January 05, 2024

Do Takis Cause Cancer?

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Takis-brand snacks are rolled corn tortilla chips known for their spicy, intense flavors. Unsubstantiated stories have circulated at times that they cause cancer. However, while there are several unhealthy aspects of both these and similar snacks, there’s no known direct link to cancer.

Important Considerations with Snack Foods

While Takis may not directly cause cancer, they — like many snack foods — do increase the risk of several health problems, especially if they aren’t consumed in moderation. Health issues can occur because of specific characteristics of these foods, including:

  • They are highly processed. Foods that are highly processed and refined have been shown to increase the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.
  • They lack essential nutrients. Snack foods like Takis aren’t nutritious. They may have small amounts of iron, calcium, and other vitamins and minerals the body needs, but not in quantities that justify their unhealthy ingredients. As a result, eating large amounts of Takis can “crowd out” other foods that provide you with vital nutrients.
  • They are high in sodium. Your body needs sodium, but at approximately 390 mg per serving, Takis and similar snacks provide far more (when combined with sodium in the other foods you eat) than any single serving should. In addition, consuming excessive sodium has been linked to elevated blood pressure and increased risk of stomach cancer.
  • They are high in saturated fat. Consuming too much saturated fat can raise your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, which increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Their spices can cause digestive issues. Excessive consumption of Takis and other spicy snack foods can irritate your stomach lining, causing gastritis. This condition produces stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting. The spiciness may also trigger or worsen conditions like heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). 

Food Coloring and Cancer

When rumors linking Takis and cancer circulate, one connection that people claim exists is that the snacks contain harmful colorants. However, no evidence currently links the yellow, red, or blue additives with cancer. Still, if you enjoy eating colorful foods, it’s much healthier to consume those that are  naturally colorful.

Moderations Is Key in Snack Foods

Nothing suggests that occasional small quantities of Takis and other snack foods are harmful. Moderation is the key.

Enjoying a few tortilla chips as part of a meal that features healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy is a great way to get the flavor you love and the nutrition you need. As long as your plate has the right proportions, you shouldn’t significantly increase your risk of cancer or other health problems.

Talk with Your Baptist Health Doctor About Your Diet

If you have questions or concerns about what you eat or the quantities you consume, don’t hesitate to discuss them with your doctor. You can get nutritional information and encouragement toward a healthy diet. And the good news is that even small steps in the right direction — like cutting back on unhealthy snacks — deliver crucial health benefits.

You can use our online provider directory to find a physician near you if you don’t have one.

Learn More.