As the natural and health food market continues to expand, and as more of us continue to increase our nutritional awareness, we are seeing a lot of new food products with labels like “natural” or “healthy”. The challenge thus today for every optimally health conscious consumer is knowing how to discern amongst these products and know what is actually “natural” and/or “healthy” and what isn’t.

When it comes to snacks or meal additions, most of us by now realize that typical potato chips are not part of an optimally healthy lifestyle. They are full of oils, unhealthy oils at that, which throw our omega-3 to omega-6 ratio further out of balance; they are high in fat increasing our risk for weight gain and cardiovascular disease; full of nutrient empty calories and to top it all off high starch foods like potatoes subjected to high heat and/or browning are prone to producing carcinogenic acrylamide. With this in mind, several companies have moved towards making chip-like products that are supposedly “healthier”. One of these are vegetable chips.

While being at a recent social gathering I encountered Good Health Natural Foods Veggie Chips. They were presented as a healthy snack option. As this was a new product for me and something I have not tried before, I was interested in learning more about them. I had the chance to examine the package they came in and taste them as well. In this review, I will share with you my experience and input about them.

Good Health Natural Foods is a division of Good Health Natural Products and responsible for creating these veggie chips. They are a company based in Greensboro, North Carolina and consider themselves a leading innovator in the natural and organic markets. The company has two main divisions: one being snacks and the other personal care products. Good Health Natural Foods is the snack division which describes themselves as the “industry innovator & leader, dedicated to making healthy snacking more accessible to individuals and families by emphasizing affordability, nutrition and great taste.”

Let us therefore examine how these chips measure up to the company mission tatement, as well as a healthy, natural food item in terms of their ingredients, nutritional properties, taste, etc.

For starters let us note that when we talk about vegetable chips, we have to keep in mind that there are 3 very different foods that are considered vegetable/veggie chips. The health properties vary greatly depending on which one we are talking about.

  1. There are freshly sliced vegetables that are dried in the sun or using a dehydrator that can be called veggie or vegetable chips

  2. There are commercially prepared vegetable slices that are fried and sold in packages that can be called veggie or vegetable chips

  3. Finally, there are highly processed vegetable ingredients, formed into chips, fried and sold in packages called veggie or vegetable chips

If you are on an optimally healthy nutrition path, I am sure I don’t have to tell you which of the above are worthy of entering your system and which aren’t. Unfortunately these veggie chips fall into the third category.

We have to understand that just because a product claims to be healthy or does not include harmful ingredients, it does not automatically make it healthy. We have to consider not only the ingredients, but what is also done to them.

The front of the package states that the chips are trans fat free, and that this is a mixed vegetable snack (Canadian package) and that it is an all natural snack (US package). The trans fat part is great, assuming they are not going by the serving size only (often what happens is that companies make such claims based on the serving size, where values will round down to zero. If someone eats more than the serving size of course they may be eating something like trans fats, but the companies are not forced to disclose this.) I find the second part to be very misleading as these chips are so far from what a vegetable is. I would never call them a vegetable snack. Perhaps a “processed vegetable snack” or something like that, but not a vegetable snack one bit.

The back of the package contains the ingredients and nutrition facts (see below). The ingredients sound fine until we put them into perspective. As I mentioned above, we have to consider not only what is listed, but what has been done to what is listed. It is wonderful that this product does not contain any artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, sugar or other harmful ingredients. However, we cannot miss the fact that this is a completely processed, nutrient deficient, dead food product that has been fried. Whatever benefits may have been in the vegetables used are long gone by the time the product reaches us.

The nutrition facts further exemplify that this is in no way any kind of healthy food. It is a high fat and high sodium food. It is not enough to look at the label as I explain in my book “Healing & Prevention Through Nutrition” and see 13g fat or 20% and think this is somehow fine. When we learn how to work with nutrients and labels we find out that this food is 47% fat, which makes it a high fat food item and gives you in one serving about 1/3rd of the daily sodium allowance! It is a plant-only food, so naturally it does not contain any cholesterol, but being so processed leaves its fiber content unimpressive. In essence, one is eating a fried dead food, which reminds me very much of what typical potato chips are.

Nutrition aside, these veggie chips don’t redeem themselves in taste either. I can understand their appeal for people if they were delicious and had some amazing taste to them, but they don’t. They have a hint of celery I found, even though celery does not seem to be listed in the ingredients, and a hint of tomato flavor. Other than that, they are a dry, oily-tasting snack. I think what will draw people to them is what draws people to chips in general, the addictive fat and salt content. Except that these are disguised as something healthy, which I feel will mislead many people.

When I look back at the company mission, I am saddened to say that it fails for me on many levels with this product. With the above nutrition qualities and at $4 per bag, I don’t find it healthy, nutritious or affordable. I can credit the company as being an innovator of new products by making this, but this is not necessarily positive if what is invented are products that cause more harm, than benefit.

Conclusion

So do I recommend this product? Well, it depends what your health goals are. If you are on a path of optimal health and wellness, then not at all as this is a highly processed food item that increases your risk for weight gain, heart disease and other ill conditions. If one is seeking average health or is not too concerned about what they eat, then sure give these a try. They are after all healthier than perhaps a bag of cheesy Doritos. Perhaps their other snack products are better than this one and worth trying, but I cannot in any way support this one.

What we have to remember is simply not to be fooled. In this case the company might have a great sounding name, but neither that nor what the package says in terms of how many health claims or great sounding facts they use to try to convince us, is indicative of an honestly healthy product. We still need to use our common sense, logic and examine the food item from a complete perspective. There is no mistaking whole, natural food if we are honest with ourselves and no processed food in the world can ever be regarded as truly healthy.

Ingredients

  • Whole Potato Flour
  • Sunflower and/or Safflower Oil
  • Tomato and Spinach Puree
  • Garlic
  • Sea Salt

Nutritional Information

(per 50g; about 56 chips or 1/4 of package)

  • 250 Calories
  • 13 g Fat (1g Saturated Fat, 0g Trans Fat)
  • 2 g Protein
  • 32 g Carbohydrate (0g Sugar)
  • 2 g Fiber
  • 450 mg Sodium
  • 0 mg Cholesterol

Vitamins & Minerals

  • 2% Calcium
  • 4% Iron

Packaging

The chips come in a typical foil chip bag, and 199g in size in Canada and 7.5oz/212g in the US.

Price (as of this posting)

  • Around $4 CDN/US per bag at local grocery stores
  • $4.77 US per 7.5oz/212g bag as part of 6 pack on Amazon.com
  • $3.00 US per 7.5oz/212g bag as part of 6 pack on Amazon.com

Availability

  • Widely available throughout the US and Canada at grocery stores
  • Here is a list of US retail locations
  • Online stores (see examples above)

The Good

  • Great crunchy texture
  • No artificial colors
  • No artificial flavors
  • No preservatives
  • Suitable for vegetarians/vegans

The Bad

  • Highly processed food
  • Nutrient deficient
  • High in fat
  • High in sodium
  • Heat and oil processed (fried)
  • Not suitable for raw foodists
  • Misleading in sounding healthy
  • Bland, not impressive taste
  • Not worth the price