by Carole Bartolotto, MA, RD
Last year I published a post about Snapea Crisps entitled, Food Labeling Lies: Are Snapea Crisps Healthy? Interestingly, it has been one of my most popular posts. Since Calbee—the company that created Snapea Crisps—has made some changes, I wanted to post an update on the product.
Calbee has changed their packaging, their website, and the amount of fat, carbohydrate, and sodium their product contains. They also came out with different flavors for Snapea Crisps such as Caesar, Black Pepper, and Wasabi Ranch. And they now have Lentil Snaps.
But does that make Snapea Crisps healthier? The short answer is no. Here’s why.
Snapea Crisps now have:
- 120 calories per ounce instead of 150
- 6 grams of fat instead of 8
- 80 mg of sodium instead of 125
- 15 grams of carbohydrate instead of 14
But, they are still ground up peas, ground up white rice, corn oil, and salt formed into a pea shape and baked and not puffed peas. The bottom line is this product is still a highly processed food! The kind we need to eat less of or avoid entirely. Their website now says, “Inside every bag of Harvest Snaps we combine taste, quality and simplicity.” I would hardly call their complicated creation “simple!” And they certainly are not my idea of “…snacking the way it should be,” as their site claims.
Instead, sticking with real and preferably organic foods in their whole form is still your optimal choice for snacks.
Sugar snap peas are a great option. Other snack ideas include:
- Sugar plum or sweet 100 cherry tomatoes
- Baby carrots
- Sliced jicama
- Sliced red pepper
- Frozen grapes
- Watermelon with a squeeze of lime juice
- Blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries with a little balsamic glaze
- Unsweetened applesauce with a sprinkle of cinnamon and walnuts
- Sliced bananas sprinkled with nuts and then frozen
- Dried apricots, pears, or apples
- Any veggie with hummus
All of these options are full of nutrients and fiber. And they are not addictive like processed snack foods so you can more easily stop eating them. On the other hand, Snapea Crisps have the right amount of salt and crunch to keep you going back for more, potentially eating the entire bag! It is also easy to overeat Snapea Crisps because they have what Michael Moss, in his New York Times article, calls “vanishing caloric density”. In other words, they melt in your mouth. Foods that do this, like Snapea Crisps or Cheetos, do not make you feel full. This is the reason I, and most of you, can eat the entire bag with its 420 calories and not feel full.
Are they free of GMOs (genetically modified organisms)? Their site says, “Our non-GMO crops are grown and harvested in rich Canadian soils that stretch across the regions of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.” Yet in an email, they told me they test their product periodically (since most corn oil is GMO) and that, “We feel that the presence would be minimal.” So I can’t confirm that they are, in fact, free of GMOs.
Even with the changes to the product, my original advice still stands. Drop the Snapea Crisps and eat real food instead!
For more info, follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cabartolotto
Copyright © 2013 Carole Bartolotto, MA, RD. All rights reserved.
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I also read that this ingredient in the product, “ascorbyl palmitate”, breaks down in the body into ascorbic acid (vitamin C, a good thing) AND palmitic acid (a saturated fatty acid). I know that saturated fatty acids are not healthy, right?
Ascorbic Palmitate is a synthetic food additive to increase the shelf life of snap pea crisps by preventing the oxidation of the corn oil. The amount is probably pretty negligible however it’s just another example of how this is a product that is highly processed and uses additives to make it last longer on the shelf. Real food, also known as fruits and vegetables wouldn’t last that long because they don’t have these added chemicals.
You are right in what you say except the fact on the package I bought from COSTCO it says no GMO product. I don’t know if they lie on this or not.
Hi, yes i think they have updated their oacjaging and added the non GMO claim.
Even thrive market (shame on them) claims it’s GMO free but any heavily processed product soaked in canola oil is sure to contain GMOs. Since, unlike “organic” labelling, non GMO claims are not regulated in the US so many are now using it as a buzz word regardless of the presence of GMOs in their product.
