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Crisps

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What's behind the crunch?

Crisps have long been a favourite snack for many people, and the range on offer is growing rapidly. Research shows that sales of potato-based and other snacks are estimated to have reached £1.39 billion - a rise of 25% from 2010-2015.

However, potato crisp sales have been in decline for the past two years, with people instead opting for other snack choices including air-popped chips, crackers and rice- or corn-based snacks.

Sales of popcorn, for example, have risen an incredible 169% over the past five years.

Current guidance for crisps

The review of theEatwell Guideearlier this year placed crisps and snacks in a sub-section outside of the main guide. This is because crisps aren't needed as part of healthy, balanced diet, and the main nutrient they provide is energy.

With this in mind, we should think of crisps and snacks as an occasional treat. However, it's all too easy to grab a bag with our lunchtime sandwich or include a pack as a convenient addition to a child’s packed lunch. If this sounds familiar, try some of our other suggestions forhealthier snack options.

If you are going to have the odd bag of crisps here, or a mouthful of popcorn there, we have some pointers to help assist your diabetes management...

Making better choices with crisps

  • Try a wholegrain variety to increase your fibre intake.
  • Think about the portion (the packet might be designed for sharing)
  • Think about the flavour choice - does it increase how much salt you’re having?
  • Is there a light or reduced-fat version? But, remember fat and calorie savings may be minimal so it’s not an excuse to eat two packets.
  • Could you make your own? Thinly slice some vegetables or potatoes, use a couple of sprays of oil to coat, and get creative with herbs or spices for flavour. 

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Understanding food labels

It's important to know the nutritional content of the crisps you choose by checking thelabelling.

Remember, per portion criteria are only applied for the red category and for portions over 100g.

Therefore, per 100g information has been used for all the crisps we have colour coded.

Reading the ingredients also provides useful information about what has been added such as sugar and salt.

 

 

What's your favourite crisp? And, how healthy is it?

Given their popularity, we put a selection of crisps and snacks under the spotlight to show you how they measure up for fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt. 


Pringles - Original

Sold in 190g tube (6-7 servings)

  Per serving (30g) Per 100g
Calories 155 516
Carbs 15g 51g
Sugar <0.5g 1.4g
Fat 9.8g 33g
Saturated fat 1g 3.4g
Salt 0.41g 1.4g
Protein 1.2g 3.8g
Fibre 0.8g 2.6g

 


Doritos - Cool Original

  Per serving (17g) Per 100g
Calories 71 420
Carbs 10g 62g
Sugar 1.5g 8.7g
Fat 2.6g 15g
Saturated fat 0.2g 1.4g
Salt 0.36g 2.1g
Protein 1g 5.7g
Fibre 0.7g 3.9g

 


Kettle Chips - Lightly Salted

  Per serving (30g) Per 100g
Calories 154 513
Carbs 15.5g 51.5g
Sugar 0.15g 0.5g
Fat 9g 30.1g
Saturated fat 1g 3.5g
Salt 0.27g 0.9g
Protein 1.74g 5.8g
Fibre 1.95g 6.5g

 


Popchips - Barbeque

  Per serving (17g) Per 100g
Calories 71 420
Carbs 10g 62g
Sugar 1.5g 8.7g
Fat 2.6g 15g
Saturated fat 0.2g 1.4g
Salt 0.36g 2.1g
Protein 1g 5.7g
Fibre 0.7g 3.9g

 


Ritz Crisp & Thin - Sea Salt & Vinegar

Sold in 100g bag (3-4 servings)

  Per serving (30g) Per 100g
Calories 134 445
Carbs 20g 67g
Sugar 1.7g 5.7g
Fat 4.7g 16g
Saturated fat 0.5g 1.7g
Salt 0.56g 1.88g
Protein 1.7g 5.6g
Fibre 1.6g 5.3g

 


Kettle Vegetable Chips - Golden Parsnip, Sweet Potato & Beetroot

  Per serving (30g) Per 100g
Calories 154 514
Carbs 13.2g 44.1g
Sugar 6.4g 21.3g
Fat 9.9g 32.9g
Saturated fat 0.72g 2.4g
Salt 0.3g 1g
Protein 1.6g 5.3g
Fibre 3g 10.1g

 


Snack A Jacks - Sour Cream & Chive

  Per serving (22g) Per 100g
Calories 91 416
Carbs 17.2g 78.4g
Sugar 1.4g 6.5g
Fat 1.7g 7.6g
Saturated fat 0.2g 0.9g
Salt 0.61g 2.75g
Protein 1.7g 7.8g
Fibre 0.3g 1.3g

 


Metcalfe's Skinny Popcorn - Honey Bee

  Per serving (25g) Per 100g
Calories 117 467
Carbs 15.1g 60.4g
Sugar 6.1g 24.2g
Fat 5g 20g
Saturated fat 0.4g 1.5g
Salt 0.32g 1.26g
Protein 1.7g 6.6g
Fibre 2.4g 9.7g

 


