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Image with a light green background featuring two bowls: one on the left filled with corn chips, and one on the right filled with potato chips. The text "THIS OR THAT?" is above the bowls, with a "VS" between them. Which snack is healthier?

Corn Chips vs Potato Chips: Which is Healthier?

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Our Verdict

When comparing corn chips to potato chips, we picked the corn chips.


First, let it be said, this was definitely a case of “lesser evil voting” as there was no healthy choice here. But as for which is relatively least unhealthy…

Most of the macronutrient and micronutrient profile is quite similar. Both foods are high carb, moderately high fat, negligible protein, and contain some trace minerals and even some tiny amounts of vitamins. Both are unhealthily salty.

Exact numbers will of course vary from one brand’s product to another, but you can see some indicative aggregate scores here in the USDA’s “FoodData Central” database:

Corn Chips | Potato Chips

The biggest health-related difference that doesn’t have something to balance it out is that the glycemic index of corn chips averages around 63, whereas the glycemic index of potato chips averages around 70 (that is worse).

That’s enough to just about tip the scales in favor of corn chips.

The decision thus having been made in favor of corn chips (and the next information not having been part of that decision), we’ll mention one circumstantial extra benefit to corn chips:

Corn chips are usually eaten with some kind of dip (e.g. guacamole, sour cream, tomato salsa, etc) which can thus deliver actual nutrients. Potato chips meanwhile are generally eaten with no additional nutrients. So while we can’t claim the dip as being part of the nutritional make-up of the corn chips, we can say:

If you’re going to have a habit of eating one or the other, then corn chips are probably the least unhealthy of the two.

And yes, getting vegetables (e.g. in the dips) in ways that are not typically associated with “healthy eating” is still better than not getting vegetables at all!

Check out: Level-Up Your Fiber Intake! (Without Difficulty Or Discomfort)

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