POTATO CHIPS

POTATO CHIPS – WHY THEY ARE SO BAD
By: Barry Ramo, M.D., FACC

Q: I have heard you talk about potato chips and you act like they give you cancer. Why are they so bad?

A: I like potato chips and they have all but one of the food groups. Salt, fat and simple carbohydrates that spike your blood sugar. The only thing missing is the fourth food group: alcohol. Just kidding.

It you have a pack-a-day habit, you will consume more than five quarts of cooking oil a year. Even worse, the fat is trans fat or saturated fat so not only are you getting fat but so are your arteries. Your average potato chip is about 50 percent fat and 45 percent carb and a 1.2-ounce pack has 2.5 teaspoons of oil. That’s around 160 empty calories. No sugar but the simple carbs in a potato chip spike your blood sugar and that can make you hungry a few hours later. I guess you could say potato chips are the gift that keeps on giving.

The reduced-fat chips have about 20 fewer calories than the regular chips. Low fat does not mean low calories. An ounce and a half is 135 calories. I don’t know about you, but when I have chips I don’t count and I also have a soft drink or a beer. If you are trying to lose weight get those empty calories out of your diet. And if you skip the cola, you can eliminate the 8 to 10 teaspoons of sugar that each 8-ounce can has.

Dr. Barry Ramo is a cardiologist with the New Mexico Heart Institute and medical editor for KOAT-TV. Send questions for him to Albuquerque Journal Boomer, P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, NM 87103, or e-mail them to htaylor@abqjournal.com

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