Examination of commercial potato chips to determine if baked versions are truly healthier than fried as advertised.
Most consumers associate baking to be a healthier manner of preparation of food than frying.
This would certainly be true for home cooking.
A baked potato, for example, would be a more nourishing choice than a fried potato given that starch subjected to high heat cooking forms acrylamide, a potent carcinogen.
Acrylamide forms even if a healthy cooking oil suitable for high heat cooking is used, like ghee, coconut oil, or pastured tallow.
What about processed foods like baked chips?
Does the same truism that baked is healthier than fried hold up to scrutiny or is it just marketing bling?
Let’s take a look at the labels for a popular brand of baked and fried potato chips.
Fried Potato Chips
Below is the label for a bag of Lay’s Classic Potato Chips.
The ingredients for the fried chips shown in the picture are very simple: potatoes, oil, and salt.
The fact that the oils aren’t hydrogenated does not mean they are healthier.
These vegetable oils are rancid from being highly processed at high temperatures. In addition, frying the potatoes ensures exposure to the carcinogen acrylamide.
So, are the fried chips healthy? Of course not.
Baked Potato Chips
Now let’s look at the ingredients label for the same brand’s version of baked potato chips.
The potatoes used are dried so they aren’t even fresh potatoes!
No information on how the potatoes were dried is provided.
If the potatoes were dried using a very high heat, which is likely, then acrylamide would be formed just like with the fried chips as the lower temperature baking occurs after the drying process!
Tricky, tricky, eh?
In addition, corn starch, corn oil, and soy lecithin are used. Since they are not organic, there is a high likelihood that these ingredients are all from genetically modified (GMO) sources.
In addition, sugar (from GMO beets) and corn sugar (aka, high fructose corn syrup) is stealthily included.
This means that while you are getting less of the unhealthy vegetable oils in the baked chips, you are getting ingredients that are arguably just as bad in return!
Note: Some bags list dextrose instead of corn sugar, but both are from GMO corn. Six of one and a half dozen of the other.
The Truth about Baked Chips vs Fried
Studies have shown that roughly half the tested samples of commercial high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are contaminated with mercury. (2)
Even if not laced with heavy metals, many scientists note that HFCS can dramatically increase the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and liver damage.
So it would seem that the baked chips are no better than the fried chips after all!
Buying the baked chips is robbing Peter to pay Paul by swapping one set of toxins for another.
In fact, the baked chips may actually be the more unhealthy choice as the baked chips are more highly processed than the fried chips.
They also contain more genetically modified ingredients and possibly a bit of neurotoxic mercury residue to boot.
Skip the Baked Chips Upsell
Some well-known restaurant chains like Subway try to make a big deal out of the fact that they offer baked chips.
Now you know that this choice is no better and likely even worse than the fried chips alternative.
By the way, tests show that Subway chicken is less than 50% real meat.
What’s more, the Subway tuna sandwiches don’t test for any fish DNA either.
This chain isn’t exactly on the up and up about their food including the baked chips upselling strategy.
How to Enjoy Truly Healthy Chips!
Just because the baked chips at the store are a scam doesn’t mean that there are no healthy chips to be found!
Here are a few recipes I use in my home so our family can enjoy chips for salads, sandwiches, lunch boxes, and snacks.
(1) Monsanto’s Corn Linked to Organ Failure
(2) Mercury in High Fructose Corn Syrup