If potato chips are an addiction for you then I guess you could say Baked! Lay’s are healthier relative to normal potato chips. They do, in fact, have less fat and calories than regular lays chips. But if your standard of healthy is a food that provides nutritional value without additives that are harmful to your body, then you might be in for a small dose of reality.
Let’s start by looking at the first few ingredients of Baked! Lay’s: Dehydrated Potatoes, Corn Oil, Modified Food Starch, Sugar, and Salt. I am not sure about you but those certainly do not sound like the four horseman of good health to me.
Dehydrated Potatoes are made through a process where 98% of the water is removed from the potato. Fortunately,this process does in fact retain most of the nutrients that are in a regular white potato. The problem lies in the fact that compared to other vegetables white potatoes are not that healthy. The reason why can be explained by the potatoes Glycemic index . In short, the Glycemic Index is how the food effects the blood sugar levels in the body. For example, a food with a high Glycemic Index has carbohydrates that enter the blood stream rapidly causing a rush of sugar to enter the blood. A normal person can not use all this sugar and the end result is through a complex process- the sugar is converted into fat. Potatoes were a staple in our ancestors diets because they were a cheap and potent source of energy for workers that had an energy intense life style. The problem is American’s lifestyles now are much more sedentary than the average human 100 years ago. As much as we like to think our 1 hour daily work out is keeping us in shape, it pales in comparison to the amount of energy needed to plow a field for ten hours a day. The average Russet Potato has a Glycemic Index of 95 that is really high compared to a sweet potato that has a Glycemic Index of 50. That is even higher than fruit loops that have a GI of 69!
Corn oil has zero nutritional value and only adds the minimal amount of polyunsaturated fat that is in the chips.
Modified Food Starch
Modified food starch is a starch that has been chemically modified to change one or more of its physical or chemical properties. It is usually chemically treated to change it into a thickening agent, but it can be chemically treated in many ways, and for different reasons. Usually a modified starch has been treated with some form of acid, probably sulfuric, to lower its viscosity. Unfortunately, the FDA does not require food companies to describe in specifics how exactly they have chemically engineered the food starch, but one thing is for sure it’s definitely not all natural. These starches are hard for the body to digest and the long term effect on the body have not been determined in detail. In most cases modified starch often contains about 10% Maltodextrin which is a nice friendly name used by the food industry for our old friend Monosodium Glutamate (M.S.G.).
Salt and Sugar
I will let these two speak for themselves. Here is an article on salt’s effect on the body.
So next time you pop in that convenience store and you think you are doing your body a favor by picking up a bag of Baked Lay’s, think twice and grab yourself a banana.