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What’s Really In Potato Chips?

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For more in-depth information about acrylamide, I recommend reading the online report Heat-generated Food Toxicants, Identification, Characterization and Risk Minimization.††In general however, just remember that cooking food at high temperatures is ill advised. A few of the most well-known toxins created in high-temperature cooking include:

  • Heterocyclic Amines (HCAs): These form when meat is cooked at high temperatures, and they’re also linked to cancer. In terms of HCA, the worst part of the meat is the blackened section, which is why you should always avoid charring your meat, and never eat blackened sections.
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs): When fat drips onto the heat source, causing excess smoke, and the smoke surrounds your food, it can transfer cancer-causing PAHs to the meat.
  • Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs): When food is cooked at high temperatures (including when it is pasteurized or sterilized), it increases the formation of AGEs in your food. When you eat the food, it transfers the AGEs into your body. AGEs build up in your body over time leading to oxidative stress, inflammation and an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease.

The Search for a “Healthful” Chip Continues…

Like a modern-day search for the Holy Grail, chip manufacturers keep searching for methods to improve the image of their health-harming but profitable snacks. For example, by the end of 2011, about half of Pepsi’s Frito-Lay brand snacks will be reformulated with all-natural ingredients. The switch is part of PepsiCo’s master plan to tap into the healthy foods market share. The Wall Street Journal recently reported the company hopes to boost their nutrition business from $10 billion to $30 billion by 2020.

The company will remove dietary hazards like monosodium glutamate (MSG), replacing it with natural seasonings, such as molasses and paprika. Artificial colors will be replaced with beet juice, purple cabbage and carrots. All in all, about different 60 snacks are scheduled to get an all-natural makeover.

This is certainly a good example of how consumer demand can alter the direction of food manufacturers in a positive way.

The reformulated chips may end up being less bad for you than the original formulations. However, chips will never be truly healthful. All-natural chips may be the lesser of two evils, but if consumed regularly, they will still push your health in the wrong direction. There’s no getting away from the fact that modern plagues such as cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes have a dietary component, and potato chips and French fries will always be a losing bet if you want to avoid becoming another disease statistic.

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Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, Health, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Photo Courtesy Of: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

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Dr. Mercola

Dr. Mercola has been passionate about health and technology for most of his life. As a doctor of osteopathic medicine, he treated many thousands of patients for over 20 years. In the mid 90ís he integrated his passion for natural health with modern technology via the internet and developed a website, Mercola.com to spread the word about natural ways to achieve optimal health.

115 comments

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6:11AM PST on Feb 12, 2014

very good article,thank you

2:22PM PST on Dec 11, 2012

too many pages to read, yes chips are bad, but there's more to life than quantity.....there has to be a balance and if someone wants to include a respectable amount of potato chips for quality I won't lecture them.........now if they are way overweight, diabetic, hyperlipidemic, atherosclerotic I will discuss with them better choices.....

3:07AM PDT on May 31, 2012

"I am an ignorant potato chip eater and refuse to pay attention to this article."

This. Also, I don't eat Pringles anymore, only chips made of actual potatoes.

7:02AM PST on Feb 5, 2012

Is this just for the pringles types? or our regular, tasty type?

12:20PM PST on Jan 23, 2012

Thanks.

11:58PM PST on Jan 8, 2012

Interesting artilce!

9:44AM PST on Dec 28, 2011

Hmm. Isn't basically everything bad for you? I'll try to cut back on potato chips and French fries, but that's mainly because I want to eat healthier.

6:18AM PST on Dec 18, 2011

Basically, anything cooked contains carcinogens, as do a number of raw foods, such as peanuts with aflatoxin. You CANNOT live on our planet and not be exposed to carcinogens.

1:40AM PST on Dec 14, 2011

I am an ignorant potato chip eater and refuse to pay attention to this article.

9:51AM PST on Dec 11, 2011

hmmmm, think i have to stop eating these "potato chips"

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