9 Reasons Why You Should Never Eat Doritos, Like, Ever

Doritos always make for a delicious snack, especially when you’re on the go. But the classic nacho cheese chips aren’t the best choice for those who are watching their weight. In fact, health experts say that the popular snack should be avoided at all costs as it’s made with unhealthy ingredients, preservatives and additives. Plus, they could lead to some pretty serious illnesses later on…

1. They’re made with genetically modified corn

The first ingredient on Doritos list is corn, but it’s actually genetically modified corn. GMOs have been linked to increase allergies and inflammation in the U.S., as well as disorders affecting the digestive and reproductive systems.

2. That’s not all you’ll find in there…

In fact, most of Doritos’ delicious flavor comes from Mono-sodium glutamate (MSG), salt, and sugar, a “trifecta” that can cause harm to your body if overconsumed.

3. The dyes aren’t good for you either!

Ever wonder how Doritos get their classic orange shade? Well, it’s from a slew of hydrogenated oils and dyes including Yellow dye 5, Yellow dye 6, and Red dye 40, which can each be harmful to your body.

4. They can make you gain weight

All of these GMOs and additives can easily cause weight gain. So, you need to make sure that you’re eating Doritos in moderation to avoid packing on the pounds.

5. The chips have a high sodium content, too!

One serving of Nacho Cheese Doritos (11 chips) can have 210 mg of sodium. And, that’s only if you eat the recommended serving size. This snack is an easy way to overconsume your daily sodium, fat and calorie intake. So you better be mindful of the serving sizes!

6. They can cause inflammation

The unhealthy ingredients in Doritos can have a negative effect on your body over time, starting with inflammation. This can then cause diseases and ailments like diabetes, migraines, mental illness, Celiac disease, asthma and arthritis.

7. The dyes aren’t good for your kids

Long-term side effects of eating Red dye 40 can include immune disorders, A.D.D. and A.D.H.D., especially in children. Since Doritos are a popular snack choice for youngsters, you should try to switch it for something healthier.

8. They’re fried in unhealthy ingredients

Doritos are fried in vegetable oils that have been commericially processed and can lead to an increase of free radicals in the body. They’re also genetically modified and loaded with trans fats, which can cause inflammation, compromised immunity, increased circulation of bad estrogen, and a lack of nutrients.

9. Doritos can cause cancer?!

The GMOs used to make Doritos are considered to be a carcinogen that has been linked to breast cancer, autism, gluten allergies, diabetes, and inflammation. Yikes!

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Doritos are a popular brand of corn-chip snacks many have learned to love over the years. But are Doritos bad for you?

Are Doritos Bad For You?

The short answer is yes. They contain many ingredients that can have an adverse effect on human health.

Examples of ingredients in Doritos that can be problematic include artificial flavors, GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), and chemicals.

Although it is not properly indicated on the packaging, the corn in Doritos is genetically modified. Doritos also contain MSG (monosodium glutamate), as well as sugar (including fructose), salt, and partially hydrogenated oils. They also contain artificial food colors such as Red dye 40, Yellow dye 6, and Yellow dye 5.

A small bag of Doritos contains about 150 calories, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of fat, and 180 mg of sodium. The exact amounts depend on the flavor of Doritos in question, as there are numerous on the market.

Like other types of chips, Doritos tend have a bit of an “addictive” effect on many people, making eating large quantities far beyond one recommended serving likely to occur.

As we have already stated, Doritos contains unhealthy fats. In fact, the weight of each individual chip is almost 29 percent from fat.

Many of the unhealthy ingredients and additives found in Doritos can lead to inflammation. Inflammation is known to be a factor in the development of problems such as arthritis, body pain, asthma, celiac disease, mental illness, migraines, and diabetes.

Why are GMOs a Concern?

While the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) holds the opinion that GMOs are safe, there are a number of consumer groups that believe otherwise.

They suspect that powerful elements of and connected to the agricultural industry (particularly large corporations) have lobbied to pressure authorities to declare GMOs entirely safe when they may not be.

It is worried that GMOs may pose a real risk to human health (such as an increased risk of cancer). As we stated earlier, while Doritos does not clearly indicate it on their product packaging, the company does indeed use GMO corn.

What is Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)?

Monosodium glutamate is a chemical used as a flavor enhancer in some foods. A few places where it is sometimes found include processed “junk” food (such as Doritos), soups, canned vegetables, and food from Chinese restaurants.

In people who are sensitive to MSG, the chemical is believed to cause a number of different side effects. Examples include:

  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Flushing
  • Heart palpitations (fluttering, rapid heartbeat)
  • Sweating
  • Burning, tingling, or numbness in the neck, face, and other areas of the body
  • Facial tightness or pressure

If you experience a reaction to MSG, you might experience one or more of these symptoms.

Potential Health Effects of Doritos

Doritos can have a number of short-term side effects. Some of these include hyperactivity in children; allergic reaction in certain individuals; and dehydration.

Possible side effects of excessive long-term consumption of the snack include:

  • Obesity
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Hypertension
  • Inflammation

Why is Excessive and Chronic Inflammation a Problem?

It has been found that inflammation can contribute to the development of a number of different health issues. Some examples include:

  • Chronic inflammation in the intestines is linked to several different health. Some examples are ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
  • Inflammation in any part of the body can interfere with the growth of new bone, thus making bone loss an issue. It is believed that inflammation causes the blood to contain inflammatory markers that can create an interruption of bone formation. When there is inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, your body’s ability to properly absorb nutrients from food needed for bone building can be interfered with.
  • Chronic inflammation has been found to be linked to several different kinds of cancer, including, for example, cancer of the digestive tract, cervix, esophagus, colon, and lung.
  • Having chronic inflammation can make it more difficult to lose weight, and being overweight makes you more likely to have chronic inflammation. This situation can cause a vicious cycle.
  • Inflammation is very destructive to the gums, and is a major factor in the development of periodontitis. Periodontitis, a condition caused by the presence of bacteria, can cause permanent damage to the gums and bones that support the teeth.
  • Chronic inflammation can lead to the development of skin problems. One example is psoriasis. It is also believed that inflammation makes the skin more likely to show signs of aging earlier on than otherwise.
  • There is a link between chronic inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

Healthier Snack Alternatives

It is best to avoid Doritos and other unhealthy, “junk food” snacks, keeping them only for very occasional consumption at the most. There are many healthier options that you can enjoy instead. Here are some to consider:

  • Cheese and crackers: It is recommended that you choose a low-fat cheese and low-fat, whole grain crackers.
  • Popcorn: This is a good option only if you skip the butter. Find a brand of microwave popcorn that is low in fat.
  • Fruits and vegetables: This is an excellent, common sense option. Some popular selections are chopped apples, orange segments, baby carrots, and celery sticks. Many people enjoy making and drinking fruit smoothies.
  • Cereal: Whole grain cereal can be a good snack. Make sure there is little to no added sugar. Skim or 2% milk might be best.

