If you enjoy eating Mexican food, at some point you may ask yourself, “are corn tortillas bad for you?”
They are staples in Mexican cuisine. And you’ll find them whenever you enjoy a taco, burrito or enchilada.
In Mexico, tortillas are made using corn. In most places, including the U.S., you’ll see flour tortillas. Though authentic Mexican restaurants will make them with corn.
The change in the main ingredient not only changes the flavor and texture of the tortilla whether you use it as a wrap or as chips. It also changes it nutritional profile.
Are Corn Tortillas Bad for You?
Tortillas are tasty, versatile products. You may be interested in the health benefits and drawbacks of this popular food.
Below we explain all there is to know about this popular food.
What Is In A Corn Tortilla?
While the details can vary slightly from brand to brand, most packaged corn tortillas have similar ingredients and characteristics.
A corn tortilla can be an excellent choice when you are on a diet. The reason for this is that a serving of two small tortillas contains only 100 calories.
Of course, you can make the tortillas yourself at home, which is even better. This way you know what ingredients you’re putting into it.
Their nutritional benefits are not significant. But, tortillas can be part of your overall diet plan.
They contain a little bit of protein and a trace amount of dietary fiber. They do not contain fat or cholesterol. And, you only get a small amount of sugar.
Corn tortillas do contain sodium. But, this is only a concern if you are on a low sodium or sodium free diet. The small amount, 11 mg per tortilla, doesn’t really stack up to much compared to the other food and drinks you consume in a meal.
Tortillas are made of corn flour and water. As they do not contain wheat or gluten, they are a good choice if you have health issues related to wheat or gluten.
When you purchase packaged tortillas, you may find a number of other items on the list of ingredients. These are preservatives which are often used to keep the tortillas fresh.
As mentioned earlier, making your own is best way to ensure quality ingredients without the extra additives or preservatives. This makes it significantly healthier.
Healthy Choices with Corn Tortillas
While tortillas that you make at home can be better for you than packaged products, the real issue is how you use the tortillas.
How they are prepared as well as what’s in them or what foods they accompany far outweighs whether they are homemade or purchased from a store.
This is because tortillas make only a small fraction of the nutritional breakdown of your meal. They don’t really amount to enough compared to most of the other components of your meal. That is unless you choose to chow down on 15 or more of them in one sitting.
Most people who love tortillas will not simply eat them out of the package. They are generally used in a wide variety of recipes.
1. How Your Tortilla is Prepared
The method you use for cooking is one concern.
As examples, if you fry or deep-fry your tortillas, you should consider the calorie content and nutritional aspects of the fat or oil you use for frying.
Fats and oils add calories. Plus, they can also add sodium, cholesterol, and other unhealthy substances to your recipe.
This makes fried tortilla chips an unhealthy option.
2. The Ingredients You Put In and Eat With Your Tortilla
Second, consider the other ingredients in the dish you are preparing.
The ground beef, sour cream, and other products in the taco you are making easily outweigh the health benefits of the tortilla. So pick your ingredients wisely if you’re looking to eat healthy or, lose weight.
You can also take the same approach to tortillas for breakfast. Eggs, bacon, and sausage can add fat and cholesterol that you do not want. They’re delicious, but not necessarily the healthiest options together.
Are Corn Tortillas Good or Bad For You?
Corn tortillas are not bad for you at all. Eaten in moderation, they are delicious and don’t carry enough ‘weight’ to balance off the effects of other foods in your meal. As long as you don’t go and eat a lot of them at a time.
However, when you want them to be a healthy food choice, do consider your methods of preparation and serving.
When you bake your tortillas in the oven, you can avoid unnecessary fat and calories.
Also, choosing healthy foods to accompany your tortillas makes all the difference in the world. You can choose turkey, chicken, or fish instead of ground hamburger meat, sausage, and fried eggs.
When you keep these points in mind, corn tortillas can be part of a healthy diet. You can even eat them every day. They have less calories compared to many other carb options like rice and white bread.
Whether you are baking a tortilla to make tortilla chips, or including tortillas in your favorite recipe, you can enjoy a food you love without any health risks. When prepared and served in a healthy manner, corn tortillas are good for you.