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The Unhealthiest Potato Chips on the Planet

From sodium bombs to options that are high in fat, these are the chips you're going to want to avoid buying.

Sometimes, you just want to dive into a bag of potato chips, and that's OK! We all get those salty, crunchy cravings, right? But if you want to minimize the bloat that comes after or you need to be diligent in watching your salt intake, it's important to know which chips to steer clear of. You can still enjoy a crunchy snack while making smarter choices, and the first step is by avoiding the unhealthiest potato chips that are on store shelves.

From high sodium levels to excess fats and even questionable ingredients, these chips—many of them the popular ones you likely grew up loving—are best left on the shelf. Here's a breakdown of the worst potato chips you shouldn't bother eating, ranked from not great for you to the absolute worst.

1

Kettle Brand Sea Salt & Vinegar

kettle sea salt vinegar

Per 1 serving (13 chips): 140 calories, 9 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 180 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (2 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 2 g protein

Any chips with a sea salt flavor will unsurprisingly be high in sodium, but these sea salt and vinegar chips are also high in fat. Kettle Brand often touts its non-GMO, natural chips, so be wary of the marketing before picking up a bag.

2

Kettle Brand Organic Country Style Barbeque

kettle barbeque

Per 1 serving (13 chips): 150 calories, 9 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 160 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (2 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 2 g protein

Lesson to learn here: Just because a product is organic, doesn't mean it is good for you. Case in point—Kettle Brand's organic country-style barbecue chips, which are still high in fat and sodium for one serving of chips. One serving is about 13 chips; this is especially easy to surpass while snacking away.

3

Ruffles Cheddar & Sour Cream

ruffles

Per 1 serving (11 chips): 160 calories, 10 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 180 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 2 g protein

Oh, Ruffles. These classic chips might have made their way into your lunch box often when you were a kid, but the 10 grams of fat and 180 grams of sodium now mean your afternoon snack will leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable before the end of the day.

RELATED: Your ultimate restaurant and supermarket survival guide is here!

4

Ruffles Baked Cheddar & Sour Cream

baked ruffles

Per 1 serving (11 chips): 120 calories, 3.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 250 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 2 g protein

So your favorite chip offers a baked version—that'll do, right? Not so fast. Although baked chips are often sold as a healthier alternative to the traditionally fried potato chips, and they do have a significantly lower amount of fat, these baked Ruffles actually have far more sodium and carbs compared to the regular cheddar and sour cream Ruffles.

5

Pringles Salt & Vinegar

pringles salt vinegar

Per 1 serving (15 chips): 150 calories, 9 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 180 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 1 g protein

Pringles is well-known for its outrageous flavors (Nashville hot chicken, anyone?), but even its classics are packed with sodium. Luckily, the brand does offer a low-sodium version if you want the iconic Pringles taste with less salt.

6

Pringles Cheddar Cheese

pringles cheddar cheese

Per 1 serving (15 chips): 150 calories, 9 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 180 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 1 g protein

Like the salt and vinegar variety, Pringles' cheddar cheese chips are high in fat, including saturated fat, and sodium. So these are a no-go as well.

7

Pringles Sour Cream & Onion

pringles sour cream onion

Per 1 serving (15 chips): 150 calories, 9 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 160 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 1 g protein

Seeing a theme here with the Pringles? Unsurprisingly, the popular sour cream and onion variety aren't a healthy snack option, either. While they do have slightly less sodium than the salt and vinegar and cheddar cheese, one thing to keep in mind with many flavored Pringles is the inclusion of monosodium glutamate (MSG). It's a controversial food additive that is deemed safe by the FDA, but can cause adverse effects such as headaches and muscle tightness in some people.

8

Lay's Sour Cream & Onion-Flavored Potato Chips

lays sour cream onion

Per 1 serving (15 chips): 160 calories, 10 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 160 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 2 g protein

Lay's sour cream and onion chips might be another bad you used to enjoy finding in your lunchbox, but this flavor is simply high in both fat and salt.

9

Lay's Classic Potato Chips

lays classic

Per 1 serving (15 chips): 160 calories, 10 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 170 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 2 g protein

Even the original Lay's flavor is still high in fat and sodium. In just this one snack, you'd be consuming nearly a quarter of the recommended daily intake of fat!

10

Lay's BBQ-Flavored Potato Chips

lays barbecue

Per 1 serving (15 chips): 150 calories, 19 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 150 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 2 g protein

If you thought the fat content in the original Lay's was high, wait until you see the amount of fat in the barbecue flavor. One serving of these chips has nearly half the recommended amount of fat intake for one day.

11

Herr's Barbecue

herrs barbeque

Per 1 serving: 150 calories, 9 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 290 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 2 g protein

Herr's is popular for its light, airy, crispy potato chips, but the barbecue flavor has more sodium than many other options on this list. No thanks!

12

Cheetos Crunchy

cheetos crunchy

Per 1 serving (21 pieces): 160 calories, 10 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 250 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 2 g protein

Sure, Cheetos are delicious, but they also have a lot of sodium, more than many of the chips on this list. Even the baked version has 240 milligrams of sodium and the brand's "Simply" line, which boasts no artificial flavors or colors, still has 210 milligrams of sodium. Unfortunately, any way you slice it, Cheetos just don't have much of a better-for-you option to satisfy those cravings.

And to avoid eating foods that fill you up with bloat, here are 15 Best (and Instant) Anti-Bloating Foods to munch on instead!

13

Cheetos Crunchy Flamin' Hot

cheetos flamin hot

Per 1 serving (21 pieces): 170 calories, 11 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 250 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 1 g protein

To no one's surprise, the "Flamin' Hot" flavor is just as sodium-filled as the original, with an added gram of fat. Scale back the serving size (by a whole lot!) if you really want to enjoy this popular flavor.

14

Herr's Salt & Vinegar

herrs salt vinegar

Per 1 serving: 150 calories, 9 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 490 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 2 g protein

If you take nothing else from this article, heed this—the Herr's salt and vinegar chips have a whopping 490 milligrams of sodium per serving, far higher than any other option on this list. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams per day, but they hope most adults will actually consume no more than 1,500 milligrams per day. So keeping this in mind, one serving of these chips is almost one-third of that. Yikes!

Paige Bennett
Paige Bennett is a Los Angeles-based editor and freelance food, health, sustainability, and travel writer. Read more
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