No matter how healthy the food, remember that you should never go overboard with your overall eating. If you consistently consume more calories than you need over a long period of time, you are likely to become overweight or even obese eventually.

Be mindful of what you eat, and respect your body. Being overweight or obese is linked to a wide range of health conditions, including dangerous and deadly diseases like cancer.

“Doritos Chips Nutrition”, http://www.livestrong.com/article/82480-doritos-chips-nutrition

“Best and Worst Snacks”, http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/best-and-worst-snacks#1

“What is Inflammation?” http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20898778,00.html#it-can-harm-your-joints–0

“Feed Your Head: Cravings Quenchers”, http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/healthy-snack-alternatives#1

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Move Over Doritos: 5 Better-for-You Chips to Snack On

Football season is in full swing and you know what that means – snack food! But don’t think that you have to fill up your football-themed snack dishes with just Doritos and tortilla chips. There are so many healthier chips on the grocery store shelves. Read on for our top healthy chip picks!

5 Healthy Chips to Snack On

1. Beanitos. Made from beans – not corn – these Beanitos chips boost fiber and protein in every bite. They even come in a cheddar cheese flavor to fulfill your biggest Doritos craving!

2. Food Should Taste Good. This brand offers a variety of healthy chips, but we’re particularly fans of the Blue Corn chips that feature organic blue corn, quinoa and flaxseeds.

3. popchips. You just can’t go wrong with these chips that are not baked or fried but popped! If you’re a fan of spicier Doritos, be sure to try popchips new Jalapeno flavor!

4. Baked Classics. Gluten-free with no MSG, saturated fat or preservatives, you can feel good eating these baked chips. We recommend the Mesquite BBQ flavor!

5. Veggie Stix. With 55 percent less fat than usual potato chips, Veggie Stix are made with potatoes, tomatoes and spinach, pure sea salt and non-hydrogenated oils. Delish!

Do you snack on chips? Have a soft-spot for Doritos? Tell us about it!

  • By Jennipher Walters

In Clean Eating Dreamland, every snack spread you encounter is stocked with fresh crudité and organic mixed nuts. Here in reality, of course, the options aren’t so abundant. We’ve all sidled up to the party snack table that’s got nothing but jumbo bags of potato chips and corn chips—essentially, two different kinds of high-calorie, fat-soaked carb slabs. That rumble in your stomach isn’t going to take care of itself, though, so which do you choose? It’s time for a food face-off.

MORE: Doughnut vs. Muffin: Which is the Lesser of Two Evils?

Potato chips get a bad start with 15 more calories per serving than tortilla chips.
Both chips have little to offer when it comes to protein and fiber—so that’s a draw.
But fats make things interesting: While tortilla chips have less saturated fat than potato chips, they also have almost 10 times the trans fat. Sure, a serving only has 0.2 grams of trans fat, but those little amounts add up quickly when the WHO daily recommended limit is only 2 g per day.
Next: Vitamins and minerals. Neither chip has much, but potato chips edge out tortillas with 8% of your daily value for calcium and 7% of your daily value for sodium. Tortilla chips do have a hair more calcium, however, with 3% of your daily value.
Finally, we examine the salt factor: Tortilla chips have a surprising 38% less sodium than their potato peers.

The Tally:
Tortilla Chips: 4 points
Potato Chips: 3 points

Winner: Tortilla Chips
Nutritionally, these snacks are almost the same. But when push comes to shove, go tortilla, says Toby Amidor, MS, RD, nutrition expert and author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen. Why? “They’re a good vehicle to dip into salsa and guacamole, and these dips deliver a variety of good-for-you nutrients,” she says. “Potato chips are usually eaten as-is, limiting the amount of nutrients you take in.”
But don’t pick blindly, says Gina Consalvo, RD, a Pennsylvania-based nutritionist. “Reading ingredients is a must,” she explains. “Try to avoid highly refined vegetable oil blends since they can be a sneaky source of trans fat. Then, choose a brand that is made of just corn or potato with expeller-pressed oil and sea salt. Nothing else.” And no matter what, both experts stress one thing: Portion. Control. And don’t forget: Some tortilla chips are so jumbo-sized that a serving is just six measly chips.

Do Healthy Chips Exist? Potato Chips vs. Tortilla Chips

Watch: Which Chip Is Healthier?

Trying to choose chips that are healthy can be a real challenge at the grocery store. Whether it’s corn tortilla chips or potato chips, there are dozens of chips to choose from.

We put two kinds of chips – potato and tortilla – head to head to find out, which is healthier: this or that?

Winner: It’s a draw.

Surprising as it was to many shoppers we surveyed, tortilla chips do not win here, as Joyce Hendley originally reported for EatingWell.

In fact, neither variety of chip should be thought of as a health food. But when you stack them up against each other there are some small nutritional differences.

Both potato chips and tortilla chips come in endless variations that make other nutrition comparisons practically impossible.

Here’s what we can tell you:

Potato Chips: Potato chips have slightly more calories and fat, and a little more sodium.

But they also contain a fair amount of potassium. Surprisingly, a little bit more than a banana!

Tortilla Chips: Some tortilla chips come in multigrain varieties flecked with black beans, flaxseeds and other grains, which can sometimes add a little more fiber to the chips.

