Saturday, January 24, 2009

What's SO Bad about Banana Chips ?

I am always on the look out for healthy snacks to put in my children's lunch bag. I avoid the potato chip aisle every week. If I do buy potato chips my children assume we are going on vacation ! Last week I picked up a carton of banana chips and tossed them into my cart. I didn't give it much thought - they were banana chips after all !

So nutritionally speaking how do they compare to potato chips ?
Based on the on 1/2 cup serving:
150 calories
8 g total fat (of which 7 g is saturated fat)
0 g sodium
20 g total carbohydrates
1 g fiber
1 g protein

Compared to a small bag (1 oz) of plain, unsalted potato chips
152 calories
9 g total fat (of which 3 g is saturated fat)
2 g sodium
15 g total carbohydrates
1.4 g fiber
2 g protein

So when you look at it, nutritionally speaking, banana chips are not any better than potato chips! In fact, banana chips are deep fried in coconut oil, increasing the saturated fat content. If you are on weight watchers, eating 1/2 cup of these fried chips will cost you 3 points. But here is the kicker, 1/2 cup is only 15 banana chips. A portion of potato chips will cost you the same points, but you kind of expect that to be the case.

As shocked as I was by the nutrition facts, I was in greater shock after reading the ALLERGY INFORMATION AND CAUTION statement. It reads as follows:

"Packed in a facility that handles peanuts, tree nuts, milk, soy, wheat and egg products. Due to harvesting practices, it is possible this package may contain pits, twigs, stems, or other naturally occurring objects".

Right, well dead bugs might fall into the naturally occurring objects category !! Where is this facility ???. Regardless of the facility location - the bottom line is that banana chips, while sounding like a better alternative to potato chips, are not.

Note to self: Slow down in the supermarket and look at the product labels !


  1. This is great; a freaking expose on MF banana chips. Are you serious? How do they compare to Dorito's? I've yet to find any twigs and other forest waste in Dorito's.

    On a similar note, I had some fried artichokes last night. They were yum and I love artichokes but is all this batter and breading necessary in our food. Seriously.

  2. Back in the Philippines where I'm from, banana chips are a popular snack. Next time I go home I will be sure to tell everyone in my village about the health risks of banana chips.


  3. Thats what we do....we take a perfectly healthy food and create a heart attack version of it !

    Doritos have less saturated fat because they are cooked in vegetable oil ! A portion (i.e. 12 chips) has 7g of total fat (1g sat fat). The banana chips I ate (the box!) were fried in coconut oil. Coconut oil is about 90% saturated fat. Interestingly, the Philippines is the world's largest exporter of coconut oil....where this food product was produced. Hmm....its all adding up now !

    Perhaps I picked the most unhealthy version of banana chips on the market. Perhaps some banana chips are fried in vegetable oil - making them lower in saturated fat. I'm going to find out if there is a healthier banana chip out there ! Let me know if you know of one !

    In the meantime my advice is eat a banana instead. Bake your artichokes if you are cooking them at home, otherwise, enjoy the restaurant prepared fried version (in moderation) !

    1. Dr. Nic, you forgot to put your title in quotes because there's no way in hell you can be a real doctor if you believe that vegetable oil is better for you than coconut oil. Either that, or you're a psychiatrist spouting incorrect nutrition info. You clearly know DICK about the truth about saturated fats.

    2. FURTHERMORE: Nearly ALL types of food products have some type of foreign objects in them, from mouse feces to pulverized bug carcasses. ALL FOODS. *Sigh*... so ignorant.

    3. Coconut oil is most resistant to heat damage when it comes to frying. Since coconut oil is made from Non-GMO coconuts and doesn't contain health risks most GMO food products contain as well! On a further note, the high amounts of saturated fat from natural non-animal, natural products such as coconuts is great for health because it contains no cholesterol and can even help rid the body of some of its bad cholesterol too. And, this saturated fat is key to producing ketones used by the brain to keep it sharp and healthy... how do you not know this???

