We’ve all been there... Standing in the middle of the snack aisle at the grocery store, trying to decide between a bag of baked chips or a bag of fried chips.
On one hand, we’re told that fried foods are unhealthy. On the other hand, baked chips have been given a health halo and marketed as a much better choice. But is it really true? Are baked chips really healthier than fried ones? Let’s take a closer look at the nutrition facts.
The Reality Behind Baked Chips
As an example, we're going to compare Lay's Baked Original Potato Chips and Lay's Classic Potato Chips. At first glance, it may appear that the baked chips are healthier than their fried counterparts because they contain fewer calories and less fat.
One servings size (about 17 chips) of the Lay's baked potato chips has 25% fewer calories (120 vs. 160) and 65% less fat (3.5 grams vs. 10 grams) than the classic potato chips. However, there are many other nutritional factors to consider when it comes to making a healthy choice.
Less vitamin C and iron
Did you know that the baked potato chips are actually much lower in vitamin C and iron than the fried ones? Lay's classic potato chips contain 6% vitamin C and 2% iron of your recommended daily value (DV) per serving size, while the baked ones have 0% of each.
Same amount of sodium
These baked chips have the same amount of sodium as the traditional fried ones, mainly to make up for a lack in flavour - 160 milligrams per serving size (7%). As a general guide: 5% daily value or less of sodium per serving is considered low.
More added sugars
Some brands of baked potato chips add sugar for flavour. This could be an issue for those watching their sugar intake. Lay's baked chips has 2 grams (2% DV) of added sugars as opposed to Lay's classic that is not a significant source of added sugar (less than 1 gram).
High source of acrylamides
Lastly, according to the FDA, baked chips are one of the highest sources of acrylamides. This is a chemical by-product formed when certain carbohydrates (like potatoes) are cooked at high temperatures.
In laboratory studies, acrylamide caused cancer in animals, but at levels much higher than those seen in foods. The FDA is conducting research to determine whether the lower levels of acrylamide in food, like these chips, pose a health risk to people.
It's Not All Bad News!
It’s important to remember that neither type of chip should be eaten in excess. However, if you do choose to indulge in some salty snacks once in a while. It’s important to understand the full nutritional picture. This way, you can make an informed decision about what you put into your body.
Fortunately, there is some good news when it comes to both types of snack food: manufacturers have been steadily reducing trans fat levels over the years so both types now contain zero amounts. This means you don’t need to worry as much about how much trans fat you consume when choosing between these two snacks!
So what does this mean for snack lovers everywhere?
After examining the health halo of baked chips, it is clear that neither type of chip is necessarily better for you than the other. However, having knowledge about both types can help inform your snacking decisions. In addition, it allows you make more mindful choices about what goes into your body. At the end of the day, moderation is key. So, go ahead and enjoy your favorite salty snacks every now and then! Just remember not to overdo it!
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While I was doing the mindfulness-based stress reduction training in 2021, I realized it was time for a change. I needed to get more active and make better lifestyle choices. So I quit my full-time job early 2022 to focus on me and myself. I’m currently taking a nutrition course through The Health Sciences Academy®. My Deliveroo days are over. Off to a better me and…you!