Calories: No matter what variety you choose of either potato chips or tortilla chips, you’ll get about the same amount of calories per serving-around 150 calories.

You can also get baked versions of both, which contain less fat, but often come with more sodium. And the baked varieties don’t always taste as great as the real deal.

Our Advice: Consider both these snacks something to enjoy in moderation as an occasional treat, and don’t split hairs with nutrition info.

Related: Watch More Grocery Store Face-Offs Between Popular Foods

Should I Eat Chips?

4/5 experts say no.

Don’t even start with that “made from potatoes” business: chips are not a vegetable.

Plain salted potato chips are “a low-nutrient, high-calorie food,” says Lindsay Malone, registered dietitian who works at the Cleveland Clinic. A typical 1.5-ounce bag will run you 223 calories, plus 14 grams of fat and 221 mg of sodium. That might be fine if you’re having them once in a blue moon, but that’s often not the case—especially with kids.

“The largest increase in children’s snack calories in the last 15 years has come from salty snacks,” says Dr. Lenny Lesser, a research physician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation who has studied adolescent eating behavior. That’s bad news not just for our waistlines but for overall health, too.

“Potato chips have been consistently reported to have the highest concentrations of acrylamide among all the foods tested,” says T. Koray Palazoğlu, an acrylamide researcher and professor in the department of food engineering at Mersin University in Turkey. Acrylamide is a chemical created in certain foods that are cooked at high temperatures. Because chips are sliced so thin and fried so hot, they’re even heavier in acrylamide than French fries (which, sadly, 7 out of 9 experts warn against). Fries only have acrylamide in the golden crust, not the core, Palazoğlu says. “Potato chips, being nothing but crust, therefore have higher levels of acrylamide.” Acrylamide still has unknown human health consequences, but the European Food Safety Authority said this summer that the chemical may raise the risk for cancer.

Chips are also fairly addictive; even scientists who know better can’t always resist the crunch of a chip. “I have to admit that I really enjoy crisps,” says Sangita Sharma, professor of aboriginal and global health at the University of Alberta. Even for remote Inuit communities in Canada, whose diets are still rich in traditional foods like fermented seal fat and fried caribou, 80% reported eating potato chips, Sharma found in her recent research.

We all succumb to chips—even Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. But here’s his trick: crunch carefully. “A well-chosen chip can be a good source of fiber,” he says. While a bag of chips will only give you just about 1 gram of fiber, the same 1.5 ounce serving of white corn tortilla chips chalks up 2.3 grams.

“If Americans expand the idea of chips beyond potato chips,” says Lesser, “they may find some ‘thumbs up’ options that provide just as much crunch.”

Illustration by Lon Tweeten for TIME

Read Next: Should I Eat Falafel?

Most Popular on TIME

Write to Mandy Oaklander at [email protected]

Why Doritos are so darned addictive

Beware: You will probably feel like eating a bag of nacho cheese chips after reading this.

A scientist in America has broken down Doritos’ classic nacho cheese flavor to work out what makes the chips so irresistible.

When Doritos inventor Arch West died two years ago, his family reportedly scattered the chips into his grave. Such is the sanctity of nacho cheese.

If you find yourself addicted to the salty yellow chippies, don’t fear that you’ve got an overblown fondness for junk food.

Steven A. Witherly, a food scientist and the author of “Why Humans Like Junk Food,” has explained to the New York Times that nacho cheese Doritos are the archetype of addictive processed foods.

They’ve been engineered so you never feel like you’ve had enough. Here’s why:

The chips have the powerful savory flavor known as umami, and also what Mr. Witherly calls “long hang-time flavors” like garlic that create a lingering smell that stimulates memories.

The recipe balances these powerful tastes so well that no single flavor overpowers and lingers in the mind after you’ve eaten a chip. This avoid what scientists call “sensory specific satiety” or the feeling of fullness caused by a dominant flavor.

You wouldn’t eat a whole bag of rosemary chips, would you? But you keep coming back for more and more nacho cheese Doritos.

Two acids – lactic and citric, get the saliva flowing – which triggers the impulse to eat. Another ingredient, buttermilk, delivers even more lactic acid.

Dorito dust has even more impact if you lick it right from your fingertips without the chip to dilute it.

To maximize the pleasure, half of the calories in Doritos come from fat. With that ratio, it feels like the chip melts on your mouth and your brain is tricked into thinking the calories have vanished too. This is called “vanishing caloric density” and it comes with cotton candy too, for example.

To boot, there’s the three artificial colorings which research shows consumers are attracted to.

And the blend of ingredients is ground so finely (one of the finest grinds in food processing in fact) that the powder fills every nook and cranny of your mouth.

In short: You’re defenseless.

This story originally appeared on News.com.au.

The Dorito Effect: Healthy food is blander than ever — and it’s making us fat

We talk a lot these days about the impact Big Food has had on our collective waistline: too much salt, sugar, and fat. Rarely, however, do we talk about the corollary of this: that at the same time food companies mastered the art of engineering flavors to make things like soda and chips irresistible, “real foods” like meats and produce have become increasingly bland.

Journalist Mark Schatzker tracks the unfortunate parallel rise of these events in his fascinating new book, The Dorito Effect. He makes the case that the conversation about obesity is missing any discussion of flavor. Added flavorings are “obesity-inducing food intoxicants,” he writes: “The rise of obesity is the predictable result of the rise in manufactured deliciousness.”

This may sound radical, but Schatzker backs up his theory with compelling research that will change how you think about food. In nature, flavor and nutrition go hand in hand; flavors are proxies for our nutritional requirements. Today, however, our food lies to us. Artificially flavored foods sometimes have the veneer of health, but are too often nutritionally bankrupt, he argues, delivering calories without satiating our bodies’ needs. What’s worse, these foods fool our sensory system — with detrimental results for our diets and bodies. “This is food that’s truly delicious in the moment, that has a lot of flavor because we put it there,” he told Vox, “but it doesn’t tell the kind of nutritional story that real food does.”

