Last month we discussed the USDA’s stance on potatoes (they don’t seem to like them), the nutritional benefits of potatoes and how they stacked up against tomatoes, oranges and bananas. Our conclusion was the the USDA is crazy and potatoes can be a very healthy part of a person’s diet. But that begs the question – how healthy are potato chips?
Since we grow and ship chipping potatoes, we decided to focus on two of the more well-known brands that we ship chippers to – Lay’s and Kettle Brand. Both companies produce a mighty fine bag of potato chips and we highly recommend you enjoy both. Seriously, you should go buy three bags of each after reading this blog post.
First up is Lay’s Classic Potato Chips. Light, salty and crispy, these Lay’s simply makes these chips with potatoes, sunflower and/or corn oil and a little bit of salt. Not only are these potato chips additive free, have no trans fats and are a good source of Vitamin C, but they’re also kosher! So, what does their label say?
For a one ounce serving of Lay’s Potato Chips (which is a small bag you’d get with a sandwich), you get 150 calories, 10 grams of total fat (or 16% of your daily allowance), only 1 gram of saturated fat (a measly 6% of your daily allowance) and 180 mg of sodium (or 7%). Not surprising, and not terrible either. What is surprising? That these thin, fried potato chips contribute 0% of cholesterol, 9% of your daily allowance of potassium, 10% of Vitamin C and 4% (or one gram) of your intake of dietary fiber. Not bad for “junk food”!
Next, Kettle Chips. To keep things fair, we compared Lay’s Classic Potato Chips to Kettle Brand Sea Salt Potato Chips. Kettle has updated their classic Lightly Salted potato chips by adding natural sea salt. Though more natural, they’re still delicious. But how “healthy” are these potato chips?
If you look at the nutrition data provided by Kettle Brand, you’ll notice for a one ounce serving (or 13 chips), like Lay’s you get 150 calories, 10% of your daily recommended allowance of Vitamin C, one gram of dietary fiber and no cholesterol. However, that serving will only account for 5% of your daily allowance of sodium, 5% of saturated fat and a whopping 12% of potassium! Again, not nearly as terrible as you might have imagined.
So, are potato chips a healthy substitute for carrots, broccoli or apples as a snack? Of course not. However, for a snack that is made of thin slices of fried potato and then seasoned with salt, potato chips have a surprising amount of nutritional value. Just enjoy them in moderation.