Takis are a spicy rolled tortilla snack that comes in a selection of fiery flavors, such as spicy barbecue, spicy Buffalo ranch, and the much-loved spicy chile pepper and lime, aka Fuego (that’s Spanish for fire 🔥🔥🔥).

They’re a popular salty snack in both the United States and Mexico. There’s even a YouTube hit from way back in 2012 dedicated to Hot Cheetos and Takis (and it still freakin’ bangs).

But are these flamin’ hot corn snacks bad for you? Let’s take a look.

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Illustration by Mekhi Baldwin

Like other salty chips, Takis are high in fat, carbohydrates, and sodium, and they lack other essential nutrients that your body needs.

They’re also high in calories, with 140 cals in one 28-gram serving. And who really sticks to those suggested serving sizes anyway?

That’s not to say you can’t ever eat Takis. You can absolutely enjoy them as a small part of a balanced diet.

How about Takis Fuego?

Nutritionally speaking, there’s not much difference between Takis and Takis Fuego. But the searing-hot Fuego variety is much higher on the Scoville scale (that’s a measure of how butthole-puckeringly spicy something is).

You might assume that eating spicy foods is bad for you, but there’s actually some good evidence to suggest that regularly eating spicy foods might have *some* health benefits.

Take this 2015 study of almost 500,000 people. The researchers found that people who ate spicy foods 6 or 7 days a week had a 14 percent lower relative risk of death than those who ate spicy foods less than once a week.

But some people have more sensitive digestive systems than others. Spicy foods can also aggravate certain medical conditions, like IBS or gastritis. Speak with a healthcare professional if you’re experiencing any digestive issues, whether or not they’re triggered by spicy foods.

Let’s take a closer look at the full nutrition per 28-gram serving of Takis.

Calories140
Carbs17 g
Fat8 g
Sodium410 mg
Protein2 g
Fiber1 g
Calcium8.12 mg
Potassium1.12 mg

Carbs? Check. Fat? Check! Salt? Oh-hell-yeah check.

Let’s break it down further to see what’s really going on.

Processed

You’ve probably heard the term “processed foods” being thrown around in the nutrition world, but what does it actually mean?

In simple terms, processed foods are just food items that have undergone a manufacturing process before you eat them. Canned, pasteurized, and dried foods have all been processed in some way.

That doesn’t mean they’re unhealthy. Most of the food we eat is processed to some degree, and that’s totally fine.

But it’s a good idea to moderate your intake of ultra-processed foods, since they’re high in fat and sodium.

High in sodium

Most of the sodium we consume is in the form of salt. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that high sodium consumption can increase blood pressure levels, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

The 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium each day. To stay within that guideline, it’s best not to eat too many salty snacks like Takis.

You could try switching up your midday snack for something more nutritious and less salty. Unsalted nuts and dried fruits are just a couple of options to try.

Low in nutrients

As you can see from the table above, Takis are heavy on carbs, fat, and salt. They also contain minuscule amounts of calcium and potassium. But let’s be real here — that’s not enough to give you *any* health benefits. Like, at all.

Your body needs a wide variety of minerals and vitamins to function at its best. Eating a balanced diet that includes fresh fruits and veggies is the best way to achieve that.

One good approach is to pick fruits and veggies of all the colors of the rainbow. That way you can be pretty sure you’re getting a variety of nutrients.

A growing body of research suggests that a diet incorporating lots of different fruits and veggies can help reduce inflammation and prevent disease.

Spicy food and digestion

You might find that eating too much spicy food does a number on your digestive system, and you’re not alone.

In a 2020 study looking at the effects of different eating habits on people with chronic gastritis, 25.1 percent of participants reported that spicy foods triggered their symptoms.

You might want to consider avoiding spicy foods altogether if you have IBS, since spicy foods could cause abdominal pain and acid reflux.

If even moderate amounts of spicy food are giving you grief and you don’t have any known underlying conditions, talk with a healthcare pro. They should be able to help identify any health issues you might have and give you suitable advice.

However, in moderation…

As with many things in life, the key to enjoying Takis is moderation.

Yes, they’re a nutritional black hole that gives you pretty much nothing in the way of health benefits. And they might singe the hairs on your own black hole on the way out. But gosh dang diggity do they go hand-in-hand with a cold beer.

It’s totally OK to enjoy the occasional bag of Takis. Just try to eat a variety of other foods, too, to give your bod the nutrients it needs to function at its best.

So you’re probably thinking, “Come on, Greatist. Processed foods can’t be that bad for you. They’re mostly corn, right? Right?”

Well, in a French study conducted from 2009 to 2018, eating more ultra-processed foods was linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular, coronary heart, and cerebrovascular diseases.

A 2020 review on ultra-processed foods and health outcomes also found that regularly eating ultra-processed foods might be linked to a higher risk of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

It’s important to remember that you can enjoy ultra-processed foods from time to time. Just try to stick to the suggested serving sizes and avoid overeating.

Takis are a spicy tortilla snack that’s sure to get your taste buds somersaulting. But they’re not exactly good for your health. They’re ultra-processed and full of fats, carbs, and salt, which are generally bad for your health when consumed in large amounts.

You can still eat them from time to time, though. Just try to follow a balanced diet overall and not to eat too many processed foods.