Food labels are required on all processed food packages. After reading the list of ingredients, the second thing a health-conscious shopper should look at is the nutrition info. A typical label will list the serving size first, followed by the number of servings per container. The food industry routinely shrinks the serving size so that the number of calories and fat grams don’t look quite so frightening. Remember, all the nutrition data on the label refers to just a single serving, not the contents of the bag. The label on a bag of Ruffles Original potato chips says the “serving size” is 12 potato chips, which packs 160 calories, 90 of which are calories from fat. How many of us ever stop at 12 potato chips? The taste buds are just getting ramped up!
Potato chips are fairly representative of the unhealthy food choices we all make. Except for their good taste, there’s really nothing good about this unhealthy snack Here are some good reasons to eliminate or at least limit how many potato chips you eat..
- Unsavory additives. Many brands of potato chips contain BHT (butylhydroxytoluene), a preservative used by the food industry to prevent rancidity in packaged baked goods and snacks. This fat-soluble chemical is also used in petroleum products, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals and can be carcinogenic in large amounts. If that doesn’t deter you from eating potato chips that contain preservatives, maybe the next couple of reasons will.
- Trans Fats. The vast majority of trans fats in the diet come from factory-produced partially hydrogenated plant oil. The food industry loves trans fats … they keep foods crisp. But they also increase the risk of heart disease by clogging arteries, increasing total cholesterol levels and reducing the good cholesterol in the bloodstream. If you want a healthy heart, only eat (and in moderation) potato chips with labels that say “Trans Fat 0g”.
- Empty calories. The USDA recommends you get a majority of your calories from nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Potato chips are not nutrient-dense, and when you consume 500 of your daily calories from chips (which is pretty easy to do), you’re either taking in extra calories and increasing your risk of obesity or substituting empty calories for healthy foods. Potato chips have lots of calories from added fats, sugars and refined grains; in fact, more than half of a chip’s calories are from fat.
- Salt. It’s the salt in chips that makes them so irresistible. But at the same time, it’s the salt in chips that also makes them so unhealthy. Salt is a major cause of high blood pressure which causes excess pressure on blood vessel walls. High blood pressure is a risk factor for stroke, heart attack and kidney failure. Studies report that more than 50% of American adults have hypertension or pre-hypertension. Cutting back on potato chips (cutting back on salt) is one way you can avoid being one of them.