A stroll down the potato chip aisle at your local supermarket, right next to the regular fried chips, you will see several varieties of the ‘baked’ kind. These baked chips are advertised as the ‘healthier’ alternative to the traditional fried chips – with less fat and fewer calories. So, are baked potato chips healthier than fried ones? If we examine the ingredients for a popular brand of baked and fried potato chips and compared them, here’s what we will find out...
Fried potato chips
The ingredients for the fried chips are very simple: potatoes, oil, and salt. The oils used are very unhealthy as you can’t fry in sunflower, corn, or canola oil without completely denaturing them. Furthermore, frying the potatoes would ensure exposure to the carcinogen acrylamide. So, are the fried chips heath damaging? Absolutely!
Baked potato chips
Most consumers associate the word ‘baked’ with ‘healthy’. And while this may be true with respect to home cooking, what about processed junk foods like baked potato chips? What comes to my immediate attention is that there are actually more ingredients for the baked chips compared with the fried. The ingredients include: dried potatoes, corn starch, corn oil and soy lechitin and corn sugar. Looking at these ingredients, the baked potato chips are more heavily processed and contain MORE health-damaging ingredients than regular old fried potato chips.
Now, in case you don’t know why those ingredients are SO bad, here’s a quick run down of each one:
Dried Potatoes: These are highly processed potatoes…not even fresh, and most likely “dried” using high heat, which makes them even worse. You see, when starch is subjected to high heat, it forms acrylamide, a potent cancer causing agent.
Corn: Corn appears in three ingredients (corn starch, corn oil, and corn sugar). Unless its stated to be organic, around 90% of corn is genetically modified. And corn that has been genetically modified has been shown to lead to liver and kidney damage in rodents and the jury is still out on humans. Do you really want to take that risk?
Soy Lecithin: If you think soy is healthy – think again. You should be avoiding soy at all costs. Soy contains high levels of phytic acid and phytoestrogens which withdraw nutrients when processed by your body. Soy consumption in adults may also disrupt normal hormone levels, affecting the reproductive system in women (heavier periods, infertility) and decreasing testosterone levels in men (which decreases libido and lowers sperm count). In fact a Japanese old wives’ tale says that women punish cheating husbands by feeding them a lot of tofu!
Corn Sugar (also known as high fructose corn syrup or HFCS): This is the worst ingredient of them all. HFCS has been heavily linked to obesity, weight gain, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
There isn’t much difference between the calorie count either. While a portion of baked chips amounts to around 120 calories, the same portion of regular fried chips are 160 calories. But what’s more worrisome is that based on FDA data in the U.S, baked chips shows that they contain more than three times the level of acrylamide – which is a type of carcinogen compared to regular chips. Slightly fewer calories traded for 3 x the potent cancer causing agent? – No thanks!
The bottom line
Our advice would be to skip out on the potato chips…baked or fried, and eat more produce and less products. Buying the baked chips is essentially swapping one set of toxins for another. In fact, the baked chips may actually be the more unhealthy choice as they are more heavily processed and contain more health-damaging ingredients than traditional potato chips fried in oil.
So, if you want a snack, remember to pack fruit - not spare change for yourself - and your kids!
Yours in good health,
The team at Helou Chiropractic
The content of Peak Health for Every Body blog are for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.