Walkers Sunbites have words like multigrain on the packet and, they don’t taste like normal crisps so you might be wondering, are Walkers Sunbites healthy – or is that slightly grainy texture hiding a mass of salt, sugar and fat… so decided to find out, are Sunbites good for you, or not?
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What Are Walkers Sunbites?
They call themselves a multigrain snack – and, while they might sit alongside the crisps in the snack aisle these are not the potato-based favourites you are used to.
Walkers Sunbites are made from whole wheat, whole corn and whole oat flours (some of the flavours also include rice flour) formed into wavy little squares of yumminess that go very well with a sandwich!
If you’re an Aussie reading this, yes, Sunbites are the same thing as Grain Waves – but, the nutritional information is different between the two brands.
Here’s where to find our post on whether Grain Waves are healthy.
How Many Calories are in Sunbites?
You’re looking at around 120 calories per 25g bag.
That’s a smaller serving size than a standard 32.5g bag of crisps (at 171 calories), but that’s not a bad thing as it helps you realise you probably don’t need anywhere near the number of crisps to satisfy you than you think you do.
Are Sunbites Good For Weight Loss?
There’s no magic ingredient that says Sunbites will make you thin – but, if you enjoy a packet of crisps with your lunch, they are going to give you fewer calories than a larger bag of potato-style crisps.
In that respect they could help you reach your goal faster than picking up another bag of crisps – but, they still won’t be as good as a handful of celery or carrot sticks which are better choices if you’re looking to add crunch.
Are Sunbites Healthier Than Crisps?
Well, they aren’t if you’re comparing the crisps to an apple – but, if you’re reaching for crisps you probably don’t want an apple so let’s just look at the facts for Sunbites compared them a normal packet of ready-salted potato crisps…
Sunbites vs Crisps
They contain 67 per cent whole grains in the form of whole corn, whole wheat and whole oats. Potatoes have many good things about them, but wholegrains they are not.
Sunbites are slightly higher in fibre than normal crisps (most of the fibre in a potato is in the skin and normal crisps don’t use the skin) containing 1.8 or 1.9g per packet as opposed to the 1.7g in normal crisps.
Are Sunbites Baked or Fried?
Walkers Sunbites don’t expressly state if they are baked or fried, but they do use oil for whatever cooking method they use and that means that they contain around 5.1g of fat per 25g packet (a normal packet of ready salted crisps, which are fried, contains 10.4g)
However, because they use sunflower oil, only 0.6g of the fat comes from saturated fat. In fact, they only contain 5.4 calories from saturated fat – which is less than 3% of their calories. Which isn’t bad. Our imaginary packet of normal crisps contains 4 per cent of their calories from saturated fat.
What About Salt?
Like all crisps, they’ve got salt in them – between 0.15g to 0.3g per packet – which is the equivalent of 0.04 of a teaspoon.
A normal 32.5g bag of ready salted crisps contains 0.46g – so, when it comes to salt Sunbites are definitely better for you than a normal packet of crisps.
What About Sugar?
The only not so good thing is that they do contain sugar, up to 2.8g per packet – which is confusing as crisps are a savoury snack – and the amount of sugar in Sunbites is far higher than the 0.1g in a normal packet of crisps.
Lastly, Sunbites are also free from added MSG, artificial colours, flavours and preservatives. Though, the ingredient list is quite long in the scheme of things.
What’s the Healthiest Flavour of Sunbites?
There really isn’t a lot in it as they all have very similar nutritional breakdowns … but if you really want to get specific, here’s the exact numbers for each of the four flavours in the UK per 25g bag…
|Roasted Onion and Turmeric||119||5.2g||0.6g||2.3g||0.32g|
|Honey Glazed Barbeque||119||5.1g||0.5g||2.8g||0.26g|
|Sour Cream *& Cracked Black Pepper||119||5.2g||0.6g||2.2g||0.3g|
So, if you’re looking for lowest fat then choose Honey Glazed Barbeque, if you’re more worried about sugar, pick the Sour Cream ones and if you want to cut back on salt, then Sweet Chilli is a clear winner.
So, are Sunbites Healthy?
Well, I can’t say they’re as good as accompanying your lunch with some celery sticks or some cherry tomatoes, but compared to a normal bag of potato crisps, they are generally better for you.
In fact, when a dietitian at respected health website netdoctor analysed them she said that Walkers Sunbites Original were a healthy addition to your lunchbox.
The fact that the bag is also smaller than many other grab bags of crisps is also a bonus as it gets you used to eating smaller portions (for more details on healthy portion sizes, have a look at our guide to what’s a normal portion)
Sunbites and Specific Diets
So that’s the verdict Sunbites for the general population, but what if you’re on a specific diet – will they also work for you you…
Are Sunbites Gluten-Free?
Those of you with coeliac disease or who actively avoid gluten will have spotted the words wheat and oats above and already realised the answer to this, but if you’re just seeing if you can buy Sunbites for someone who has to avoid gluten, or chooses to do so, unfortunately, no they aren’t gluten-free as you find gluten in wheat, rye, oats and barley and Sunbites contain two of those.
Their allergy information also states they are made in a factory that also handles: Milk, Barley, Soya, Gluten, Celery, Mustard.
Are Sunbites Vegan?
They state they are suitable for vegetarians – but they don’t say they are vegan – but don’t go away just yet.
While a closer examination of the ingredients shows that the Roasted Onion, Sour Cream and Honey Glazed Barbeque definitely aren’t vegan as they contain things like whey powder, butter and honey – I can’t see anything on the Sun-Ripened Chilli ones that screams animal ingredient – and they are on the list of Peta’s Accidentally Vegan Snack foods so I think that means you’re safe and yes, at least one of the Sunbites flavours is vegan.
Are Sunbites FODMAP-Friendly?
The gurus of all things FODMAP (Monash University) haven’t specific rated Sunbites on their FODMAP app – but, because wheat is a high FODMAP food you might not be able to consume them if you have issues with fructans.
However, because oats and corn are classed as low FODMAP foods so, the fact that things are mixed might mean you could have a few without setting off symptoms.
Also, don’t forget that some of the flavours include milk powder and so, that might cause issues if you have milk or lactose intolerances.
So, here endeth the snack related update for today – and the good news is, that Walkers Sunbites are generally an okay choice for your lunchbox – and they taste good too.
While we’re here do you remember their Cardboard Jane advert – it always makes me laugh? I’ve spent way too much time feeling like that on diets.
If you want to try them, you’ll find them in supermarkets, or, the nice people at amazon will deliver them for you if you like. Click here to order.
If you like this post, you might also like some of the others in our Is It Healthy series – we’ve looked at things like whether Ryvita is healthy? The facts about whether chai latte and chai tea are healthy – and what the difference is between them (which you’ll find here).
We love it when the answers surprise us like they did in this one.
Who is The Wellness Nerd?
My name is Helen Foster and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.