An Intro To The World Of Takis
If you have heard the internet song of 2012, “Hot Chitos and Takis,” you will know what I’m talking about. What is it about Takis that a bunch of 10-year-olds felt so strongly about? They are awesome snack food. But more about that later.
A brief history of Takis- They were first invented in Mexico in 1999 before making it across the border to America in 2006. Barcel is the company that owns Takis. Barcel is a subsidiary of the baking giants Grupo Bimbo. Not as well-known as Nestle or Hershey, Barcel had to figure out how to get their Takis into the American snack market. In quick time they made it into the hearts of consumers. They targeted gas stations and small marts and Takis became a raving hit with teenagers and kids for its spicy flavor, almost an irresistible dare.
Their tagline, “Are you Takis enough,” appears to have caught on by their fans as it links mindset as the brand comes out as a bold snack with a bold range of flavors.
It is reported by many sources that the inventor was an individual by the name of Morgan Sanchez. But confirmation of this information is unverified.
Takis was originally called Taquis. It is a spicy, tortilla snack that is roll-shaped and comes in a wide range of flavors, spicy to varying degrees. Takis are made from an identical corn-based flavor which by default is vegan. With a base that is the same as any regular tortilla. It involves corn, seasoning, oil, preservatives, and coloring. This is all pretty much straight.
Takis has a danger rating of 3. The potential side effects are ulcers and gastritis. This is put down to the high levels of citric acid and sour lime.
Being pretty spicy, they can eat away the stomach lining. They cause severe stomach aches.
The story does not stop here. Many of the ingredients are deadly. Read on.
The hitch seems to be that people find it difficult to stop once started on Takis because of its combination of spicy and sour flavor.
Adults can make a decision when to stop, or they ought to know. But try taking a pack of Takis from a twelve-year-old. He will probably go for your eyes.
Takis are far from healthy considering that they are stuffed with artificial colors, flavors, MSG, and low-quality oils. There are a lot of better alternatives in the market that are vegan and free from involving any animal cruelty.
Ingredients in Takis
Let’s take a close look at one of Barcel’s Taki flavor; the Fuego.
- Corn Masa Flour- This is processed with lime
- Vegetable oil- Can be Canola, Palm, Soybean, or Rice Bran oil.
- Seasoning- Iodized Salt, Citric acid, Sugar, Monosodium Glutamate, Maltodextrin, Hydrolyzed Soy protein, yeast extract, onion powder, hot chili pepper, sodium bicarbonate, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, TBHQ
- Natural and artificial flavoring
- Artificial coloring- Red 40 lake and yellow 6
It’s quite straightforward. No animal products. Right? Hang on. Let’s have a closer look at some of these.
The Perils Of Red 40
This is something that is terribly bad for health.
It is made from the byproducts of petrol or a mixture of many different chemicals. An ingredient from petroleum added to food. Sure sounds appetizing.
It is routinely tested on animals such as beagles and mice. To what purpose is this needless suffering inflicted. Simple, to make the food look more appealing.
The animals used include cows, rats, beagles, and that is only scratching the surface. They are injected with Red 40 or made to ingest huge amounts of the die. They eventually die or are euthanized so that research can be done on their organs.
TBHQ- A Poison
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) cases of vision disturbances in humans when TBHQ is consumed have come to light. The NLM also cites laboratory tests on animals have indicated liver enlargement, convulsions, neuro-toxic effects, and paralysis
TBHQ features in the “do not consume” list of the Feingold Diet, a dietary advisory for managing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
A 1999 study by The World Health Organization observed that the average intake of TBHQ was bordering on 180% of daily acceptable limits.
The FDA has put a cap of 0.02% TBHQ on oils in food.
Monosodium Glutamate- A Public Health Hazard
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is one of the most widely used food additives. Over time its use has increased in ingredients and processed foods found in grocery stores and markets. What makes MSG tick is the distinct aroma it gives, a taste sensation best put as savory. In many countries, MSG is known as “China salt” or “Ajinomoto.” It is a favored additive in Chinese and Japanese cuisine.
A common fallout of MSG is “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” which causes headaches, flushing of the skin, and sweating. In 20 minutes after consuming an MSG rich meal, a burning sensation is felt at the back of the neck along with blistering on both arms, general weakness, and a bunch of negative symptoms.
MSG is linked with various forms of toxicity, metabolic disorders, and obesity.
Nutritionists do not think that MSG induced harm can be prevented. The question arises, should it be banned altogether?
Non-vegan ingredients to watch out for
- Sodium Caseinate ( comes from milk)
- Artificial and Natural colors ( milk and egg)
This is not an exhaustive list. It just serves to point out dairy sources that may be present. There is no substitute for reading labels but it does not always work out to figure if non-vegan ingredients are present in a product.
I will try to make it easier for those who dig Takis by listing those flavors that are vegan. Four flavors pass the vegan test- Fuego, Nitro, Salsa Brava, and Zombie.
This information comes with a rejoinder. Barcel has more than 15 flavors. A good many are limited editions that are launched once in a couple of years or on special holidays. They disappear from shelves. They are not available year-round.
They are available in Mexico all the time and available to Americans online.
Are Takis Gluten-Free?
This guide about Takis is maybe somewhat complicated. I am hoping that I am coming through here.
All Takis mention on their labels, “may contain traces of egg, milk, wheat, and peanuts.”
This translates as this product is not gluten-free. It may just contain enough to set off an allergic reaction for people with celiac.
The warning is commonly used as a warning informing consumers of allergy risks. Barcel is just saying that the same equipment is used in the production of all Taki flavors.
So Are Takis Vegan?
There are many flavors of Takis that are free of animal derivatives. But hold on. Not all Takis are vegan. In fact, many of their versions are not even vegetarian. Much of the flavoring used in Takis is not vegan and depending on the flavor may contain milk powder, whey, chicken fat, and egg.
The four flavors mentioned Takis Fuegos, Takis Nitro, Takis Salsa Brava, and Takis Zombie are free from any animal ingredients. In simple terms they are vegan. But they do contain artificial colors tested on animals and other unhealthy additives such as MSG.
I strongly advise buying and eating the Barcel limited-edition flavors as they often contain ingredients that are animal-derived.
My take is that strictly speaking, Takis are not vegan.
Takis Chips Alternatives That Are Vegan
Two years ago, PETA combined a list of vegan chips. This included Ruffles All Dressed, Chili, and Lime Flavored Sabritones Puffed Wheat Snacks, and so on.
There are a gazillion brands which are healthy, vegan alternatives to Takis.
Here is my Top 10 List
- Hippeas Organic Chickpea Puffs
- Beanfields Bean Chips, High Protein, and Fiber, Gluten-free, Vegan Snack, Black Bean
- Simply7 Gluten-free Lentil Chips, Sea salt
- Food Should Taste Good, Tortilla Chips
- 365 Everyday Value, Garlic, and Herb Pita Chips
- Popchips Potato Chips
- Nature Box Salt & Vinegar Veggie Chips- The Perfect Vegan Treat
- Plants Snack Beet with Vegan Goat Cheese Mix Cassava Roots Chips
- Earth Balance Gluten-free Vegan Aged Cheddar Puffs
- Enjoy Life Lentil Chips
The Final Say
Being vegan is not always about perfection. It’s about doing away with as much animal suffering as possible. It is a personal choice for each of us on how high you want to set the bar.
I personally am not comfortable with the ingredients and the risks that eating Takis entails.
This article I hope has answered the question of whether Takis are vegan.
Takis are not vegan. Period.