I spoke to Schatzker about his fascinating theory: why he thinks flavor is key to human health, why technology might be able to fix our flavor problem, and how to navigate a world in which the things we eat aren’t actually what they seem.

Julia Belluz: So why did you write a book about flavor?

Mark Schatzker: Because we’ve been having a frantic conversation about food for 50 years, no one ever talks about the way it tastes. I find the salt, sugar, fat thesis of obesity interesting, but I think it doesn’t tell us the whole story only because salt, sugar, and fat existed in abundance in the 1950s when we were trim. Part of what’s changed since is availability — corporations got really good at getting these foods to us. But it was the added flavoring that made these foods irresistible. Flavor technology got very powerful in the early 1960s, and it wasn’t long after that that we began to see the startling increases in body mass index.

One thing I think brings home the importance of flavor is that the genes that write our flavor sensing equipment, the nose and mouth, take up more DNA than any other bodily system — more than your brain, more than your sex organs, more than your eyes.

From an evolutionary point of view, flavor is clearly very important. And when we experience the flavor of the food we eat, it engages more parts of the brain than any other behavior.
“Ask yourself this: How much soft drinks, potato chips, and tortilla chips would we eat if they weren’t flavored?”

As far as highlighting how we’ve gotten the thinking wrong on food and our nutrient-obsessive approach, I think the best analogy is smoking. We know smoking is deadly because it causes cancer along with a host of other ailments. However, that’s how smoking kills people. The “why” smoking kills so many people is because nicotine is addictive. In other words, it’s the behavior. It’s nicotine’s effect on the part of the brain that experiences desire and moves us to do something we so often know we shouldn’t.

And the same is true with food. The calories in food are what make us overweight and obese — and lead to so many of the associated morbidities — but flavor is what ignites our desire and leads us to these foods. Ask yourself this: How much soft drinks, potato chips, and tortilla chips would we eat if they weren’t flavored? The answer, I believe, is much, much less.

JB: You’ve picked up on something I think many people have ignored when they talk about obesity: Fruits and vegetables have become diluted, not only of flavor but of nutrition.
Science & Society Picture Library/Getty Images

(Science & Society Picture Library/Getty Images)

MS: All the good stuff we grow — tomatoes, strawberries, lettuce — has gotten continually more bland. This has been measured. They have become diluted of nutrients, as well. As we selected crops for agronomic traits like yield, shelf life and disease resistant, we never selected for flavor. And we lost flavor as a result. It’s reverse evolutionary pressure.

Simultaneously, while those flavors were being lost at the farm level, we started producing them in factories and adding them to all sorts of things. We created flavors that were out of context. For tens of thousands of years, the only place we could get the taste of orange was from an orange. Then we created orange flavoring and suddenly we had orange pops, ice cream, candy. These flavored foods deliver deliciousness and calories, but they don’t deliver a diversity of nutrients.

JB: Doritos were surprisingly important in your story on our changing relationship with food and flavor. Why did you single out these corn chips?

Doritos. Bet you can’t eat just one. (Hong Vo/)

MS: Doritos started as a genius idea from the VP of sales and marketing at Frito-Lay named Arch West. He wanted to unleash tortilla chips on the market. The very first Doritos were just salted tortilla chips — and they failed. So he came up with idea to make them taste like taco.
“Up to that point, only tacos tasted like tacos and tortilla chips tasted like corn”

Up to that point, only tacos tasted like tacos and tortilla chips tasted like corn. Thanks to the invention of the gas chromatograph, flavor scientists could finally figure out what flavor compounds were in tacos and then put those chemicals on tortilla chips. So that’s what they did. They put a dusting of flavorings on these tortilla chips, and people went crazy for them.

I don’t think Arch West knew what an impact this would have on the food system. But Doritos became the model that all food would follow.

Now chicken has become like Doritos. Chicken is so incredibly bland, about 50 percent of the chicken we eat now is further processed. Chicken nuggets are like the Doritos of chicken. You grind the chicken into a paste, bread it, put flavoring on it, fry it. You’re not tasting the chicken — the chicken is more a delivery vehicle of flavoring that was created by flavor scientists. This is incredibly deceptive on the cognitive level, but it’s also messed up the palate.

JB: So nothing we eat is actually as it seems. I was pretty disturbed by your point in the book that even “natural flavorings” deceive us.

MS: The Food and Drug Administration allows natural flavorings to be labeled as such because of history. Forty years ago, most synthetic flavors were quote “artificial.” Natural flavors were things like, say, the essential oil of cinnamon. I don’t think food companies had the technology to make pure flavorings naturally; it was all artificial.

More recently, they developed the ability to make isolated flavoring chemicals in a “natural” way. It’s just a distortion of policy and a legal labeling framework.

Take a blueberry. Let’s say there are 15 chemicals that give blueberries their distinctive, wonderful flavor. Well, nature’s an interesting place, and many plants and yeast share many of the same genes. So you can find one of these flavor chemicals in, say, bark, another compound in green grass, another in yeast.

If we want to get this blueberry flavoring from blueberries it would cost a fortune, because blueberries are expensive. But grass is cheap, bark is cheap, yeast is cheap. So flavor companies extract them using “natural means” — like acids, fermentation, and distillation. When the process is complete, you have a test tube full of pure chemicals, none of which came from an actual blueberry. Chemically speaking, these compounds are identical to an “artificial” blueberry flavoring. But the government says you can label it “natural.” Most importantly, what you’re not getting in that blueberry flavoring is all the other good stuff you get in blueberries — the vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and so on.

JB: It sounds like we’re veering into Food Babe territory. Are these chemicals actually bad for your health?


MS: I don’t think they’ll give you cancer or Alzheimer’s or something — not directly at least.

“Added flavors make food more delicious than it deserves to be… it makes food tell a nutritional lie” The reason to be fearful of them is the effect they have on our behavior. These flavors make food more delicious than it deserves to be. Put that blueberry flavor in sugar water, and suddenly it’s a delicious fruit drink that a child can’t resist, and he’s getting too many calories.

It also gives food the sheen of nutrition. It makes food tell a nutritional lie. Consider the beverage aisle. It’s filled with all the different flavors. Soft drinks are all imitating real food. Lemon-lime, cola, orange soda. All these drinks really deliver is sugar water. It’s interesting that no one would drink these things if not for the flavorings.

