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Carole Bartolotto

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Are Popchips a Healthy Choice?

Posted: 05/28/2013 11:11 am

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 have any artificial colors or flavors. They also do not contain GMOs (genetically-modified organisms), unlike most snack chips. An employee assured me that the canola oil is GMO-free. 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 said in an interview:

... 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 can cause our blood sugar to go up even more than other foods. Dr. Willet also said:

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 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. Three ounces offer 570 mg of sodium (that's more than one-third of the sodium some people should have for the whole day) and 360 calories most of us do not need. And it's super easy to eat more than three ounces, since most manufacturers make their chips 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.

For more by Carole Bartolotto, click here.

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