Is it possible to find tortilla chips that actually fit your macros? And if so, are they good for your long-term health, too? Today, let’s take a look at Quest Protein Chips to see if they’re worth the hype they often receive.
Quest Chips are high in protein and low in carbs. They contain some healthy ingredients like psyllium husk and chia seeds, and they’re colored with healthy spices, not artificial dyes. However, they also contain quite a lot of refined oil, which makes them not the healthiest choice.
Below, I’ll look at three popular Quest Chips flavors in detail. I’ll explore if Quest Chips are good for weight loss. I’ll also recommend some other protein chips, which may especially interest you if you’d like a plant-based option.
Are Quest Chips Good for You?
Here are the six specific questions I’ll be answering about Quest Chips nutrition. Click any of them to skip ahead to that section—or just keep scrolling to read them all:
- What Are Quest Chips Made Of?
- Do Quest Chips Really Have Protein?
- Are Quest Chips Low Carb?
- Are Quest Chips Baked Or Fried?
- Are Quest Chips Good For Weight Loss?
- Are Quest Chips Vegan?
1. What Are Quest Chips Made Of?
Let’s start by looking at some actual Quest Chips ingredients. Do they have any ingredients you should be avoiding? How processed are these protein chips, really?
Below are the ingredients for three popular flavors of Quest Chips. I’ll share my takeaway points below the table:
|Quest Chips Flavor||Ingredients|
|Loaded Taco||Protein Blend (Milk Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Isolate), High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Calcium Caseinate, Corn Starch, Natural Flavors, Psyllium Husk, Salt. Contains Less Than 2% Of The Following: Soluble Corn Fiber, Sour Cream (Cream, Non-fat Milk, Cultures), Cheddar Cheese (Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Buttermilk Powder, Onion Powder, Tomato Powder, Garlic Powder, Green Bell Pepper, Paprika, Spice, Chia Seed, Yeast, Turmeric Oleoresin (Color), Paprika Extract (Color), Acacia Gum, Sunflower Lecithin, Calcium Carbonate, Yeast Extract, Stevia Sweetener.|
|Nacho Cheese||Protein Blend (Milk Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Isolate), High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Calcium Caseinate, Corn Starch, Natural Flavors, Soluble Corn Fiber, Psyllium Husk, Salt. Contains Less Than 2% Of The Following: Cheddar Cheese Powder (Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Romano Cheese (Milk, Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Buttermilk Powder, Butter (Cream, Annatto), Tomato Powder, Onion Powder, Spice, Nonfat Dry Milk, Whey Powder, Chia Seed, Paprika Extract (Color), Turmeric Oleoresin (Color), Sunflower Lecithin, Calcium Carbonate, Yeast Extract, Stevia Sweetener.|
|Ranch||Protein Blend (Milk Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Isolate), High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Calcium Caseinate, Corn Starch, Natural Flavors, Buttermilk Powder, Psyllium Husk, Nonfat Dry Milk. Contains Less Than 2% Of The Following: Cheddar Cheese Powder (Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Tomato Powder, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Spice, Salt, Soluble Corn Fiber, Whey Powder, Chia Seed, Turmeric Oleoresin (Color), Malic Acid, Sugar**, Sunflower Lecithin, Calcium Carbonate, Yeast Extract, Stevia Sweetener.|
Here’s what I notice about these ingredients:
- The main ingredients in Quest Chips are milk protein isolate and whey protein isolate. Whey protein causes acne for many people, and milk is hard for many people to digest. That said, these proteins are effective for muscle growth. So depending on your goals, this ingredient could be bad or good.
- Quest Chips have high oleic sunflower oil. This is generally considered a healthier oil in terms of the types of fat it provides (monounsaturated). However, it’s still a processed oil, so it’s high in calories and stripped of the fiber and many other nutrients in whole foods.
- Quest Chips have psyllium husk. This is a form of fiber that can help improve digestion. It has “prebiotic potential,” so it can help improve your balance of gut bacteria.
- Quest Chips have some vegetable ingredients. These veggies may not do much in small quantities, but they can’t hurt, either. Depending on the flavor, these include green bell pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, tomato powder, and others.
- Quest Chips have chia seeds. Again, these may not do much in small quantities—but chia seeds are super healthy. They have omega-3 fats, fiber, and antioxidants that may reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Quest Chips are colored with healthy spices. Turmeric and paprika are used to give the chips color. These are healthy spices, so they’re much better than using artificial dyes like red 40 or yellow 5, which have questionable long-term health effects.