A tad off topic, and I apologize……
But, do you all think, that there is a healthy way to make crisps?
If we could make it at home, we could make it healthy ourselves.
The children love those crisps and think they are chips. I would love to hack it to homemade.
I guess I was wondering just how they puff it, or crisp it…
if you could emulsify green beans , make it puffy, then oven bake it…. ?
Without the horrible stuff added. or substituted with good ingredients.
I literally just finished eating a small pack (100 calorie sample freebie from my 10K) when I found your article. Wish I read it BEFORE eating this false-advertisement of a healthy food. Sucks.
Thanks for your note. The good news is your only spend 100 calories on their pseudo health food!
I just ate a whole bag and now I’m reaching for my diet dr pepper to wash it down. Next on deck, a homemade cake pop courtesy of Pillsbury.
Oh all the junk food!!!
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This product contains the snack food ingredient that makes me want to eat the “whole bag.” The packaging is very misleading and tricked my brain again to think it was healthy as I wiped my hands dripping oil.
Yup, that is their goal.
I’m glad I read these articles…and I will not be purchasing a second bag!
Well dang it, I love these. Guess I need to get over them and start making homemade kale chips.
May I ask how you make the homemade kale chips – we too just finished a bag!
Here is a basic recipe…http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Tuscan-Kale-Chips-351240
I would love to send you a picture to add to your snapea crisps post. I purchased a bag yesterday that was really oily. I poured the crisps out to discover a puddle of oil in the bottom of the bag. The company has “no explanation”
That was exactly my reply to them
It seems they have been responding to your criticisms. They are transitioning/ phasing out corn oil in favor of a vegetable oil to get away from the GM corn oil. They also now have 110 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 50 mg sodium, but 17 grams of carbs. It’s nice that this is a company that listens and is responding to the requests of its customers. My husband really loved them and when I told him they contained GMOs he was disappointed, so I emailed the company and they said they are phasing them out and have already removed it from most of their products.
Nope, it is still a highly processed food that most of us could live very well without. If you eat the whole bag you get 420 calories. And it is easy to eat the whole bad because it has what Michael Moss, in his article in the NY Times, calls “vanishing caloric density”. In other words, it melts in your mouth. Foods that do that, like Snapea Crisps or Cheetos, do not make you feel full. This is the reason I, and most of you, can eat the whole bag with its 420 calories and not feel full. You could eat 10 ¼ cups of real snap peas for the same calories and I am guessing you would feel pretty full afterward. Forgot the focus on “it has less sodium, calories, carbs etc”. Instead focus on eating REAL FOOD. This product is a million miles away from real food!
I tried these for the first time today. Immediately after I was parched. Then my stomach started to hurt. Then I got a splitting headache. Now I’m fighting a migraine and nausea. I felt 100% fine before these. Any idea why?
Nope. I would contact the company.
They do have MSG like substances in them such as yeast extract. People sensitive to MSG can also be sensitive to these subtances. Best to avoid them for yet another reason!
They had the same affect on me and I’ve been trying to figure out why. The MSG in them makes sense. Thanks!
Nausea, stomach pain and an intense headache? Those were my exact symptoms after eating a bag of these Snappea Crisps (Lightly Salted). Last night.
This is alarming because I DON’T get headaches. It’s 14 hours later and the symptoms are all still present. Alarmed at my unexplained illness I searched the web and cane across your having the same symptoms. Weird.
So, Snapea Crisps are, in fact, poisonous. Wonderful. I hope this headache goes away soon.
I have been having the same symptoms…..omg! I knew it
What about Trader Joe’s Snap Pea Crisps? I cannot stop thinking about them.
Same problems… vanishing caloric density, salt, crunch I would avoid them and eat real food. That’s the nice thing about real food; you can stop thinking about it.
