Do you know what the boxes and bags of chips you consume contain? Is it pure potatoes or are there other chemical additives in it? Besides the extra calories, are potato chips a health hazard? Do they increase the risk of cancer? Let's find out what the box of one of the most consumed chip marks in the world is hiding: Pringles.
Chips are slices of fine potatoes that are fried in oil. They are normally seasoned with salt, but today they come in different flavors and aromas. Between cheese, hot sauce, barbecue or onion, the choice is wide, to the delight of the gourmands.
Taken to strain a little hunger, crisps are appreciated by adults but also by children for their taste. Although they are decried for their caloric character, they are still very popular and have even been diverted into a more "healthy" version, either baked.
However, the disadvantages of chips far outweigh the intake of calories. Indeed, chips represent a real health hazard and this is mainly due to their method of manufacture.
The boxes of chips that fill the large surfaces contain much more than slices of potatoes. And there is no question here about cheap brands, but rather the majority of brands that offer this kind of products and even the best known among them, including Pringles.
How are chips made?
The ingredients used to make the chips are: potato slivers (fortunately), potato flakes, wheat and corn. All these foods are mixed in order to get a kind of dough. This will then be placed in molds to have the final shape of the crisps.
The chips are then fried in oil, dried, then flavored before being packed.
Why chips are dangerous for health?
The ingredients used in chips are not responsible for their harmful effects. Rather, it is the manufacturing and cooking processes that make this food a hazard.
The process of chip preparation involves the formation of a chemical that has been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as potentially carcinogenic to humans; Acrylamide.
This material tends to form in foods rich in starch, during their cooking at high temperature, especially during frying. It is the result of a chemical reaction between aspargine, an amino acid, and sugars.
Acrylamide is thus found in different foods, especially biscuits and crisps obviously.
Taking these facts into account, potato chips can therefore be considered hazardous to health. Especially since acrylamide is classified as carcinogenic and genotoxic by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). In addition to increasing the risk of cancer, it can damage DNA. It should be noted, however, that this information is drawn from the results of studies carried out on animals. Those carried out on man remain inconclusive. But this does not mean that this substance is innocent!
In addition, HEATOX (Heat-generated Food Toxicants) has demonstrated that there are other substances formed during the cooking of potato chips, which can be carcinogenic and toxic.
The data from this project concluded that high temperature cooking results in the formation of 800 components. 52 of them, can lead to cancer.
How to limit exposure to acrylamide?
Being present in different foods such as coffee, toast, chips or chips, it can be difficult to avoid it completely. However, exposure to this material can be reduced.
To do this, it is recommended to avoid overheating the cooking oil or to cook the food more than is necessary. The brown or over-brown portions of the fried or baked foods, which are those containing the most acrylamide, should be avoided.
Finally, it is important to remember that the consumption of all processed foods, often rich in salt, fat and sugar, is strongly discouraged because it increases the risk of overweight, cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It is important to privilege everything that is natural, and to have a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals and lean proteins.