily in their seeds, and is present in almost all spicy snacks.
Capsaicin is used in several topical pain-relievers but ingested; it can help with cardiovascular health and weight loss. Capsaicin assists with:
- Cardiovascular health – Capsaicin helps break down fats in the food that might otherwise clog heart arteries.
- Metabolism – Ingesting capsaicin can speed up your metabolism. The thermogenic effect of the element increases sweating and burns more calories than milder flavors.
- Microbiome – Capsaicin helps cultivate gut flora-the bacteria and microbes required for a healthy digestive tract.
- Inflammation – Eating capsaicin combats gut inflammation linked to obesity.
While these benefits don’t cancel out the hazards provided by the chips, they are a benefit of moderate spicy chip snacking.
You can still indulge your love for spicy snacks while maintaining your waistline. Hot foods are significantly in demand right now, as is living healthier. Many companies provide snack choices that are both Picante and better for you. While there are abundant options beyond simply chips, for those who can’t give up the crispy favorites, consider these healthier alternatives:
- Gringo Jack’s Chile Rubbed Flaky Tortilla Chips – these tortilla chips promise to be crispy and are made of all-natural ingredients.
- Popchips Crazy Hot – Pop chips are a low-calorie snack that is kosher, trans fat, and gluten-free, with no added preservative, artificial flavors, or synthetic colors.
- Good Bean Jalapeño Cheddar Chips – These chips are made of a blend of beans. They are high in fiber and protein and low in calories.
- The Daily Crave Spicy Sriracha Lentil Chips – These chips are made from all-natural ingredients and have the heat of sriracha.
- Deano’s Jalapeño Chips – Deano’s Jalapenos are made of actual jalapenos to give you both heat and crunch.
- Kettle Chili Lime Avocado Oil Chips – Gluten and GMO-free, these chips are fried in avocado oil, which is better for your heart.
- Spicy Kicker Chips by The Billy Goat Chip Company– The Billy Goat company uses only incredibly high-quality ingredients in its products.
Snackers open to spicy treats beyond chips will find a wealth of healthy options. Consider trying wasabi peas or spicy popcorn, or pretzels. Spicy snacks with naturally lower caloric levels will not only not make you fat, but they can also help you lose weight, both through the capsaicin present in them and by making you feel full for longer.
Like every chip, when eaten in excess, spicy chips can make you gain weight, both through their ingredients and their addictive nature. Chips can profoundly impact your brain chemistry, but you can enjoy them in moderation without fear of weight gain.
Additionally, spicy foods are rich with capsaicin, an element found in chili peppers with many health benefits. Snackers have a multitude of healthier options available.
- Metro: Potato chips are as addictive as hard drugs, scientists say
- The Healthy: This Is Why You Can’t Ever Just Eat One Potato Chip, According to Science
- Eat This, Not That!: Why You Can’t Eat Just One Potato Chip—Revealed!
- Patient: Does eating spicy food help you lose weight?
- Cleveland Clinic: Is Spicy Food Good for You?
- Wiley Online Library: The Role of Auditory Cues in Modulating the Perceived Crispness and Staleness of Potato Chips
- National Library of Medicine: Snack food intake in ad libitum fed rats is triggered by the combination of fat and carbohydrates