JB: In the past few years, you went from being someone who craved McDonald’s to someone who craved broccoli. How did that change happen?

MS: I started to eat differently, not because I was on any kind of diet. When I was doing my book about steak, the chef Alain Ducasse told me that cooking is the easy part, but the difficulty every chef faces is getting great ingredients.

After that, I started buying great steaks, then I expanded that to everything — carrots, tomatoes. I found my palate changed. I really started to not want the pizza or fast-food burger.

I became aware of how really, truly crappy you feel after some meals. I also found that my cravings changed. I used to hate broccoli, but then I developed this liking for broccoli that would sometimes become a craving.

JB: How exactly do you shop for food now?

MS: People need to shop like passionate Italian chefs. They need to care a lot about flavor, spend a lot of time on food — finding cucumbers that taste like cucumbers, tomatoes that taste like tomato — and the food is more satisfying. It’s also a lot easier to cook.
“If you start to see the words ‘artificial flavor’ or ‘natural flavor,’ to me it’s the indicator of junk food”

If you start to see the words “artificial flavor” or “natural flavor,” to me it’s the indicator of junk food. Don’t worry about calories or carbs or fat — the best indicator of junk food is the addition of flavorings.

When you start to look for them, you see them everywhere. Soy milk, for example, has this clean reputation. But when you start to look, it has a huge amount of flavoring and sugar.

Yogurt, too. Most kids growing up today are used to really sweet yogurt. Some of those yogurt tubes come in fruit flavors, and they’re directed at moms trying to get a healthy snack for their kids. They have no fruit in them at all.

Michael Pollan suggests avoiding anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. But the interesting thing to me is if you go back in time and give your grandmother some of the real food we eat now like cucumber or tomato, she wouldn’t recognize them either. It tastes so watery.

JB: Instead of suggesting we need to return to simpler days, you argue that technology might actually be the fix here. Can you explain that?


MS: We can’t go back to 1940s-style agriculture — well, very few of us can. As wonderful as that food tastes, it’s extremely expensive, and we couldn’t grow enough to feed all of us, even if we wanted to. When I was researching The Dorito Effect, I thought there was an absolute trade-off between quality and quantity. If you wanted delicious tomatoes, you wouldn’t have many of them. This was very depressing, because it meant that only rich people would be able to afford truly delicious food.
What I discovered, however, is that we can get the flavor back into modern varieties of produce and still keep modern-day yields, disease resistance, and shelf life. We just need to care about flavor. And some plant breeders and scientists care. Already, the University of Florida has bred a tomato — it’s non-GMO — that has the yield of a modern tomato and the flavor of an heirloom. This, to me, is such wonderful news. It means we can produce high-quality food that’s affordable and accessible. We can make the produce at an ordinary supermarket more like what Alice Waters is serving at Chez Panisse.
My hope is that one day we grandparents tell our grandkids stories about how once upon a time, tomatoes were bland.

7 Healthier Alternatives for Your Favorite Packaged Snacks

As convenient and delicious as packaged snacks may be, they’re the very definition of highly processed food. Often, best-selling favorites are made with enriched flour, high-fructose corn syrup, additives, and artificial flavors. And since they’re lacking any protein or fiber to keep us full, we typically eat far more than a recommended portion. There has to be a better way.

If you’re looking for healthy alternatives for your favorite snacks, these are some swaps you should make.

1. Oreos

Chocolate sandwich cookies are an American favorite. | iStock.com

Since it’s easy to get lost in the world of snacking when eating Oreos, it’s easy to consume more than one serving at a time. If you’re looking for a healthy alternative for the beloved cookie sandwich, try Back to Nature’s Classic Crème Cookies. Although they’re also not exactly nutritious, they’re definitely the lesser of two evils. A serving of two cookies equals 130 calories, 6 grams of fat, 18 grams of carbohydrates, and 11 grams of sugar. Bear in mind, most of this difference has to do with a smaller portion. Still, they’re made with fewer ingredients and don’t contain any corn syrup or artificial flavorings.

2. Lay’s Classic Potato Chips

Potato chips are very unhealthy. | iStock.com

Popchips makes a great alternative to the salty snack and gives you more chips per serving. While sodium, protein, and fiber remain relatively the same, one serving has fewer calories and much less fat than regular Lay’s. They come in a variety of flavors as well, so there’s a lot to choose from.

3. Doritos

Doritos are delicious, but definitely unhealthy. | iStock.com

As a much healthier alternative to the cheesy chip, try any of Beanitos’s options. These chips are made out of the namesake legume, meaning each serving comes with protein, fiber, and antioxidants. The regular Nacho Cheese flavor is made with whole navy beans and non-GMO natural flavors, and is packed with 5 grams of fiber and protein each per serving. They’re also gluten-free.

4. Smartfood White Cheddar Cheese Popcorn

Smartfood popcorn is super addicting. | iStock.com

Angie’s BoomChickaPop White Cheddar Popcorn is a slightly better option. While one serving of this white cheddar snack looks similar, with 150 calories, 3 grams of protein, and offers just an extra gram of fiber, you get an extra ¾ cup per portion. You’ll even save 10 calories.

5. Cheetos

We all know Cheetos are bad for us. | iStock.com/marilyna

If you crave the puffed snack, opt for another Beanitos product: Baked White Bean Mac n’ Cheese Crunch. A serving of 28 grams (the same as Cheetos), offers 140 calories, 8 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber, and even 3 grams of protein. Not bad for a snack food.

6. Nature Valley Oats ‘n Honey Granola Bars

These bars may seem healthy, but they’re not really. | iStock.com

A healthier option is an Oats & Honey with Toasted Coconut KIND Healthy Grains bar. This snack is made with a whole-grain blend that includes oats, buckwheat, and quinoa. It contains 150 calories, 5 grams of fat, and only 6 grams of sugar. If you need the energy and want to grab a snack bar, KIND is the better option.

