Think twice before having Doritos

Aabha Gopan

Doritos is a famous flavored tortilla chip produced since 1964 by Frito-Lay. Around 6.65 million consumers who purchased it bought more than eight packets in a month.

Doritos is available in various flavors that are very close to the original. This astounding quality tempts people to have it more.

Since there isn't enough tech-scope to turn tuna mayo or hamburger into tortilla chips, Doritos must use a mixture of added flavors to replicate tastes.

Do you know how these added flavors affect your body?

Most importantly, is Doritos healthy?

We'll find the answer to that in this article.

Firstly, let's take a look at the ingredients in Doritos Nacho Cheese.


Of the long list of ingredients in Doritos, a few are controversial and said to impact the consumer's health negatively.

The harmful ingredients in Doritos are:

Monosodium Glutamate

I guess we all are quite familiar with MSG - the flavor enhancer.

MSG is a food additive commonly added in Chinese food, processed meats, canned edibles, etc. It gives a taste of meat protein to food and could be addictive. Although the FDA calls it GRAS (Generally Considered As Safe), many say otherwise.

The myth that MSG is dangerous was circulated in the 1960s and was disproved by several recent studies. But a few MSG consumers have reported symptoms including:

  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Facial pressure or tightness
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning in the face, neck, and other areas
  • Rapid, fluttering heartbeats (heart palpitations)
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea

Also, MSG activates the pleasure centers in the brain and is addictive. This is probably why people tend to grab Dorito frequently.

Yellow 6

Yellow 6, as the name gives away, is a yellow food color used in pastries, candies, and other food products. According to a study conducted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Yellow 6 has Benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl - which are carcinogenic. As per the test, rats that consumed Yellow 6 regularly could have adrenal and testicular tumors.

Yellow 6 also has triggered hyperactivity in children. There are several instances of a calm child becoming uncontrollably active after consuming Yellow 6.

Yellow 5

Yellow 5, also known as tartrazine, is a yellow food color. When compared to Yellow 6, Yellow 5 is more harmful.

Six out of eleven tests conducted released that Yellow 5 showed genotoxicity - the property of causing gene mutation. Some genetic changes by prolonged Yellow 5 consumption were irreplaceable.

Like Yellow 6, Yellow 5 also causes hyperactivity in children, as per a National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) study.

Though tests didn't prove its direct role in cancer, a series of cell mutations due to its strong genotoxic character could lead to cancer.

Red 40

The red food color, Red 40, is made from petroleum and is known for controversies like Yellow 5 and Yellow 6.

Though the FDA doesn't recognize it as harmful, they agree that it could be detrimental to a few children who're sensitive to it. Recent studies link it to aggression and mental disorders, like Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), in children.

While FDA claims Red 40 isn't harmful if you regulate its consumption, organizations like the CSPI believe it's carcinogenic.

CSPI found that packaged food, like M&M's and General Mills' Trix cereal, had these chemicals in high quantities in 2014. Surprisingly, the manufacturers themselves didn't seem to know about the overdosing.

Food colors are generally present more in candies, cakes, and other confectionaries - food that children have. Therefore, children are more likely to be affected by food colors.

Now, let's look at the nutrient composition of Doritos Nacho Cheese.

Nutrient Composition

Going by this chart, we can calculate that a 150 g Doritos pack will have:

  • Sodium: 1125 mg
  • Sugar: 5 g
  • Fat: 43 g
  • Total Calories: 804

A 277 g Doritos pack will have:

  • Sodium: 2078 mg
  • Sugar: 9.9 g
  • Fat: 79 g
  • Total Calories: 1484


Salt, a flavor enhancer, is the primary source of sodium in food products. Having more sodium in the diet can cause an increase in blood pressure, stroke, and other heart diseases. So, the FDA has recommended a limit for sodium consumption - 2300 mg per day.

A 9 oz Doritos pack will have 2078 mg sodium, almost close to the daily limit (2300 mg). You can easily cross the limit if you have two other meals (or even a pack of potato chips).


According to the American Heart Association (AHA), women and children should have only 24 g of sugar daily. Similarly, men can have a maximum of 36 g of sugar a day.

Doritos is hardly stomach filling and can prompt the consumer to have other food that may have sugar. Since Doritos is high in sugar, you could easily overconsume it by having more food.

Overconsumption of sugar can lead to:

  • Tooth decay.
  • Obesity.
  • Type 2 diabetes and other diseases.


Fat is another infamous nutritional component that's helpful to the body in regulated amounts. However, due to uncontrolled intake, it's often considered bad for health due to uncontrolled intake.

As per the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI), fat should contribute only 20% to 35% of the total calories a person consumes. That amounts to about 44 g to 77 g.

Doritos is clearly a fat-rich product. A 9 oz pack of Doritos gives 79 g of fat, and a 5 oz supplies 43 g. A person who ate Doritos will exceed the maximum fat intake limit even if they have only low-fat food for the rest of the day.


Calories are the amount of energy your body releases while it breaks down food. Generally, a healthy woman can have 2000 calories while a man can have 2500 calories in a day.

From the above data, you can infer that a Doritos pack supplies all the energy a woman could need in a day. Likewise, a man will almost fill his recommended daily intake quota by having Doritos.

This means anything they have after Doritos gives excess calories - which will accumulate as fat.

Over time it could lead to:

  • Obesity
  • Insulin resistance
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Heart diseases
  • Diabetes

What Do You Think?

Doritos is unhealthy. It has food colors like Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, that cause hyperactivity in children with ADHD. Besides, it contains MSG, which is maybe carcinogenic.

In addition to these ingredients, Doritos also supplies a lot of sugar, sodium, fat, and calories. This could trigger diabetes, heart diseases, and other health issues.

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