Crisp Packet - Health Concerns

Health Concerns

Potato chips were originally fried and seasoned without concern for trans fats, sodium, sugar, or other nutrient levels. Following the creation of Dietary Reference Intake guidelines in the US and Canada and similar guidelines in various countries, and the advent of nutrition facts labels, consumers, advocacy groups, and health organizations have focused on the nutritional value of junk foods, including potato chips.

A recent long term study determined that potato chip consumption was the greatest contributor to weight gain, having a stronger impact on weight gain than consumption of potatoes and soft drinks. The starch in potato chips is known to cause tooth decay.

Some potato chip companies have responded to the criticism by investing in research and development to modify existing recipes and create health-conscious products. Kettle Foods was founded in 1978 and currently sells only trans fat-free products, including potato chips. PepsiCo research shows that approximately 80% of salt on chips is not sensed by the tongue before being swallowed. Frito-Lay spent $414 million in 2009 on product development, including development of salt crystals that would reduce the salt content of Lay's potato chips without adversely affecting flavor.

A big concern about the nutrition of potato chips is that because they are often made with salt, they may contain substantial levels of sodium. The excessive consumption of potato chips may cause obesity, which can produce a rise in blood pressure. Researchers at Queen Mary, University of London pointed out that potato chips contain less salt per serving than "Special K, All Bran, Golden Grahams, Cheerios, Shreddies and every brand of cornflakes on sale in the UK."

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