Frito-Lay, feeling pressure from schools and consumers, has begun a nationwide rollout of Lay's and Ruffles chips cooked in sunflower oil instead of cottonseed oil, with the aim of reducing saturated fat.
Other snackmakers are likely to follow suit. This change comes three years after Frito-Lay removed trans fats from its products.
Saturated fat in Lay's Classic chips will be reduced by as much as 66 percent by the change. Chips made with sunflower oil have already been available in Canada for a year.
Nutritionists, however, say that even with the change, the potato chips are still unhealthy when compared with fruits and vegetables.
You may have seen this in the news recently as it was called an "industry-jarring" announcement about the rollout of a "better-for-you" potato chip.
Imagine that, a healthy potato chip.
However, once you understand some basic nutritional concepts you quickly realize nothing could be further from the truth.
All Frito-Lay is doing is switching to what APPEARS to be a healthier oil. Their switch to sunflower oil is NOT going to help your health, but will instead actually worsen it. In fact, this is very similar to a likewise unhealthy move made by McDonald's, from using tropical oils to using regular vegetable oils.
For one thing, the use of a different vegetable oil does nothing to change the critical ratio of omega-6 fats versus omega-3 fats that is so crucial for optimizing your health. But if that were the only problem, at least the potato chips would stay at the same level of unhealthiness. This change will actually cause them to damage your health even more than they previously did.
Many people confuse this with being a trans-fat issue -- it's actually far worse than that.
When you heat highly perishable oils like sunflower oil, other more toxic molecules form, such as cyclized, cross-linked, fragmented, bond-shifted oils. They form polymerized bonds, producing all kinds of different damaged oil molecules.
This damage occurs when you fry the chips. It starts at about 160 degrees Celsius (320 degrees Fahrenheit), and goes up exponentially as the temperature rises. The nature of chemical reactions is that for every 10-degree rise in temperature (Celsius), the rate of chemical reactions (with oxygen, light, metals) at least doubles, and may even triple or quadruple. As temperatures climb, more of those damaged oil molecules that sap your health seep into their products.
The company actually BOASTS about the 66 percent decrease in saturated fat in their Lay's Classic chips, although this is one of the worst moves they could make. Saturated fat is relatively more resistant to producing these damaged oil molecules. If they really wanted to make their chips healthier, they should have shifted to tropical oils, which are less susceptible to the heat damage that is necessary to produce potato chips.
Bottom line, these new chips will be MUCH worse than the current version of their potato chips.
The announcement conveniently neglects to mention ONE WORD about the levels of cancer-causing acrylamide, a toxic chemical that is easily checked. You can bet your bottom dollar, if these new chips had less acrylamide they would be promoting that fact big time. Fact is, these chips will have MORE cancer-causing acrylamide in them.
Although potato chips were NEVER healthy for you, these new chips make the current chips look like health food. So you can add ALL versions of Lay's potato chips to the list of the most dangerous potato chips you can eat.