Is there MSG in the ‘Caesar seasoning’ ingredient they’ve listed on the Samples Crisps? I ate half of my daughter’s bag and woke at 4am with the worst migraine of my life! I do believe there is MSG in the Caesar seasoning and they should post that!!! Of course listing MSG would be bad for their sales.
Migraine sufferers would appreciate a heads up, Calbee!!!
Snapea Crisps contain MSG like ingredients (glutamates) such as yeast extract. People that are sensitive to MSG may also be sensitive to them so yet another reason to avoid them!
Don’t they get credit for having 5 grams of protein? I thought that sounded good, especially compared with potato chips or popcorn.
Nope. 5 g of protein in a highly processed food really means nothing in terms of your health
ummm…I had a mouthful of Snappea Crisps when I came across your post, I had googled it to see their website and I am so so thankful that your blog post was up there in the search results. I am glad I came across this post because it has effectively kicked my newfound addiction to Snappea Crisps. I do organic foods, cook myself, and I am a vegetarian. I don’t do junk food, sodas or fast-food chains. I consider myself fairly smart and self-conscious, and yet, even I fell for the slick marketing of Snappea Crisps which I found at Whole Foods. I felt okay with eating them because they are not as fatty as potato chips but boy, was I wrong! It thought it was surprising that I craved eating them every few days and now I know why…these type of companies are way worse!! They are wolves in sheep’s clothing. I will be checking labels a lot more closely next time around. And every now and then, I will just have some natural potato chips as a treat instead of going for these useless alternatives. Thanks Carole, and rock on!
Thanks Lily!! Glad you have seen them for what they are!
Hi, I came across your post after googling these crisps. While I don’t disagree that there is processing involved, what did you really expect when purchasing a bagged snack food? I think the goal of snappea crisps isn’t to be a health food, but to be a healthier ALTERNATIVE to things like potato chips and Cheetos. At the end of the day, almost all foods in your grocery store are processed – even those cherry tomatoes you recommend.
The point is, Snapeacrisps are not healthier. It’s just hype and marketing. And you cannot compare the processing in Snapea crisps to cherry tomatoes!! Snap pea crisps with their ground up white rice and ground up peas and corn oil and preservative salt etc. do not even come close to cherry tomatoes that have been washed and put in a plastic container
Of course recommending whole fruits and vegetables is healthier, but that misses the point entirely. People want to eat something like snack crackers, but a bit healthier. Ground up peas are healthier than, say, processed wheat flour. And is 6 grams of fat really a problem? Snapeas are not absolutely healthy, but relative to the potato chip section foods that Snapeas replace, they are.
I disagree. it’s not just ground up peas, it’s also ground up white white rice and it’s puffed further increasing its glycemic load. Its no better than processed wheat or potato chips. Worse they are disingenuous by insinuating that the are healthier than chips and are standardly placed with the fruit and veggie section of the market. Juggling a few grams of protein or fiber doesn’t do much. Let’s call a space a spade, shall we?
I saw this post when I google to find out if Snapea crisps are really baked! I just had a bag as a snack, it looked not so unhealthy and there’s 14.7g of protein. They tasty good but is soooo fat! Your fingers get totally greasy/oily when eating them, its disgusting, It looks like deep fried! I won’t buy it again!
Good, buy real food!
thank you for your blog, I just found these last night at my market and after a quick glance over the label decided to try them (after all baked peas can’t be all that bad 😉 ). I typically eat organic if possible but if not so be it, fresh fruits and veggies, lean meats, etc… I stay away from processed food as much as possible and cook all my food myself and absolutely do not eat potato chips and the like. I am so disappointed in this company. The crisps were tasty, slightly salty and crispy… I had put some in a plastic bag for lunch today and when I pulled the bag out the inside was covered in oil, as bad as if not worse than potato chips. So i went looking for health info on the crisps and found you… *sigh* should have just bought the fresh snap peas I had been looking at.
