Corn Tortillas versus Flour Tortillas: Which is Healthier?
What’s the difference between flour and corn tortillas? According to the Tortilla Industry Association, “tortillas are the most popular of all ethnic breads in the U.S. today including bagels, pita bread and English muffins,” so obviously this is a question that needs to be addressed. The following examines the pros and cons of both corn and flour tortillas to figure out for once and for all which is healthier.
Corn tortillas contain 70 calories and flour tortillas have 150. Obviously, corn has the edge here. However, you have to consider that corn tortillas are often smaller than flour, so you may eat more. But, on a tortilla to tortilla calorie comparison, corn wins.
Corn tortillas have 1 gram of fat and flour tortillas are higher at 3.5 grams. While not all diets make low fat a priority and many suggest that incorporating certain fats into your diet can be beneficial, the most concerning factor in this matchup is that 1.5 grams of the fat in flour tortillas are actually saturated fat, commonly known as the “bad fat” that all healthy eaters need to avoid. Corn wins.
Protein & Fiber
Protein and fiber are sometimes overlooked, but very important factors to consider when examining a nutrition label. Protein tells you how long the food will stick with you and help prevent hunger. Fiber assists with digestion and makes sure that your food passes through you rather than being converted and stored as fat. Corn tortillas have 2 grams of protein and zero grams of fiber. Flour tortillas have 4 grams of protein and 1 gram of fiber. Winner here: flour.
Corn tortillas have a very simple ingredient list, including corn flour and water. Corn tortillas are both wheat and gluten free, which is great for people with allergies. Flour has a much longer ingredient list including additives for flavor including salt. One flour tortilla can have up to 20% of your daily sodium intake. Another point for corn.
Both corn and flour tortillas have a place in the kitchen. Flour tortillas are great for handheld foods including burritos or wraps. Corn tortillas are great for tacos, enchiladas and tostadas. Winner here? We’ll call it a tie.
Don’t forget to consider taste, even when on a diet! Corn tortillas have a more earthy, natural taste while flour is more rich and decadent. Winner? It comes down to a personal preference decision.
After examining the health factors in a side by side comparison, both flour and corn tortillas have their pluses and minuses. But, based on calories, fat content and the ingredient list, all which are key components in weight loss, corn tortillas win as the healthier option. So, next time you are at a restaurant and your server asks, “Would you like corn or flour tortillas?,” make the healthy decision and choose corn.
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