Banana chips are dried, fried slices of bananas that have become an increasingly popular snack. They’re usually coated with sugary syrup or spices and salt.

Although bananas themselves are highly nutritious, you may wonder if the same can be said of banana chips.

This article explains whether banana chips are healthy.

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José Luis Castillo Borja/Offset Images

Unlike bananas, banana chips are highly processed. They’re commonly fried in oil and cooked with ingredients like honey or syrup that contribute significant calories, sugar, and fat.

A 1-cup (72-gram) serving of banana chips provides (1):

  • Calories: 374
  • Protein: 1.6 grams
  • Carbs: 42 grams
  • Fiber: 5.5 grams
  • Sugar: 25 grams
  • Total fat: 24 grams
    • Saturated fat: 21 grams
  • Potassium: 8% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Vitamin B6: 11% of the DV

Although this snack boasts fiber and a few vitamins and minerals, these benefits are quickly offset by the fat, calorie, and sugar content. Plus, since banana chips are dehydrated and fried, they’re highly palatable and easy to overeat.

Summary

Most banana chips are fried in oil and coated in syrup, which loads them with calories, fat, and sugar.

Banana chips may be a convenient snack on occasion.

Since banana chips are light, easy to pack, and a quick source of calories and simple carbs, they’re an excellent option when you’re on the go, hiking, or refueling after rigorous exercise.

What’s more, because they’re dehydrated, they have a much longer shelf life than fresh bananas. You also don’t have to worry about bruising or damage, which is advantageous for outdoor trips.

Summary

Banana chips are convenient, easy to pack, and a quick source of energy. Their long shelf life makes them great for camping or hiking trips.

Banana chips have several drawbacks to consider.

High in fat

Banana chips are usually fried in oil to give them a crunchy texture. Manufacturers tend to use coconut or sunflower oil but may utilize any frying oil.

A single cup (72 grams) of banana chips packs 24 grams of fat, 21 of which are saturated. A diet high in saturated fats from processed foods is linked to a higher risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease (1, 2, 3, 4).

Additionally, the high fat content of banana chips adds a lot of extra calories. For example, the same serving of banana chips contains over 250% more calories than a medium banana (1, 5).

High in sugar

Some banana chips are coated in syrup or honey, significantly adding to their sugar content.

One cup (72 grams) of banana chips contains 25 grams of sugar, which includes 10.5 grams of added sugar, compared with 14.5 grams of natural sugar in a medium (118-gram) banana (1, 5).

Summary

Most banana chips are fried in oil and sweetened — factors that not only contribute to their high calorie and sugar content but also may increase disease risk.

A whole banana is a much better option than banana chips. Still, if you’re craving something crunchy, you may wonder whether banana chips are healthier than other chips.

This table compares the nutrients in a whole banana versus banana chips, potato chips, and veggie chips (1, 5, 6, 7):

NutrientBanana, raw (medium, 118 grams)Banana chips (1 cup/72 grams)Potato chips (1 cup/25 grams)Vegetable chips (1 cup/30 grams)
Calories105374133148
Total fat0.4 grams24.2 grams8.5 grams8 grams
Saturated fat0.1 grams21 grams0.85 grams0.5 grams
Carbs27 grams42 grams13.5 grams18 grams
Sugar14.5 grams25 grams0.1 gram2 grams

Banana chips are much higher in calories, total fat, saturated fat, and sugar than either potato or vegetable chips.

While these chips are lighter and less filling than banana chips, meaning that you’re likely to eat more in one sitting, you would need to eat a very large serving to equal banana chips’ saturated fat and sugar content.

It’s best to limit your intake no matter the chips you buy.

For a healthier option, choose dried or baked — not fried — banana chips that are flavored with herbs and spices rather than sugar.

Summary

Fried banana chips are much higher in calories, fat, and sugar than potato or veggie chips. Baked or dried banana chips with no added sugar are a better option, but you should stick to a small serving regardless.

While they may seem healthy at first glance, banana chips can be loaded with calories, saturated fat, and added sugar.

For a healthier alternative, look for dehydrated, non-fried banana chips made without added sugar. Better yet, choose a whole banana.

If you decide to eat banana chips, be mindful of your portion size.