Are Salt and Vinegar Chips Safe During Pregnancy?

Vilma Ruddock
Pregnant woman eats chips

Other than its junk food status, there is nothing inherently wrong with occasionally eating salt and vinegar chips to satisfy a pregnancy food craving. However, if you are eating several servings' worth, the salt and calories can add up.

Things to Consider

If you are craving chips and you are concerned about whether salt and vinegar chips are safe during pregnancy consider that:

  • The salt, vinegar and calories in these chips are unlikely to harm you or your baby as long you limit the amount you consume.
  • If you eat a lot of the chips, however, as with most processed foods, salt, calories and weight gain are your biggest concerns.

Potential Risks

The side effects of the added salt weight gain from too many calories can add up if you eat more than a serving of salt and vinegar chips a day. Limit the quantities to reduce the potential risks.

Water Retention

Salt makes your body retain water. Pregnancy makes you hang on to more water. Eating too much salt will increase this tendency to hang on to water. This may cause swelling in your feet, legs and hands (edema), which can get uncomfortable.

High Blood Pressure

Pregnancy-induced high blood pressure or chronic hypertension starting before pregnancy can increase your risks and your baby's during pregnancy. Too much salt can make it harder to control the high blood pressure in pregnancy. This can increase your risk for preeclampsia and put you and your baby at even greater risk.

Heartburn and Indigestion

Other than heartburn and indigestion from the acidity of the acetic acid and other added acids, there is no evidence that the vinegar in the chips can harm you or your baby.

Because pregnancy heartburn and indigestion are common in pregnancy, think twice about consuming large quantities of vinegar and salt chips because you may regret it.

Ingredients and Nutrients

For the safety of you and your baby during pregnancy, examine the ingredients, nutrients and additives of any packaged foods you eat. For the salt and vinegar chips, take a look at the vinegar, but look especially at the salt content.

Vinegar

To create a vinegar and tart taste in the chips, a manufacturer uses vinegar and/or an acetic acid-sodium acetate mix. Other sour ingredients may also be added to increase the tart taste, including citric, malic and lactic acids.

The quantities of these ingredients are not usually listed, but all of them may increase your chance of heartburn.

Salt

Sodium acetate also adds a salty taste and additional salt might be added, including sea salt. Looking at the salt in Cape Cod Sea Salt & Vinegar chips, one serving of 18 chips has 240 mg of sodium.

Nutrients

A one ounce serving of the Cape Cod salt and vinegar chips has

  • 15 grams of carbs
  • 2 grams of protein
  • 7 grams of fat

That's not bad protein content for a small bag of chips, but for the health of you and your baby make sure most of your protein comes from healthier, lower calorie, nutrient-dense sources.

Pregnancy Food Cravings

Salt and vinegar chips are safe during pregnancy if you don't over-indulge and go over your daily salt and calorie limits. Your pregnancy food cravings for junk food may be persistent and hard to resist, but try to limit yourself to a small amount a day. In addition, try to substitute the chips for healthier foods to manage your salt and calorie intake.

Are Salt and Vinegar Chips Safe During Pregnancy?