Jacobs Cracker Crisps - Thai Sweet Chilli

  Per serving (25g) Per 100g
Calories 117 469
Carbs 16.8g 67.2g
Sugar 2.2g 8.7g
Fat 4.8g 19.3g
Saturated fat 1.2g 4.8g
Salt 0.5g 1.8g
Protein 1.3g 5.3g
Fibre 0.7g 2.6g

 


Kallo Corn & Rice Snacks - Sea Salt & Vinegar

  Per serving (8g) Per 100g
Calories 33 364
Carbs 7.1g 78g
Sugar 0.3g 3g
Fat 0.2g 2.2g
Saturated fat 0.1g 0.6g
Salt 0.2g 2.7g
Protein 0.6g 6.8g
Fibre 0.2g 2.4g

 


Marmite Rice Cakes

  Per serving (8g) Per 100g
Calories 28 363
Carbs 5.5g 70.4g
Sugar 0.1g 0.6g
Fat 0.2g 2.7g
Saturated fat Trace 0.5g
Salt 0.1g 1.5g
Protein 1g 12.6g
Fibre Not listed Not listed

 


Yushoi Snapea Rice Sticks - Lightly Salted

  Per serving (21g) Per 100g
Calories 91 432
Carbs 12.2g 58g
Sugar 0.4g 1.9g
Fat 3.4g 16.4g
Saturated fat 0.2g 1.1g
Salt 0.19g 0.9g
Protein 4.1g 19.6g
Fibre 2.7g 12.8g

 


Walkers - Cheese & Onion

  Per serving (25g) Per 100g
Calories 120 520
Carbs 15.2g 52.6g
Sugar 1.8g 2.6g
Fat 5.4g 30.6g
Saturated fat 0.6g 2.5g
Salt 0.24g 1.22g
Protein 1.9g 6.3g
Fibre 1.7g 4.3g

 


Walkers Baked - Cheese & Onion

  Per serving (25g) Per 100g
Calories 105 418
Carbs 18.9g 75.5g
Sugar 1.6g 6.5g
Fat 2.1g 8.5g
Saturated fat 0.3g 1g
Salt 0.23g 0.91g
Protein 1.6g 6.5g
Fibre 1.2g 4.8g

 


Walker Sunbites Multigrain Crispy Snacks - Lightly Sea Salted

  Per serving (25g) Per 100g
Calories 120 480
Carbs 15.2g 60.7g
Sugar 1.8g 7.3g
Fat 5.4g 21.6g
Saturated fat 0.6g 2.2g
Salt 0.24g 0.94g
Protein 1.9g 7.5g
Fibre 1.7g 6.6g

 


Penn State Pretzels - Original Sea Salted

  Per serving (30g) Per 100g
Calories 118 393
Carbs 23g 76g
Sugar 1g 3.3g
Fat 1.4g 4.6g
Saturated fat 0.2g 0.5g
Salt 0.75g 2.5g
Protein 3g 10g
Fibre 1.1g 3.6g

 


Jacobs Twiglets - Original

  Per serving (25g) Per 100g
Calories 103 413
Carbs 14.3g 57.2g
Sugar 0.1g 0.5g
Fat 3.1g 12.2g
Saturated fat 0.4g 1.8g
Salt 0.5g 2g
Protein 3.2g 12.8g
Fibre 2.8g 11.4g

 


Regular vs. baked

The baked versions of crisps tend to be lower in fat and saturated fat, but do check to see how this affects the colour coding. The brand we chose was still amber for total fat, and sugar appears much higher up the ingredients list. 

Regular vs. popped

Most conventional crisps are deep fried. Popped crisps require no fat for cooking, as they are cooked by being placed in a pressurised container to 'pop', much like popcorn. Seasonings and additives (such as sunflower oil) mean the brand we chose is still amber for fat and red for salt. Because they're lighter, you get more product in bag for the weight. This means, gram for gram they have less calories than standard crisps. 

Rice cakes and crackers

Generally, rice cakes are significantly lower in calories and fat. However, they do have a high GI, so will affect blood glucose levels quite quickly. Portion size is important - consider whether a pack of mini rice cakes is a better choice than individual ones if you’re likely to graze on more than one. Flavour is important too as many rice cakes can be quite high in salt. Also, watch out for varieties coated in chocolate or yogurt as these will be higher in fat, sugar and calories. Rice cakes can provide a lighter lunch, if you’re looking for variety and a change for regular crisps.

Vegetable crisps

Fairly new to the market and hailed as being a healthier choice, watch out for the fat and salt content ofveggie crisps. With most options scoring red for fat and amber for saturated fat, sugars and salt, you are probably better off making your own at home where you can control the ingredients - a far cheaper option, too! If chosen wisely, this option can be higher in fibre and often offers additional vitamins and minerals to its traditonal potato counterpart.

Pack size

You can't fail to have noticed that individual pack sizes of crisps have increased over the years. Now, 200g ‘sharing' packs and tubs are increasingly prevalent on supermarket shelves, temptingly placed at the end of aisles or at the front of stores...

Unless you have nerves of steel, it's very easy to keep popping back for more and, naturally, easy for the calories to quickly add up when you open the bag. Keep this in mind when you're snacking - place an amount of crisps in a separate bowl so the sharing bag is not readily to hand, or simply avoid the enlarged versions and opt for a standard individual serving.

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