7. Cheez-Its

Skip the Cheez-Its and go for a better option. | iStock.com

A portion of Simple Mills Farmhouse Cheddar Crackers has slightly more calories, but offers 2 grams of fiber and only 180 milligrams of sodium. But what’s most important is these crunchy snacks are made with a blend of seeds and nuts, making them perfect for those avoiding grains. They’re still high in fat, though, so mind your portion size.

Beanfields has seven flavors of tortilla chips with an unconventional twist. Instead of using a base of corn or flour, they are made from beans and rice (did the name give it away?), which means they are full of nutrition, namely protein. And yet, they have the traditional tortilla chip crunch and taste, minus the excess oil.

These chips can be much more than a stand-alone snack: try adding the nacho flavored chips to a bowl of quinoa, black beans, lettuce, sweet potato and salsa for a health take on a taco salad. I tried this and the results were completely hearty and satisfying: the addition took the dish from pretty good to savory and delightful.

I was lucky enough to try every flavor Beanfields has created, including the recently released Ranch and Barbecue. Here is the verdict:

  • Ranch – These taste just like the Cool Ranch Doritos and are by far my favorite flavor of Beanfields chips.
  • BBQ – These taste like the seasoning on a barbecue potato chip, but on a tortilla chip instead.
  • Nacho – As mentioned above, these nacho chips are the Doritos’ better, healthier twin. Each bite is cheesy without any weird, processed ingredients.
  • Pico De Gallo – These are my second favorite. They are a flavorful, spicy chip without any heat, and even remind me of the Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos. Even my mom liked them!
  • Salt & Pepper – The salt & pepper flavor is prominent without being overpowering.
  • Salted and Unsalted – Both are basic tortilla chips and would be perfect for dipping in salsa, guacamole or vegan nacho cheese.

In addtion to being free of gluten and corn, these chips are also free of peanuts and seeds. They are Non-GMO Project verified and have 4 grams of complete protein. They are not oil free, but only contain 5 grams of fat, which is almost 29 percent less fat than the average tortilla chip. If you missed Doritos, don’t wait a second longer to get your hands on Beanfields. You won’t regret it. The small, individual serving bags would be great in a lunch box, and warning: if you get a big bag you may devour it on the spot!

Want to try the top 3 flavors (Ranch, BBQ and Nacho)? Vegan Cuts has a special 6-pack deal for only $18, which includes free shipping in the US! Check it out here!

Rachel Curit is a recent graduate of the University of Maine. You can find her writing at One Green Planet, Flurt, and her own site, The Vegan Mishmash.


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* Tasty, healthy alternatives to some of your favorite junk food snacks
* Small changes in your diet can have a big impact on your health
* Healthy snack options include roasted broad beans, falafel chips and kale chips

When it comes to living a healthier lifestyle, often times, the best course of action is to make a number of small changes that add up to make a big difference. One of the best and easiest, examples of this is your choice of daily snack. Choosing a healthier alternative to a candy bar or chips every day over the course of a year creates a significant change in your diet.

This might sound good in theory, but changing out your delicious junk food for a less-than-tasty healthy snack is a difficult choice. To combat this all-too-common problem, we’ve found five flavor-filled options to give even the most picky of eaters something to get their mouth around.

1. If You Like M&Ms, Try Enlightened Bean Snacks…

If you love those little sugar-covered chocolate bites, it might be time to switch them out for beans. Yes, we said beans. It may sound crazy, but with a choice of mesquite BBQ, garlic and onion and, of course, cocoa dusted (for all the chocoholics), it won’t take long before your lunchtime pangs are aimed at beans instead of chocolates. Each of the 6 packs contains 7 grams of protein and only 100 calories. They’re high in fiber and gluten-free too. Try them by the handful, or mix them into your cereal, oatmeal, yogurt or trail mix.

Image courtesy of Amazon

2. If You Like Nacho Chips, Try Krispeas…

As tasty as nacho chips may be, their excessive sodium content and calorie count isn’t great for your diet. Thankfully, Krispeas Baked Falafel Chips are an ideal stand in. With their lower carb content and delicious taste, you will enjoy dipping and snacking on this nutritious snacking option just as much as you enjoy nacho chips. Krispeas are also free from artificial colors and preservatives. Instead, they are packed with flax seeds, split peas and a range of herbs and spices.

Image courtesy of Amazon

3. If You Like Cheetos, Try Peatos…

Unnaturally orange yet cheesy and delicious, Cheetos are a favorite salty snack for many. Sadly, with up to 300 calories per serving, these puffed cornmeal snacks are not part of a balanced diet. Instead, try replacing Cheetos with Peatos (get it?!). These cheesy puffs are made from the nutrient-packed beans, lentils, chickpeas and peas. So you get all the satisfying crunch of your favorite junk food without the guilt. Peatos are available in four flavors: classic cheese, fiery hot, chili cheese and masala. We’ve been snacking on these for months at the SPY office and can vouch for how tasty they are – you know how sometimes you know you’re eating the healthier alternative because it tastes well.. healthy? These taste like the real thing without the guilt.

Image courtesy of Amazon

4. If You Like Corn Nuts, Try Enlightened Bada Bean Bada Boom…

With such a positively fun name, Enlightened Bada Bean Bada Boom Broad Beans are as addicting as corn nuts but much better for your waistline. These low-calorie snacks are not only tasty, but they’re also packed protein and fiber.This variety pack comes with four flavors for you to try: garlic & onion, sriracha, sea salt and BBQ. Full of flavor and not calories, you’ll quickly fall in love with these versatile beans.

Image courtesy of Amazon

5. If You Like Doritos, Try Kale Chips…

Who doesn’t like Doritos? The cheesy, fiery tortilla chips are positively addicting. Unfortunately, as you know, they’re not a healthy snack. Luckily, flavored kale chips are just as addicting. The Rhythm Superfoods Kale Chips Variety Pack includes four flavors: original, zesty nacho, kool ranch and garlic & onion. Kale is a superfood that’s known for being low-carb and low-calorie yet packed with nutrition.