Overall, Quest Chips do have an interesting mix of healthy ingredients like chia seeds and psyllium husk… But remember, the main ingredients are just milk protein and oil. The oil especially makes this feel like a processed food to me.
Next, let’s look at the protein content in more detail.
2. Do Quest Chips Really Have Protein?
Quest Chips have around 19g of protein per serving (32g). This is almost 10 times as much protein as found in Tostitos and Doritos chips. Over 50% of the calories in Quest Chips come from protein.
If your main priority is maximizing protein intake, Quest Chips are likely a good choice for you. They have an impressive amount of protein, as the main ingredient is literally protein isolate:
|Quest Chips Flavor||Protein per serving (1 bag, 32g)|
But as mentioned above, milk protein is not ideal for all people. Vegans can’t enjoy Quest Chips, and neither can lactose intolerant folks. If you struggle with acne, you may want to avoid these chips, too. Read my guide on diet and acne for more about that.
- How Do Quest Chips Have So Much Protein? Quest Chips are high protein because the main ingredient is a blend of milk protein isolate and whey protein isolate. Most chips are made with grains like corn or potatoes instead, which provide mostly carbs, rather than mostly protein.
3. Are Quest Chips Low Carb?
Quest Chips are low-carb in comparison to normal tortilla chips. Quest Chips have about 5 grams of total carbs (4g of net carbs) per serving, compared to 19g of total carbs in Tostitos. Only about 14% of the calories in Quest Chips come from carbohydrates.
Since the main ingredient in Quest Chips is protein isolate, there are not many carbs overall. Quest Chips don’t have all the corn or potato found in other chips.
- Are Quest Chips Good For Keto? Quest Protein Chips can be included in a keto diet, as they only have 4g of net carbs per serving.
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4. Are Quest Chips Baked Or Fried?
Quest Chips are baked, not fried. However, take note that Quest Chips still contain about 5 grams of total fat per serving, mostly from high oleic sunflower oil. This is about 40% more fat than found in a serving of Baked Lay’s.
Often, when people ask whether a food was baked or fried, what they really want to know is how much oil that food was prepared with. This is because oil adds relatively empty calories, and it may have other detrimental health effects, as well.
In the case of Quest Chips, although they’re baked, it’s important to recognize that the second ingredient is still oil. So there is still a decent amount of fat (and calories from fat) in Quest Chips.
5. Are Quest Chips Good For Weight Loss?
Quest Chips are not the most optimal food for weight loss, as they contain processed, high-calorie ingredients such as milk protein isolate and high oleic sunflower oil, with relatively low fiber content. However, Quest Chips can still be eaten in moderation on a weight loss diet.
One of the most important principles for weight loss is calorie density. Foods with a low calorie density fill up your stomach more with fewer calories. This makes it easier to still be satisfied on fewer calories. And that can lead to weight loss. (source)
The foods with the lowest calorie density are non-starchy vegetables, including greens. Other foods with low calorie density include fruits, beans, whole grains, and most whole plant foods in general.
Some of the foods with the highest calorie density are refined oils. And refined sugars and protein isolates have high calorie density, too. These foods are concentrated sources of calories, as much of the fiber and bulk have been removed in processing.
Since Quest Chips have ingredients with a relatively high calorie density—protein isolate and refined oil—there is a risk that you could overeat Quest Chips without feeling fully satisfied. Compare that to green vegetables, where there is no real risk of overeating on calories—even if you stuff yourself.
There are other snacks that could help fill you up with more fiber and perhaps keep you better satisfied while in a calorie deficit. Even normal tortilla chips have 2g of fiber per serving, compared to only 1g in Quest Chips.
By itself, a few servings of Quest Chips will not make or break your weight loss diet, though. Weight loss depends on your overall diet and lifestyle.
As long as you’re burning more calories than you’re eating each day/week, you should lose weight. Eating some Quest Chips or other “processed foods” on occasion should not ruin your diet as long as that larger pattern remains in tact.
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6. Are Quest Chips Vegan?
Quest Protein Chips are not vegan, as they contain milk protein. Many flavors also contain other dairy ingredients, such as milk powder, buttermilk, and more.
Below are some vegan alternatives to Quest Chips you can get on Amazon. These all have at least 10 grams of protein per serving:
Some other “bean chips” or “lentil chips” out there only have about 4-7g of protein per serving. That’s fine from a general health perspective, but if you’re trying to reach a high-protein goal for weight lifting or something, you may want to aim for 10g and up.
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