Lol, yes they have fooled the best most health conscious people! But good news is now you know. 🙂
ive in Colombia and travel to Orlando for vacation, just like healthy food and when I saw these, I love and return to my country costume cone 10 packs, now I feel disappointed for not eating. Thank you for exposing these businesses that mislead consumers
You are cery welcome Maria!
Thank for the info and effort. Bought my first and last bag.
Came back from work and must’ve had around 15 crisps and ended up with a 24 hour migraine. So they definitely have ingredients (hidden or labeled) that induce a migraine.
My theory is if something causes a migraine just stay away. Never buying these ever.
Just found a new snacky crunchy salty thing that is actually healthy and delicious. Roasted Chickpeas (aka Garbanzo Beans). All you do is rinse and drain chickpeas, dry them off and roast them in your oven. Sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper or creole seasoning and YUM! Even my picky 9 year old son liked them.
gosh I just finished an entire back in the midst of my cramming for boards feeling proud of myself and thinking wow this was delicious and healthy alternative. I’m so disappointed 😦 Thank god for your post. That will surely be my last bag. sigh.
I am disappointed, I like the taste. I wouldn ‘t feed to my dogs. Thank you for report.
Just FYI I found your site looking for info on these chips and I agree that they are processed food we should not be eating – and your are sighting it as processed – and you list several other items as ideas and while some are indeed wholesome non processed foods,some are not. Check out how your listed baby carrots are made, and that hummus and that apple sauce. Just be clear when suggesting that you are not listing processed foods as well.
There is a big difference between something that is minimally processed such as baby carrots and something like Snapea Crisps that is highly processed. We want to chose more minimally processed and less highly processed foods. Even hummus uses better ingredients versus the ground up peas and ground up white rice that are formed into a pea shape in Snapea Crisps.
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I just bought a bag and ugh! They taste like Cheetos. I mistakenly thought I was buying freeze-dried peas. There’s over 20 ingredients in this stuff and only one of them is peas. Its like those Veggie Chips. When you look at the ingredients they’re made out of potatoes. Just cause they’re green doesn’t make them vegetables.
This is all well and good but you forgot to read under there label. I peeled off a label they had stuck on and under neath said may contain wheat, milk soy shrimp and fish. Some people take very ill even at the slightest bit of any kind of shell fish, fish and or wheat . I would like to know why they hide these ingredients when it could possibly hurt someone.
I just came across your blog while looking for more information about these things. I just ate a portion of the Wasabi flavored and found them very tasty. I thank God that I found this information and also that there are people like you who look into unhealthy snacks and write articles like this to protect ignorant people like myself from ourselves.
lol you are welcome and very funny!
Oh the shame! i just had some this morning not to mention an entire bag this past weekend. I too was mislead and now have seen the light (and REALLY read the label). I will go cold turkey and continue to stick to the natural stuff from the earth.
Thank you for the information!
Imagine my disappointment! 😦 So sad.
My Mother in Law bought a freeze dryer. It is amazing because you can “puff” any fruit or vegetable that you like! It makes them crunchy and crispy and you don’t have to worry about all the processed garbage. When I shared my snapea snack with her, her response was, let’s try to make our own in the freeze dryer. She knew what was up before I did! I am so glad that you shared this.
Heather, do you have any follow up. I would love to know how they turned out. I would also like to make these at home as well. Can you give any advice?
I was looking online where I could find a big SAMs club style bag of these when I came across this website. I wish I had time to ponder my nutrition all day. I also wish I had time to travel to whole foods every day to get corn holed by their prices, only to buy healthy food that doesn’t keep on the shelf or fridge for more than a couple days.
I’ve been eating a bag a day for almost 2 weeks now:( Guess I’ll kiss them good bye now
As a snack I chomp down on, Spoon Size Shredded Wheat with Bran….the serving size with NO Milk… they are delish and a crunchy SNACK alternative….bran too! It’s also very healthy and moves things along….gently…. I have been on a HEALTHIER choice diet with MORE exercise and close to 16 weeks later, DOWN 6-7 pant sizes and from 242 to 204…..QUIT SUGAR OUT almost as TOTALLY as I can……it’s the REAL DEVIL.
