Potato chips is a common snack for people nowadays as it has been the first time it commercially introduced. It’s accessible and does not require cooking thus making it ready to eat. The food itself is lightweight in the tummy, it will leave you craving after every bite. Often, it is paired as a food with beer for that drinking habit. For a snack that sounds so promising, who have not eaten of it?
However, in light of all of this, potato chips is still a junk food with barely any nutrients but calories. Not to mention that potato chips and junk foods in general are harmful to health in the long run. Experts warn that just by eating a package of potato chips is equal to the effect of drinking 5 liters of cooking oil. Recent studies also show that eating potato chips is as harmful as taking in drugs as it gives the feeling of addiction.
According to Michael Moss, author of the “Salt, Sugar, Fat: How The Food Giants Hooked Us,” potato chips are “designed” to cause addiction. “The mechanism,” as he say is on the taste of the potato chips that leaves the tastebud. But, there is no magic in it – only that it stimulates a signal to the brain which gives out the craving.
In general, all potato chips regardless of the labels are unhealthy. Michael Moss even recommends eating Potato Chips only twice a month and in small quantities. In addition, he also strictly forbids eating of potato chips as it has a similar effects to smoking.
But other than the fat contents of potato chips, the more pressing issue attributed to it is the carcinogenic chemical attributed to it – acrylamide. Knowing this, potato chips is basically considered one of the most toxic processed food in the market.
The Existence of Acrylamide
Acrylamide is said to develop whenever a carbohydrate-rich food such as a potato is cooked at high temperatures (anything above 100°C). Regardless of the means of cooking (baked, fried, or roasted), acrylamide is produced. In fact, even other carbohydrate-rich foods are slightly toxic when cooked but does not compare to the levels of acrylamide produced with junk foods. According to Environmental Law Foundation, for every single chip product they tested for acrylamide, all exceeded the legal limit by at least 39 times. Some brands even reaching as much as 910 times.
If acrylamide, alone, is bad, HEATOX studies show reports that there are other chemicals that are also formed as a result of heating. Over 800 compounds are identified and among those, 52 are feared to be potentially carcinogeinc. This gives us more than one reason to eat foods that are produced as a result of high-temperature cooking.