We love our chips and it shows! The industry of potato chips has grown exponentially over the years as the demand for these tasty snack items has increased just as much. We snack on these chips as they are convenient food items, they are a delight to munch on, and of course, a lot of people find them rather delicious and tasty. However, there are a number of health issues raised in terms of sodium content and cholesterol levels of traditional chips such as potatoes and corn chips. To combat these, alternative chips such as Plantain Chips are being touted as a possible substitute. But are Plantain Chips really healthier? In this article, let us look at how healthy Plantain Chips really are.

Plantain Chips: A Brief Backgrounder

People can say that plantain chips are similar to sweet potato chips or potato chips in the sense that instead of being baked, they are actually fried, spiking their carbohydrate and fat content. Plantain chips can provide some minerals and vitamins but they still need to be eaten in regulated amounts.

But what are plantain chips really? A plantain is a form of fruit that is starchy that has a physical appearance very similar to that of a banana. Plantains that are unripe are color green and are firm. Plantains that are ripe can turn yellowish and will start to look very similar to bananas. While the sweetness of plantains increases as they ripen-  moving from the color green, to yellow and eventually black- they can never match the sweetness of bananas. In fact, even when overly ripe, plantains are still pretty starchy and require further cooking. Luckily, there are a number of different ways to cook and prepare plantains.

Plantains can be mashed like potatoes, boiled, baked, or fried before being eaten. Plantains can also be turned into chips which will then be usually called “Banana Chips”.

Basically, plantains are a type of fruit making plantain chips a form of plant-based food item which means these are usually recommended for consumption on a daily and regular basis. These plantain chips, though, are still a type of prepared or processed food item that can be bought in grocery stores and as such, is also viewed as a form of snack item similar to that of a potato chip. The Mayo Clinic then views them as junk or processed food and is recommended to be eaten in amounts that are reduced or limited. It must be noted though that different sources of plantain chips can make them vary in terms of how they are prepared and how much oil is used in their preparation. For example, some restaurants may offer plantain chips that are thicker similar to potato wedges rather than a potato chip. These types of plantain chips that are thicker are more common in countries in Central and South America and are commonly called fried plantains, Patacones, or Tostones.

Macronutrients and Calories of Banana Chips

Based on the United States Department of Agriculture or USDA, chips made from plantains have increased levels of carbs, fats, and calories. These chips though are mainly composed of carbs with 63.8 grams of these macros for every 100 gram serving of the said chips. Out of this 63.8 grams, only 3.5 grams are considered dietary fiber translating to around net carbs of around 60.3 grams per serving. 

For every 100 grams of these chips, there is fat in the amount of 26.9 grams with around 8.3 grams of this coming from fat that is saturated. Omega-3 fatty acids (around seven percent [7%] of the total recommended daily intake [RDI]) can also be found in small amounts in this chips. The AHA or the American Heart Association is recommending that people consume fats that are healthy such as polyunsaturated fat or monounsaturated fat instead of trans fat or saturated fats as much as possible. The caloric value of the said chips is also significant totaling around 531calories. For every 100 grams, protein is also present at around 2.3 grams. Similar to potato chips, a serving of plantain chips can provide around an ounce or twenty-eight (28) grams, which means that a regular plantain chip serving can provide around 150 calories. 

The bottom line is that for every gram, the calories found in banana chips are a little bit less compared to that of potato chips. Potato chips also contain an additional four (4) grams of protein as well as additional fat content amounting to six (6) grams. It must be noted though that plantain chips contain more carbs than potato chips by around ten (10) grams. 

Vitamins and Minerals in Plantain Chips

Aside from the aforementioned macronutrients, chips made from plantain can provide a number of critical minerals and vitamins. For every plantain chips in the amount of 100 grams contains minerals such as:

Vitamins and Minerals % Of The Daily Value
Iron 5%
Potassium 17%
Magnesium 17%
Phosphorus 6%
Copper 22%
Manganese 12%
Vitamin A 8%
Thiamin or Vitamin B1 5%
Niacin or Vitamin B3 5%
Vitamin B 5 22%
Vitamin B 6 27%
Folate or Vitamin B9 9%
Vitamin C 36%
Vitamin E 34
Vitamin K 24

While all of these vitamins and minerals seem like a lot, these are actually no different from what people can get from potato chips in the amount of 100 grams. As such, for comparisons between potato and plantain chips, there is actually almost equivalent in terms of vitamins and minerals.

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