Did you know: To avoid taxes, the company that sells Pringles tried to get them legally defined as “cakes” or “biscuits,” not “chips”… Luckily, we’re all smart enough to know Pringles are not cake. But what are Pringles, really? And are they healthy?
Pringles are not very healthy, due to the processed vegetable oil and salt they contain, along with the low fiber. Some flavors also have added sugar, MSG, and other procressed ingredients. The healthiest Pringles are the Lightly Salted and Reduced Fat flavors.
Below, I’ll analyze four Pringles flavors and compare them to other popular snacks, such as Lay’s and Tostitos chips. I’ll also explore if Pringles are good for weight loss, low-carb diets, and more.
Are Pringles Good for You?
Here are the 8 specific questions I’ll be answering about Pringles nutrition. Click any of them to skip ahead to that section—or just keep scrolling to read them all:
- What Are the Ingredients in Pringles?
- Are Pringles Good for Weight Loss?
- Are Pringles Low Carb?
- Are Pringles High in Fiber?
- Are Pringles Baked or Fried?
- Are Pringles High in Sodium?
- Are Pringles Healthier Than Regular Chips?
- Which Pringles Are the Healthiest?
1. What Are the Ingredients in Pringles?
Let’s start by looking at the ingredients for 4 popular flavors of Pringles. I’ll share my takeaway points below the table:
|Original||Dried Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Corn, Cottonseed, High Oleic Soybean, And/Or Sunflower Oil), Degerminated Yellow Corn Flour, Cornstarch, Rice Flour, Maltodextrin, Mono- And Diglycerides, Salt, Wheat Starch.|
|Sour Cream & Onion||Dried Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Corn, Cottonseed, High Oleic Soybean, And/Or Sunflower Oil), Degerminated Yellow Corn Flour, Cornstarch, Rice Flour, Maltodextrin, Mono- And Diglycerides. Contains 2% Or Less Of Salt, Whey, Sour Cream (Cream, Nonfat Milk, Cultures), Monosodium Glutamate, Onion Powder, Coconut Oil, Dextrose, Sugar, Natural Flavors, Nonfat Milk, Citric Acid, Sodium Caseinate, Lactic Acid, Yeast Extract, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, Buttermilk, Malic Acid, Invert Sugar, Cultured Nonfat Milk, Cream, Wheat Starch.|
|BBQ||Dried Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Corn, Cottonseed, High Oleic Soybean, And/Or Sunflower Oil), Degerminated Yellow Corn Flour, Cornstarch, Rice Flour, Maltodextrin, Sugar, Mono- And Diglycerides. Contains 2% Or Less Of Salt, Tomato Powder, Monosodium Glutamate, Citric Acid, Onion Powder, Spice, Garlic Powder, Yeast Extract, Hydrolyzed Corn Protein, Malted Barley Flour, Malic Acid, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, Paprika Extract Color, Natural Flavors, Whey, Wheat Starch.|
|Cheddar Cheese||Dried Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Corn, Cottonseed, High Oleic Soybean, And/Or Sunflower Oil), Degerminated Yellow Corn Flour, Cornstarch, Rice Flour, Maltodextrin, Mono- And Diglycerides. Contains 2% Or Less Of Whey, Salt, Monosodium Glutamate, Coconut Oil, Sugar, Natural Flavors, Onion Powder, Citric Acid, Cheddar Cheese (Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Blue Cheese (Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Buttermilk, Butter (Cream, Salt), Lactic Acid, Nonfat Milk, Paprika Extract Color, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, Turmeric Extract Color, Yeast Extract, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Wheat Starch.|
Here’s what I notice about these ingredients:
- Pringles has a mix of potatoes with other starches. Pringles are not strictly just “potato chips.” They are 42% potato-based, with other starches like corn flour, rice flour, cornstarch, and wheat starch, too. This isn’t necessarily good or bad, but an interesting thing to note.
- Pringles have processed vegetable oil. It seems that Pringles can contain corn oil, cottonseed oil, high oleic soybean oil, and/or sunflower oil. All of these are highly processed oils that add mostly empty calories. The amount of oil in Pringles is likely the worst thing about them, nutritionally. More on that below.
