By Carole Bartolotto, MA, RD
Katy Perry likes them; so does Ashton Kutcher. They are described as “tinseltown’s favorite snack”. And their clever ad campaign is creative and fun, with tag lines such as:
- “Love. Without the handles.”
- “Less guilty. More pleasure.”
- “Nothing fake about them.”
- “Spare me the guilt chip.”
Finding snacks that taste good and are good for us is a worthy goal. But are Popchips really a healthy choice?
On the plus side, they do not contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms), unlike most snack chips. An employee assured me that the canola oil is GMO-free. They also do not have any artificial colors or flavors, which is a good thing. However, they are made of potato flakes, potato starch, oil, rice flour, and salt.
While these ingredients might not be “fake,” they are highly processed and this is a problem. Processed carbs quickly raise blood sugar. Our body then produces insulin to lower it, triggering feelings of hunger, and potentially causing you to eat more.
Dr. Walter Willet from Harvard University says that, “… in fact, these kinds of starches–white bread, white rice, potatoes–are starches that are very rapidly converted to glucose, really pure sugar, and almost instantly absorbed into the bloodstream. And these are the kinds of carbohydrates that we really should be minimizing in our diets.”
Additionally, potatoes cause our blood sugar to go up even more than other foods. Dr. Willet also says, “Actually, careful studies have shown, demonstrated, that you get a bigger rise in blood sugar after eating potatoes, a baked potato, say, than you do from eating pure table sugar.”
A recent Harvard study has found that French fries and potato chips cause more weight gain than other foods. Other forms of potatoes also increased weight, even more so than desserts and sweets! “Love, without the handles,” is not sounding so plausible after all.
Since the potatoes in Popchips are highly processed, most of the vitamin C, B vitamins, potassium, and fiber are lost. And 3 ounces have 570 mg of sodium (that’s more than ⅓ of the sodium some people should have for the whole day) and 360 calories. If you ate just 3 ounces of Popchips a day, and they were extra calories, you would potentially gain 36 pounds in a year! And it’s super easy to eat more than 3 ounces since most chip manufacturers make their snacks with just the right amount of salt and crunch so you have an intense desire to eat them.
“More pleasure?” Maybe. “Less guilt?” I don’t think so. If you are looking to find a healthy snack, chose real foods instead.
So what are your favorite healthy, whole food, snacks?
Copyright © 2013 Carole Bartolotto, MA, RD. All rights reserved.