    4. Oh wow, I think I will stick to drinking water! Bottle or tap? Oh god I'm so confused lol

  4. I am not so sure you are correct, and what you are comparing.

    First you compare a 1/2 cup with bag, but you do not compare either weight or the average serving someone would eat of either snack, as well as other nutrients such as salt/sodium.

    This is an uninformative hit piece on banana chips.

    I know because I have been looking for weeks for something that does justice to this dicusssion, and just comparing banana chips with potato chips does not.

    Second, you do not know that banana chips are deep fried in coconut oil. Apparently you can find very conflicting information on coconut oil. It used to be villified as being very unhealthy, but more recent studies say that is compares positively to other oils.

    I do not know what to think, and I would like to make my own banana chips so I know what is inside them, but if you have a snack food addiction, I think banana chips are more filling, more natual, more fiber, less processing, less sodiun, not sure about calories or cholesterol etc.

    Also not all coconut oil is so high in saturated fat. Ayway, I have been looking for a low dose of any oil, or a non coconut oil veresion of banana chips and have yet to find anything.

    I continue to eat them because they are tasty and I think they are not so bad for me, but that is in comparison with stuff that I might be eating if I was not eating banana chips.

    Coconut oil is used because of its smooth texture in food and rich flavor. They also put it in popcorm, but that really is fried in a high heat, and most popcorn has lots of other chemicals in it.

    I woudl really like to see a good breakdown on the health factrors in banana chips and coconut oil.

  5. The banana have many properties like the potassium and some vitamin too. that is why i prefer to use the bananas frequently in my recipe. and i love the flavour too. Even power the tissues, muscles and bones that can help with the sexual performance too.

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  6. This has got to be the most idiotic post I've read about Banana Chips! Dr. Nic? Really? You are a doctor and you are this ignorant? My God!

    you aare a NEWB

  8. Coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils for human consumption. Furthermore, "saturated fat is bad for you" is an utter myth based on the debunked lipid hypothesis from the 1950s. Now, if you made the argument that cooking bananas in high heat destroys the nutrients, you'd be correct, but don't perpetuate junk science with your ignorant internet "facts."

  9. Yay glad to see Anonymous comments to a link on coconut oil as well as Dr Mercola. :) not are oils are the same and people need to being to learn more about the many benefits if coconut oil. Yes its saturated fat , but did you know that despite this fact coconut oil can actually help you lose weight and does not cause heart disease. Its great for skin and hair as well as for cooking. Please I urge people to research more on the benefits of coconut oil. Some banana chips are cooked in vegetable oils, which unfortunately most people think s the healthier choice. Coconut oil is healthier choice all around, research /google it and youll find a ton if info out there.

  10. Calm down people

  11. I LOVE banana chips, they have helped me maintain my big butt.

  12. It really SUCKS how you have generalized this entire category of snacks based on ONE freaking label that you saw. Seriously? I have been eating banana chips for two decades and I have never seen a label with that caution statement you described and I have never found odds and ends in them either. Furthermore, I have never seen where they are fried in coconut oil. I'm very curious as to which brand you picked up.

  13. I just saw where you said this was from the Philippines. Try banana chips from Jamaica :)

  14. Banana chips potatoes chips really hungry I can eat a whole bag in reality sweet winsbover salty I was a child when my taste buds helped form the craving for banana chips but partly the reason for that was I had very weak gag reflexes and banana s fall beside egg yolk w me I'm stoked to try the spiced banana chips!

  15. It's better to make your own bannana chips.

  16. About your "Right, well dead bugs might fall into the naturally occurring objects category !! Where is this facility ???." Why, yes -- they do, and in virtually every category of food. In fact, the FDA has established foreign matter allowances of various kinds in different types of food, taking into account weight, processing, and packaging. These include but are not limited to insect parts, animal hair, insect and animal feces, mold...the list goes on and on. Lest you imagine these things are allowable due to negligence during processing only, think about this, good "doctor": pretty much all food is grown OUTDOORS.