- Pringles have added salt. This is to be expected in chips—but still, it’s worth noting. Too much sodium can raise your blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Pringles does have a “Lightly Salted” flavor with less salt, though. More on the sodium content below.
- Many flavors of Pringles have added sugar. Out of the 4 flavors I analyzed, 3 of them have added sugar. Below, we’ll look at how much sugar they actually have, though.
- Pringles are free of artificial colors. Pringles do not have artificial red or yellow dye. Instead, they have paprika and turmeric extract—spices that provide vivid color. Pringles don’t have dyes like Red 40 or Yellow 5.
Overall, Pringles don’t look that great from an ingredients standpoint. But below, lets compare them to other snacks to put things in perspective.
- Are Pringles “Processed”? Pringles contain processed vegetable oil and added salt. Some flavors also have added sugar and other processed ingredients. Therefore, Pringles are generally considered processed food.
- Are Pringles “Junk Food”? Pringles may commonly be considered junk food. However, “junk food” is not a precise term, and Pringles aren’t as bad as some other junk foods. If you eat a small portion of Pringles as part of an overall healthy diet, they’re not too bad.
2. Are Pringles Good for Weight Loss?
Pringles are not the best food for weight loss, as they contain processed, high-calorie ingredients like vegetable oil, with relatively low fiber content. However, Pringles can still be eaten in moderation on a weight loss diet.
One of the most important principles for weight loss is calorie density. High calorie density foods tend to be easier to overeat, as you need to eat a lot of calories to fill your stomach. (source)
One of the foods with the highest calorie density is vegetable oil. Animal foods like meat, eggs, and dairy (such as the cheese found in some Pringles flavors) also tend to be high in calories, largely due to their fat content.
Another thing to consider is the low fiber in Pringles. Other snacks could help fill you up with more fiber and keep you better satisfied on a weight-loss diet.
As covered below, Pringles likely rank high on the glycemic index, meaning their carbs are quick to digest. Foods with more fiber and lower GI scores could help you to stay full longer, without needing to keep eating more throughout the day.
So, can Pringles make you fat? Yes, they could contribute to weight gain. But by itself, a few servings of Pringles won’t ruin your diet, either. Weight loss depends on your overall diet and lifestyle.
If you’re burning more calories than you’re eating each day/week, you should lose weight. Eating Pringles or other “processed foods” on occasion will not automatically ruin your diet, as long as the overall calorie deficit is in tact.
For more help with weight loss, check out this post with 18 tips for weight loss without counting calories.
- How many calories are in one Pringle? Pringles chips have about 10 calories per chip.
3. Are Pringles Low Carb?
Pringles are not a low-carb food. Pringles have about 16g of total carbs per serving. Around 43% of the calories in Pringles come from carbohydrates. However, Pringles chips are low in sugar—most flavors have 1g of sugar or less.
The main ingredient in Pringles is derived from potatoes. Potatoes are high in carbs, so Pringles are high in carbs, too. Pringles have a lot of vegetable oil, so they are high in fat, too… but still, they have around 16g of carbs per serving.
That said, Pringles are low in sugar. Even the Pringles flavors that have added sugar, such as BBQ Pringles, still have only 1g of sugar per serving. So it’s really not that much.
Now let’s briefly address glycemic index. Are Pringles low glycemic? Without research directly on that, we can only assume they are medium- or high-glycemic. Potato chips in general are not a low-glycemic food. They are made of quick-to-digest starch.
- Are Pringles Good For Keto? Pringles are not good for keto. They are too high in carbs, at about 43% carbohydrate calories.
- Is There Sugar in Pringles? Many flavors of Pringles have added sugar. However, a few flavors, such as Original, Lightly Salted, and Reduced Fat, are sugar free.
- What is a good low-carb alternative to Pringles? You may want to try flax crackers. Flax crackers are packed with healthy omega-3 fats, low in carbs, and super crunchy. Try this popular brand on Amazon.
4. Are Pringles High in Fiber?
Pringles are low in fiber, with <1g of dietary fiber per serving. That is less fiber than Tostitos tortilla chips (1g per serving), and far less fiber than whole wheat crackers like Triscuits or Wheat Thins (3g per serving).