I ate a bag of these everyday while I travelled around California😩 I really thought they were healthy and full of fibre. I still crave them but gosh I wonder what damage Ive to my body with this tasty crap.
Thank you for the info
The packaging design misled me. The graphic misled me to think it was a freeze-dried product. I’m returning the remaining of the case purchased from Costco. I also just posted my feedback on their site.
Please send the link to your comment
Hi All…after discovering what I though was a “healthy snack” in August 2015 and eating them in moderation but at least weekly I went for routine blood work…my cholesterol jumped 40 points!!!a and LDL’s are up 30 points! Beware of “healthy” packaged processed snacking! Thank you for bringing this blog to the public’s attention!
You are very welcome!
I enjoyed these snacks until I began to question the Caeser flavoured snap crisp. I emailed Calbee over a week ago and asked them how a product rich in cheeses and butters can be cholesterol free? I haven’t heard anything back from them. I don’t expect them too. I mean, how can they answer that question. I was buying them by the box of 12. I still eat them, just not as much, but I am leering of the Caeser flavour with all that cheese. Eventually, I will stop altgether and go back to air pop popcorn with olive oil and flakes of yeast.
The question I have is, if you were compelled to choose between a bag of Snapeas or your run-of-the-mill potato chips, which would you choose? Are they both equally unhealthy that you might as well just flip a coin to decide?
I would chose a handful of nots or a veggie such as carrots or celery.
Thanks for interesting article. I’ve been wondering about any health advantages or disadvantages of this product.
As far as whether or not it’s non-GMO, Canada does have much harsher laws regarding how GMO products are sold than here in the USA. While practically everything, particularly made with corn (or soy or tomatoes…) in the USA is GMO, it’s not the same in Canada.
Too bad that junk food tastes better than yucky snap peas and most other vegetables.
Meh. Never fails to amaze me. Everything that actually tastes good is bad, and everything that’s good for you is boring or too expensive. *sigh* Just tried these tonight, actually for the first time and I liked ’em. So not fair.
You are so right ,after I eat these 2 bags I bought ,I quit this processed addiction .
Thank you for you post, I will definitely not be trying this ( glad I red this before I went to costco). However, I’m a little hooked on the ‘peas please’ snack by peeled snacks. It’s made of whole ingredients (peas, brown rice, etc) and no corn oil here. I know it’s processed but would this be more recommended for a ‘desperate for a salty snack’ kind of moment? Thank you!
Geez! I picked them up in Montreal yesterday. Not gonna lie, I like the taste but I can’t eat more than 4 or 5 at a time. I would say better than Ruffles Chips but this post is super informative! Following you now 🙂
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I just ate a whole bag. It was delicious. Can’t wait to buy more.
As a diabetic trying to eat healthy and stay diet controlled so I don’t have to use insulin… I was shocked when I ate one serving of these and 2 hours later my sugar was 104. 18 carbs should not have that big of an effect on my sugar. After looking it up and seeing this article, I found out why lol.
Ah dangit! Thanks haha.
I had not seen these before, but Sunday on a Costco trip I bought a huge bag on impulse. I usually read the labels better, but the girl handing out samples described them (high fiber, dried peas, super healthy snack – all part of her description). She literally told me that they were dried peas. I know marketing tricks, and that you can’t believe everything. But it wasn’t a redirection, but a flat out lie. I got home and after giving a few to the kids and eating a few myself, I really looked at the inside. The texture couldn’t possibily be right. So I pulled the bag back out and read the ingredients – how can dried peas be 70% peas, and contain rice flour? That made no sense. So I started reading more, and stumbled upon your site. There is misleading marketing and there is flat out lying. I realize it isn’t the manufacturer, but a Costco employee (probably not high paid, and probably didn’t know better – I bet she fully believed what she told me).
I really should know better … if it seems too good to be true, it is.