A diet based on tortillas as the main source of carbohydrates can contribute to maintenance of a healthy weight. Tortillas can be a nutritious low-calorie substitute to bread. Of course, the benefit of the overall diet will depend on what you choose to eat along with your tortillas.
Tortillas are flattened rounds of cooked dough, traditionally containing flour or cornmeal along with water and lime. Tortillas are popular in Mexican cuisine and function as wraps for other food or to dip in sauces, much like bread. Some traditional fillings for tortillas include beans, rice, vegetables, salsa, cheese and meat.
According to Calorieking.com, corn tortillas contain about 59 calories per ounce. Most of the calories come from carbohydrates. Corn tortillas contain less than one gram of fat, very little sugar and are a good source of calcium and potassium. Flour tortillas have 82 calories per ounce and contain about twice as much fat and almost twice as much calcium and protein as corn tortillas. Wheat tortillas are also low in sugar and a good source of potassium.
Tortilla vs Bread
Tortillas could replace bread in your diet. According to Calorieking.com, flour tortillas and wheat bread have a very similar nutritional profile. Ounce for ounce, white bread is also very similar, but it contains very little dietary fiber. However, a slice of white bread is very light--usually only .3 ounces. So you'd have to eat three slices to get one ounce. Corn tortillas are the lowest-calorie option with about 20 to 25 percent fewer calories per ounce than flour tortillas or either kind of bread.
If you want to replace bread with tortillas and lose weight, choose corn tortillas for a slightly lower calorie intake. According to the book "Diet and Nutrition," you will feel more satiated with less food when you consume foods that are high in vitamins and minerals but contain fewer calories.
Whether you are eating a sandwich or a tortilla, what matters most is how you prepare it! If you fry your tortillas in lard an fill them with beef and cheese you will have a high-fat high-cholesterol dish. On the other hand, if you fill them with tomatoes and tuna you will have a nutritious low-fat alternative. In order to plan a healthy meal or diet based on tortillas, choose healthy filling options with plenty of vegetables, beans cooked without fat, lean meats and moderate amounts of fats and cheeses.
- Breads: Wheat Bread (includes wheat berry)
- Taco Shells & Tortillas: Tortillas, Corn, ready to bake or fry
- Taco Shells & Tortillas: Tortillas, Flour, ready to bake or fry
- Breads: White Bread
- "Diet and Nutrition"; Ballentine, Rudolph, M.D.;1978