Chips are as Americana as binge watching TV, the Yankees, and Starbucks. We love them! Close to 6 billion dollars are spend on chips and other salty snack foods. And why not? They are the perfect combination of crunchy, salty, savory, and a hint of sweetness. But as with many tasty treats, they are too good to be true. Today, I am going to cover a couple of pitfalls in the “chip world” and offer some better chip alternatives. Let’s cover some of the cancer-causing toxins found in chips!
Acrylamide is a by-product that arises from heating starchy foods to extremely high temperatures. This occurs in all chips as the corn or potato is fried in very hot temperatures to make them permanently crispy. Acrylamide has been classified as a Class 2a carcinogen by the IARC, meaning it probably causes cancer. (Check out our articles on Class 1 and Class 2s IARC carcinogens or listen to our podcast on them.) Incidentally, acrylamide is found in many cereals, crackers, cookies, and even coffee. They are similar to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), another carcinogen caused by cooking meats and other carb-heavy foods in high temperature. (Check out our podcast on PAHs and HCAs!)
Regardless of your taste preference, all chips are fried in vegetable oils. Vegetable oils, in particular corn, soybean, canola, palm, sunflower, and alike, have been linked to increase rate of heart disease, cancer, and other maladies. Especially when they are heated up as they are prone to oxidize (or break down) at a higher rate. The presence of vegetable oils is the main problem with chips. Think of chips as the cooled-down version of French fries, which incidentally are fried in rancid vegetable oils, as well. (Read our article on cooking fats & oils!)
Most chips may be classified as being as corn-based or potato-based. 90% of all corn in America is GMO-ed. This includes those used in chips. While the FDA and food lobbyist for Big Food attempt to assuage our fears that there is nothing wrong with genetically slicing the DNA of a cold-bodied fish into a citrus fruit to make it cold-resistant, Mary Shelley would tell us otherwise. There have been several disturbing studies coming out of Europe showing that animals given high amounts of GMO food developed massive tumors, endocrine problems, infertility and increased mortality.
Potatoes are commonly listed on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) annual “Dirty Dozen” list of most-absorbed pesticides. (Click Here to Read our review of the Dirty Dozen.) In short, potatoes absorb loads of hormone-disrupting, tumor-causing, infertility-making pesticides which we in turn absorb when we ingest the chips. This is a problem.
Most flavored-variety of chips contain monosodium glutamate (MSG). Like I tell the students, there isn’t a guy in the Lays factory pouring a drop of BBQ sauce on every chip that passes him on the assembly line. These companies simply spray chemicals that mimic the taste of that particular flavor. Flavored chips are extremely popular, whether it be Hot Cheetos, Sour Cream, Cool Ranch, Honey Mustard, etc.
MSGs are a reputed neurotoxin and obesogen. In particular, they cause our neurons to overstimulate to the point of exhaustion and explosion. But the reason Big Food puts them into our foods is because they are an extremely effective flavor enhancer which makes us crave their product more. That is why variants of it are put in all fast food and restaurant food, not to mention soups, canned Italian foods, instant pasta mixes and alike. Read our article on the problems with MSGs as well as the various code words used to mask the presence of MSGs in our food.
Read our article on MSGs and other toxins!
Veggie Chip Lies
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave….when first we practice to deceive.” Not to wax lyrical, but Big Food and Big Advertising are notorious for deceiving us into thinking their products are actually healthier than they are. One case in point would be bottled water. (Listen to our NPE Radio episode on this sham.)
Veggie Chips are another. Veggie Chips are not in fact vegetable chips. They are potato chips masquerading as vegetable chips. Look at the ingredients! Some more trusting brands might use Spinach Paste or Carrot Paste to blend in with the potatoes. Some just use dyes. As a whole, there are worse chips to eat, but I wanted to bring awareness to the manipulation that they employ. (Click Here to buy some veggie chips.)
Food dyes are commonly found in the flavored chips to enhance color. A safe bet is that if a chip flavor has MSGs it is also going to have food dyes. Cheetos, Doritos, Takis all use them. Food dyes have been verifiably linked to developmental problems and cancer. (Read our article on food dyes.)
Sun Chips are not chips in which a drop of happy sunshine fell onto a chip laying in the meadows. It is just as problematic as standard, conventional chips. Look at the ingredients. It has MSGs in them, but it will use the code words of Autolyzed Yeast Extract or something similar to deceive us. Click Here To See!
Look, we are human beings. Even though we aware of the cancer-causing toxins found in chips, we will likely still eat them. We like tasty things, and food scientists hired by Lays and other companies have found the perfect bliss point of salt, fat, and even sugar in our chips to turn us into docile slaves begging for Soma as seen in Huxley’s Brave New World. We are going to eat chips. So let’s look at some ways we can minimize our exposure to the aforementioned toxins.
- Eat unflavored chips. Tortilla chips, Fritos, Funyuns, Lays Original are unflavored and as such they do not contain MSGs or food dyes.
- Choose Organic Chips. Many tortilla chips come in organic variety. This allows you to get away from the GMO aspects of corn.
- Eat “Baked” variety of chips. Though these chips still contain vegetable oils, at least they are not fried to extremely high temperatures which allows the Omega 6 vegetable oils to oxidize quickly.
- Make Kale or Yam chips. Check out our recipe on kale chips. Making true veggie chips at home is not as hard as you think. If you don’t want to make your own, some high-end grocery stores, Amazon, and alike sell kale chips in a bag. Just beware they are expensive. Click Here to buy some on Amazon.
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