Baked Potato Chips: Are They Healthy?

by in Is It Healthy?, July 21, 2012

baked potato chips
A health halo has been placed on baked chips while fried chips have been getting a bad rap. But are you really making a healthy choice when you toss a bag of baked chips into your shopping cart? Let’s take a closer look.

Yes?
One ounce (about 15 chips) of baked potato chips has 14% fewer calories (153 vs. 131), 50% less fat (10 grams vs. 5 grams) and 67% less saturated fat (3 grams vs. 1 gram) than traditional potato chips. If you’re looking at the calories and fat alone, then you would assume it was the healthier choice.

No?
There are other factors to consider when you look at the healthfulness of a particular food. Baked potato chips are actually much lower in vitamin C—they contain about 4 percent of your recommended daily dose per ounce as opposed to traditional potato chips with 10 percent.

Baked chips are also higher in sodium providing 257 milligrams per ounce (11 percent of your daily recommended amount) compared with 147 milligrams per ounce (6 percent of your daily recommended amount) in traditional chips. The added sodium accounts for the loss in flavor since the chips aren’t being fried.

Baked chips are also one of the highest sources acrylamides. This cancer-causing chemical forms when high-carb foods (like potatoes) are heated to high temperatures. The FDA found that baked potato chips contain about three times more acrylamides than traditional fried chips.

The last issue is with any salty snack is portion control. Mindlessly munching on a huge bag of baked or fried chips can mean loads of extra calories and fat.

The Verdict?
Choosing baked varieties may save you calories and fat, but you’ll still be chomping on more sodium and acrylamides. As an occasional treat, baked chips can be part of a healthy diet but if it’s making more than a guest appearance, you may want to reconsider.

TELL US: What’s your take on baked chips?

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