Coconut Chips As a Snack?
An interesting find earlier this week at the Food and Nutrition Expo in Atlanta was coconut chips. We sampled Bare “Show me the Honey” Crunchy Coconut Chips and couldn’t stop eating. (Sign of addictive quality of this product. read further and see why.) The product is rather simple and looks like coconut meat shavings of various sizes. These “chips” are baked / roasted with almost no added ingredients and come in a relatively small package. Here is our analysis.
Let’s start with the short, understandable ingredient list:
Coconut, Can Sugar, Honey, Sea Salt.
We like the fact that every ingredient here is in English. The product is also non-GMO verified and gluten-free.
Now on to the nutrition information:
A one ounce serving has 150 calories and has 14 grams of sugars – the equivalent of 3.5 teaspoons of sugar. Dried coconut is naturally sweet, with about half a teaspoon of sugar per ounce. This means that a serving of this product has half a teaspoon of naturally occurring sugars and 3 teaspoons of added sugars from the honey and the cane sugar. Compare to a similar product from Trader Joe’s, which has only 9 grams of sugars, 50% less.
Other nutrients look good – 3 grams of fiber – more than 10% of the daily recommendation, and 160 mg of sodium, which is more or less in line with our recommended sodium to calorie ratio.
On to the serving size. According to the nutrition label a serving is one ounce (28 grams). The package contains 1.4 servings, which means most people will eat it in one sitting. So the portion you are consuming is actually 210 calories, with 5 teaspoons worth of sugars. In cases like these, manufacturers should either make the package smaller or state the nutrition facts for the entire package.
Lastly, the most contentious issue with coconut products is always going to be the very high saturated fat content. A serving of this product contains 9 grams of saturated fat, or 45% of the daily maximum recommendation. While emerging scientific evidence is partially exonerating the specific fatty acids in coconuts, the current recommendation by doctors and dietitians is still to hedge your bets and limit consumption.
Bottom line: Coconut chips with short ingredient lists can be a fun snack, but only once in a while, due to their high saturated fat content. Try to choose those that have as little added sugars as possible.