Baked Potato Chips
After reading all of the dangers of fried potato chips, like most people, you probably think that baked has to be a better option. But that isn’t exactly the case.
For starters, baked chips are actually dried prior to baking. While the exact process is not entirely known, in all likelihood high temperatures are needed to dehydrate the chips, which creates acrylamide.
An FDA study actually found that depending on the brand, some baked chips actually have higher levels of acrylamide than fried chips, including Lay’s Original Naturally Baked Potato Crisps, which scored at the very top range of acrylamide (14). This is upwards of three to four times times the level of acrylamide in their fried counterparts.
You should also be aware that in 1995, potato plants producing CRY 3A Bt toxin (a gram-positive, soil-dwelling bacterium, commonly used as a biological pesticide) were approved safe by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), making it the first human-modified pesticide-producing crop approved in the US (15).
Because this is a relatively new condition, researchers need to conduct more in-depth studies to determine the actual dangers.
One study, however, states “Although the term ‘toxic is not appropriate for defining the effects these toxins have on mammals, they cannot be considered innocuous, as they have some physiological effects that may become pathological; thus, trials that are more comprehensive are necessary to determine their effects on mammals because knowledge in this field remains limited.” (16)
While both fried and baked potatoes obviously contain potatoes and likely now this new toxin, baked potato chips are no better than fried and definitely not a better alternative in this case.
Apart from potatoes, Baked Lay’s also contain things like corn starch, corn oil, sugar (high fructose corn syrup) as well as soy lecithin, which as we know is probably made from genetically modified (GMO) soybeans and corn since 93 percent of all soybeans are now genetically modified as are 88 percent of all corn crops (17).
GMOs are linked to a wide variety of diseases and issues including cancer, infertility, allergies, birth defects, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease and autism just to name a few (18). Once again, this does not make baked potato chips any better than fried when it comes to GMO contamination.
The amount of corn sugar (high fructose corn syrup, HFCS) in baked potato chips is also a real issue. According to a recently published study in Nature, HFCS is “a key driver for a molecular mechanism that drives uncontrolled growth of the heart muscle,” which can eventually lead to “complete heart failure, as the heart literally outgrows its ability to function within the body.” (19)
A 2009 study from University of California, Davis, shows that excessive fructose intake can cause metabolic damage and trigger the early stages of diabetes and heart disease (20).
Other research shows that rats fed HFCS gain 300 percent more fat than those fed regular sugar or sugar from fruit, even in slightly higher amounts. HFCS also cause insulin resistance, elevated blood pressure, hypertension and stroke (21). It can further lead to liver disease, cancer, arthritis, and even gout.
When it comes to baked or fried potato chips, the choice is obvious—neither. Both are highly toxic and pretending one is healthier just to pad an already bursting bottom line, is not only unethical but downright dangerous.