What you should know before switching to veggie chips

While veggie chips might seem like a healthier alternative to potato chips, there's actually very little nutritional difference between the two snacks. In fact, most brands of veggie chips contain only trace amounts of vegetable paste and are mostly made up of potato starch or potato flour (via Time). Other brands don't contain any vegetables at all. Either way, the amount of vegetables present in veggie chips is not nearly enough to support or boost your overall health.

Veggie chips also have a similar nutritional content to regular potato chips. They're both deep-fried and contain relatively the same amount of calories and fat per serving size. According to Self, a 1-ounce serving of veggie chips contains around 150 calories and 9 grams of fat, while a 1-ounce serving of potato chips contains around 160 calories and 10 grams of fat.

Ultimately, veggie chips really have no significant nutritional advantage over regular potato chips. Aside from their color and flavor, they are almost indistinguishable from their potato counterparts.

Veggie chips and the health halo effect

Veggie chips might not be any healthier than potato chips, but consumers still buy them for their perceived health benefits anyway. This is largely due to the "health halo effect," according to Time. The health halo effect is when a type of food or beverage is perceived as healthier than it actually is. The way veggie chips are marketed and promoted gives consumers the illusion that they contain health benefits, especially when compared to potato chips.

"Culturally, we've all been taught that potatoes in all forms, including potato chips, are unhealthy and 'fattening,' per se," Dr. Colleen Tewksbury, a senior research investigator and bariatric program manager at Penn Medicine and the president of the Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told Self. As a result, people are more inclined to buy snacks like veggie chips because they are often marketed as a healthy alternative to potato chips, even though they contain potatoes in their ingredients.

With no significant difference in nutritional value, the choice between veggie and potato chips should be based on personal preference. If you like the taste of one versus the other, then that's the right choice for you. Regardless of your choice of snack, it is important to incorporate actual vegetables and potatoes into your daily diet. Chips should never replace any food that is essential to a healthy and well-balanced diet.