Do Chips Raise Your Blood Sugar?

Your blood sugar levels affect your mood and energy levels. Blood sugar is readily available energy that the body can use to fuel various processes. The body normally regulates its blood sugar through a chemical called insulin, which breaks down blood sugar. Diabetics don't produce enough of this chemical -- if any at all -- and, consequently, need to monitor their blood sugar and the foods they eat. But this is a healthy practice for anyone, and it is important to recognize that grains-based foods like potato or tortilla chips can boost blood sugar levels.

A small bowl of chips.
Credit: GooDween123/iStock/Getty Images

Carbohydrates and Blood Sugar

Chips contain carbohydrates in the form of starches. Potatoes, which are a common food processed into chips, have among the highest starch content of any food. Tortilla chips made from flour and/or corn have less starches but can still increase blood sugar. Any time you are consuming carbohydrates, you are consuming foods that increase your blood sugar.

Controlling Carbohydrates

According to FamilyDoctor.org, controlling carbohydrates is key for diabetics, and it's also a healthy habit for non-diabetics, as well. Anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of your daily calorie consumption can safely come from carbohydrates, and this includes chips. Carbohydrate consumption increases your blood sugar levels, but doing so in this proportion is generally safe -- as long as, for diabetics, the blood sugar continues to be monitored.

Diabetic Concerns

Many health experts, including the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, recommend that diabetics consume baked chips in place of fried chips whenever possible, as fried chips are cooked in fat. The concerns regarding fried chips are not related to blood sugar levels. Diabetics are at an increased risk of heart disease, so controlling fat intake is as important as monitoring carbohydrate intake.

Considerations

If you are concerned about your blood sugar levels, or if your doctor has encouraged you to monitor your intake of carbohydrates, you should keep track of your daily diet and try cutting carb consumption to between 40 and 60 percent of your calories. Consuming large amounts of carbohydrates over a long period of time has been associated with an increased risk of diabetes. Alternatives like soy chips may be better than potato or tortilla chips.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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