Fiber is one of the healthiest nutrients to look for in your snacks. Fiber can have many impacts on health in the long run, and barely anyone eats enough. Generally, whole grain snacks contain more fiber.
Here is a table comparing the fiber content of Pringles to other popular snacks:
|Tostitos Restaurant Style||28g||1g|
|Lays Classic Potato Chips||28g||1g|
|Ritz Original Crackers||16g||0g|
|Wheat Thins Original||31g||3g|
5. Are Pringles Baked or Fried?
Pringles are fried, not baked. Pringles are not a low-fat food. Pringles still have 9 grams of total fat per serving. A little more than half of the calories in Pringles come from fat.
For a lower-fat option, you can choose Reduced Fat Pringles. However, this flavor still has 7g of fat per serving. Around 45% of the calories in Reduced Fat Pringles still come from fat.
- What kind of oil is in Pringles? Pringles have vegetable oil. The ingredients list specifies that it could contain “corn oil, cottonseed oil, high oleic soybean oil, and/or sunflower oil.”
- What kind of fat is in Pringles? Pringles have both saturated and unsaturated fat, but most of the fat is unsaturated. Each serving has about 2.5g of saturated fat, 6.5g of unsaturated fat, and 0g of trans fat.
6. Are Pringles High in Sodium?
Most flavors of Pringles have a moderate amount of sodium, with 130mg to 180mg per serving (28g). That is about average for popular brands of crackers and chips. If you want low-sodium Pringles, choose the Lightly Salted flavor, with only 70mg of sodium per serving.
Here’s a table showing the sodium of 4 popular Pringles flavors, with comparison to other chips:
|Pringles Sour Cream & Onion||160mg|
|Pringles Cheddar Cheese||180mg|
|Pringles Lightly Salted||70mg|
|Pringles Reduced Fat||130mg|
|For Comparison: Tostitos Restaurant Style||115mg|
|For Comparison: Lays Classic Potato Chips||170mg|
For reference: The American Heart Association recommends limiting your sodium to 2,300mg per day. But they are “moving toward an ideal limit” of only 1,500mg per day. That would still be about 10 servings of Pringles. So, surely, these chips can be eaten in moderation by most people.
7. Are Pringles Healthier Than Regular Chips?
Pringles are similar to Lays and other regular potato chips from a nutrition perspective. Compared to Lays Classic chips, Pringles have more saturated fat and more added ingredients, but a bit less sodium. The differences are somewhat minor. Pringles are processed food, just like regular potato chips.
Obviously, some brands of potato chips may be more healthy than others. But let’s compare Pringles with the leading brand—Lays Classic potato chips.
Here’s the detailed comparison:
|Snack||Serving Size||Sat. Fat||Sodium||Sugar||Fiber|
|Lays Classic||15 chips (28g)||1.5g||170mg||<1g||1g|
|Pringles Original||15 chips (28g)||2.5g||150mg||0g||<1g|
Another difference between Lays and Pringles is found in the ingredients list. Lays Classic chips have very minimal ingredients—just potatoes, vegetable oil, and salt.
However, Pringles have a few more ingredients, including degerminated yellow corn flour, cornstarch, rice flour, maltodextrin, mono- and diglycerides, and wheat starch.
None of those ingredients dramatically change the nutritional profile of Pringles as compared to Lays. But some people would prefer the simplistic, minimal ingredients list of Lays.
8. Which Pringles Are Healthiest?
The healthiest flavor of Pringles would either be the Lightly Salted or Reduced Fat flavors. The Lightly Salted flavor has about 54% less sodium, and the Reduced Flavor has almost 30% less fat than Original Pringles. However, these Pringles flavors are still not very healthy.
The fact of the matter is, even if you reduce the sodium or fat content of Pringles a bit, you are still left with a pretty unhealthy chip. It’s still low in fiber and other nutrients. It’s still mostly just starchy carbs, vegetable oil, and salt.
Unfortunately, all flavors of Pringles are pretty unhealthy.
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