Image courtesy of Amazon

The 10 Best Gluten-Free Snacks To Try Right Now

The dirty truth about Doritos: What you’re really eating on Super Bowl Sunday

Whole Corn

The word “doritos” is supposedly pidgin Spanish for “little bits of gold.” The main ingredient in these bits of gold is heated and steeped in an alkaline solution, usually lye or lime. This frees up the corn’s niacin and restructures some of its amino acids, leading to better protein quality.


Vegetable Oil

Each chip is nearly 29 percent fat by weight, and almost all of that is corn oil, sunflower oil, or soybean oil. That’s good, because fat activates the brain’s natural mu-opioid receptors, provoking what scientists call a hedonic response; you want to eat more fat, which makes a stronger hedonic response, which makes you want to eat more fat, and . . . dude, don’t bogart the bag!



Simple pasteurized cow milk, used as the basis for the two cheeses.

Cheddar Cheese Cultures

Usually Lactococcus lactis cremoris bacteria. They’re injected into the milk during the cheese-making process, and their enzymes break down milk proteins into various smelly/tasty compounds.


Monosodium Glutamate

Some people swear they can taste ketchup on these chips, even though tomatoes aren’t on the ingredient list. Since the principal component of a tomato’s flavor is glutamic acid, it is possible (Frito-Lay isn’t talking) that the addition of MSG and a few spices is responsible for the crypto-ketchup taste sensation.



The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders lists seven criteria, any three of which make a substance addictive. Salt meets four of them: withdrawal symptoms, the development of tolerance, inability to control level of usage, and difficulty quitting or restricting (even with full knowledge of health hazards).



The last piece of the unholy trinity: fat, salt, sugar. Lab rats given sugar show an increase in their brain’s D1 (excitatory) receptors and a decrease in D2 (inhibitory) receptors. Just like lab rats given cocaine! Over time, they need more and more of the white stuff—either sugar or blow—to get the buzz.

Natural Beef Flavor


Swiss Cheese Cultures

Those bubble holes in Swiss cheese? The acne sores on your face? They’re both the result of gas and acids given off by members of the Propionibacterium family, which have been distilled into these chips.

Corn Maltodextrin

This is glucose that is going through a period of identity confusion. Not exactly starch and not exactly sugar, maltodextrin is legally defined as a chain of glucose molecules with a dextrose equivalency rating of less than 20 (corn syrup is 68, starch is 0). Different kinds of maltodextrin can be used as a fat substitute or fiber supplement, but here its absorptive qualities and lack of taste are put to use as a medium for delivering the beef and cheese flavors to your mouth.


Onion Powder

Onions complete the cheeseburger—their sulfurous goodness strengthens the savory flavor of the meaty compounds.

Mustard Seed Powder

What’s a cheeseburger without mustard? But the most common complaint about this snack is that Frito-Lay went too heavy on the stuff. It’s so hard to fake things just right.


I was in my local Target when I first came across this bag. Cheeseburger-flavored Doritos? How did they manage to do that? Why did they manage to do that? Did people write letters to Frito-Lay saying, “You know, I like the Nacho and Cool Ranch flavors, but could you make something more cheeseburgery?” Did it come from a focus group Frito-Lay held with college stoners? “Dude, sometimes we want cheeseburgers late at night, but, like, we don’t want to go out and get food, so we just, like, eat Doritos. You know what would be awesome? If you guys could like make Doritos that taste like cheeseburgers! That would be so awesome!”

We’ll probably never know.

There in the store, I read the ingredient list and my eyes lit up. At the time, Doritos Late Night All Nighter Cheeseburger chips were made with pork enzymes, to give them a unique flavor. Pork enzymes! Pork. Enzymes. Enzymes are necessary to turn milk into cheese, and traditionally those have been cow enzymes. But pork? I love working on those products that contain unexpected ingredients, and here was a great one—after all, you probably don’t anticipate pork enzymes in your cheeseburger chips (although you probably should). More to the point, people who follow the kosher or halal dietary rules are forbidden to eat anything derived from pork. Would they notice the pork in these corn chips? Of course, people keeping kosher aren’t supposed to be eating cheeseburgers either, but would that apply to something that simply tasted like the forbidden food?


Obviously, this pork enzyme thing was something I had to speak to the folks at Doritos about. Frito-Lay, the makers of Doritos, is owned by PepsiCo (“A leading global food and beverage company with brands that are respected household names throughout the world”). After finally reaching the right person, I asked them point-blank about the pork enzymes that can be found in the ingredient list. “What were they used for?” I asked. “What was special about pork enzymes that could not be handled by other types of enzymes?” The person at PepsiCo said he would get back to me.

Now repeat that several times over the next several weeks: I would call PepsiCo, I’d ask some questions about the pork enzymes, they would tell me that they’d have to get back to me, we would say good-bye. One day, I called them up, fully expecting to go through the same Kabuki theater we had been playing for the past weeks. Instead, the person I spoke to feigned complete innocence of any knowledge of pork enzymes. I told them I was calling about the pork enzymes in Doritos Late Night All Nighter Cheeseburger chips. They told me there were no pork enzymes in Doritos Late Night All Nighter Cheeseburger chips. I told them that there were. They told me there weren’t. I promised to call back.

I went to the store and grabbed a bag of chips. There were no pork enzymes listed. Later, while I was actually researching this article, a Frito-Lay spokesperson confirmed that pork enzymes had been part of Doritos but were no longer in use. Was my persistent questioning the reason for the change? I strongly doubt that I had anything to do with Frito-Lay’s abandoning the use of pork enzymes; that move was probably in the pipeline for months before I came along. No matter; there were still loads about this product to write about.

I contacted a different person at Frito-Lay/PepsiCo to ask some more general questions about Doritos. No problem, he said, Doritos is all natural, we have no secrets. I started to list my questions, when he interrupted me to say that it would be much better if I e-mailed him the questions so he could do some research and be sure he got the best possible answers to me. “Unless you’re trying to trick me with some ‘gotcha’ questions over the phone, ha ha,” he added. We both shared a sarcastic laugh. I e-mailed him seven questions. Ten days later he responded:

1. The answer to this is proprietary.
2. Yes, little bits of gold.
3. The answer to this is proprietary.
4. The answer to this is proprietary.
5. The answer to this is proprietary.
6. Yes, pasteurized.
7. The answer to this is proprietary.

