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3 Things A Chip Company Can Teach Us About Nutrition

Posted Aug 20 2010 5:39am

Frito Lay recently sponsored a conference focused on healthy living, which raised some eyebrows. While it promoted balance, it was an odd pairing. Read about my opinions & what I learned on the Frito Lay factory tour here. It opened up my eyes to some surprising things. Perhaps the obvious healthier choices like Baked Lays & Sun Chips weren’t such a clear cut choice.

food label potato chips

What is healthier to you?

A. Fewer ingredients?          or         B. Cooking method?

How about:

A. Heart healthy fats?          or         B. Low fat?

Here are your choices:

lays original baked lays

Classic vs Baked

The choice is obvious right?

Baked Lays are the clear “healthy” choice.

But are they?

Looking at the options at the top- let’s say your personal health goals are the (A) choices: few ingredients & a source of heart healthy fats. In that case, the “Classic” might actually be your own personal preference.

Classic                                              Baked

lays classic nutrition label baked lays nutrition label

lays classic ingredients baked lays ingredients

Calories

Classic: 150 per serving

Baked: 120 per serving

Fat

Classic: 10g —> 8g unsaturated fats (aka good) vs 2g saturated (bad)

Baked: 2g —> 1.5g unsaturated fats (aka good) vs 1g saturated fat (bad)

Carbohydrate

Classic: 15g —> 1g fiber, 0g sugar

Baked: 23g —> 2g fiber, 2g sugar

Sodium

Classic: 180mg

Baked: 180mg

Ingredients

Classic: 3 ingredients; potatoes, oil, salt

Baked: 8 ingredients; dehydrated potatoes, modified food starch, sugar, soy lecithin, etc.

potato chip ingredients

1. Read labels. Don’t assume anything; packaging & wording can be misleading. (Ultimately packaging & labels are marketing tools.)

2. Don’t worry so much. If you want chips for a snack, have chips for a snack. It’s important to look at the big picture, not each individual food. Foods shouldn’t be labeled “good” or “bad”, instead look at your diet as a whole.

3. Know your goal. Decide what’s best for you. What fits best into your picture of “health”? What’s important to you? Number or type of ingredients? Nutrient content? Sugar? The decision can be different for everyone.

chip label potato chip label

What factors do you consider when deciding if something is healthy? Do you read labels?

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