That was the extent of their assistance. The rest of the piece came from my own research. A few weeks later, when the story was done, I contacted the same guy to let him know that he would be hearing from our fact-checkers, to verify the two answers he gave us and some other things we had researched. He was astounded. How dare we write a story about PepsiCo when PepsiCo stopped cooperating with us? I told him we’re journalists—that’s what we do for a living. He told us it was very irresponsible for us as journalists to write an article about a company that didn’t want to be written about. And especially without opening a dialogue with the company giving them a chance to tell their side of the story! I firmly believe this man will head PepsiCo someday.

Reprinted from “THIS IS WHAT YOU JUST PUT IN YOUR MOUTH? From Egg Nog to Beef Jerky, The Surprising Secrets of What’s Inside Everyday Products.” Copyright © 2015 by Patrick Di Justo. To be published by Three Rivers Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, on February 3.

I have a severe weakness for salty snacks. I know that for some people, chocolate is their thing, but not me. I love to have a bag of chips while I am sitting on the couch watching sports, a movie or playing a board game. And if I get to choose any bag of chips – I go for Doritos. Yeah, I know, Doritos are not chips. They are awesome corn tortilla triangles of cheesy goodness! I love every flavor of Doritos but my all-time favorite is Zesty cheese flavor. YUM! So, it should come as no surprise that I look for ways to incorporate Doritos into my recipes. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts were on sale this week, so I decided that the recipe would revolve around chicken. After a little bit of thought the Doritos crusted chicken fingers were born!

I was amazed that they turned out as good as they did. They are perfect crunchy chicken fingers with the clear taste of nacho cheese Doritos. Everyone in the family loved them and it was great fun for the kids as they even got involved making them. They enjoyed dredging the the chicken strips in the various ingredients, but liked eating them even more!

I often make baked chicken fingers crusted with corn flakes. It is easy to make and they turn out crispy and delicious. I used the same method to make these but substituted corn flakes with Doritos. I have no idea why this has taken me so long to figure out. Doritos are way better than corn flakes. I do not know if I will ever make them with corn flakes again. There are so many flavors of Doritos that I will have fun trying this recipe with Cool Ranch, Sweet Chili Heat and other great Doritos flavors!

5 Step process

  1. Marinate sliced boneless chicken breasts in buttermilk for 2 hours.
  2. Dredge in flour.
  3. Dip in egg wash.
  4. Dredge in crushed Doritos.
  5. Bake in a 400F for 15-20 minutes.

I served it with this buttermilk ranch dressing.

Doritos Crusted Chicken Fingers

4.3 out of 5 20 reviews Oven baked chicken strips coated with crushed Doritos. Easy homemade chicken fingers that have the crunch and flavor of Doritos. Serve with ranch dip, bbq sauce, etc. Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 35 minutes Servings: 4


  • 4 chicken breasts , boneless skinless
  • 1 large bag (255g) Doritos , nacho flavor (or flavour of choice)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1-2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 4 eggs
  • cooking spray , optional


  • Cut the chicken into thin 1/2 inch strips.
  • Place the chicken in a bowl and pour in the buttermilk. Stir so the chicken is coated in the buttermilk. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for about 2 hours.
  • Using a food processor, crush the Doritos so that they are a texture similar to panko or coarse bread crumbs. Set aside in a large bowl.
  • Place flour and optional cayenne pepper in one bowl and eggs in another. Whisk the eggs so that they are well scrambled.
  • Preheat oven to 400F and, if desired, spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • Set up the four bowls in order: 1. bowl with the chicken, 2. bowl with the flour, 3. bowl with the beaten eggs, 4. bowl with the crushed Doritos.
  • Using a fork, lift out a few chicken strips and let excess buttermilk drain off. Place them in the flour and dredge them in so they are all coated in flour. Lift the chicken strips out of the flour and shake off any excess. Place them in the egg wash and turn them so they are evenly coated in egg. Lift them out of the egg and then dredge in the crushed Doritos. Place the coated chicken fingers on the baking sheet. Do this with the remaining chicken strips.
  • Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through.
  • Serve with buttermilk ranch dip, bbq sauce or your favorite dip.


Per serving:

Calories: 823kcalCarbohydrates: 93gProtein: 45gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 249mgSodium: 713mgFiber: 5gSugar: 9g

Nutrition Disclaimer

Author: Steve Cylka Course: Appetizer, Main Course Cuisine: American, Snack Food Keyword: Chicken Fingers, Doritos

Frito-Lay’s latest roster of “Simply” products includes numerous, preservative-free versions of all its major chip brands, including sea salt Ruffles and Tostitos, cheddar jalapeno Cheetos, and now, Simply Organic White Cheddar Doritos. The new, organic Doritos carry just as much fat and 81 percent the sodium of regular nacho cheese Doritos, and they also pack ten extra calories per serving.

In other words, you’re paying for the same junk-ridden processed product, only it’s now slapped with an organic label and missing some of the funky stuff that makes normal, orange-dusted Doritos last decades in the pantry. Blow the whistle, throw the flag, and draw the card: Organic Doritos are nonsense, and not worth your money.

Tailgate Party Nut Mix:

​ ​

In other words, this is still processed junk food, and you should steer clear. The push from Frito-Lay to make Doritos and other popular chips organic likely has to do with the accelerating partnership between Amazon and Whole Foods. The thinking: As Whole Foods becomes more open to Amazon’s e-retail strategies, they’ll begin turning toward major food companies to keep their inventory up with the pace of consumer demand. Of course, these Big Food products will still need to satisfy Whole Foods’ nutritional criteria for items sold by the chain. These organic chips achieve that goal, but barely.

For a salty snack that satisfies your cravings, you’re better off reaching for trail mix or a low-sugar granola bar. Or, if you want meals that will keep you fuller for longer and reduce your hunger for those unhealthy options, try the Metashred Diet from Men’s Health today.

Are doritos baked or fried?

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