The Best Types of Potato Chips For You

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The Best Types of Potato Chips For You
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The Best Types of Potato Chips For You

Which type of potato chips should you avoid and which leads to smarter snacking?

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Regular Potato Chips

One serving of regular fried potato chips (about 15 chips) contains about 160 calories with more than 60 percent of those calories from fat, making it nutrient-poor. Some potato chips are cooked in partially hydrogenated plant oil, which is a source of unhealthy trans fat. These salty snacks are also high in sodium, which can cause hypertension and lead to heart disease.

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Kettle Chips

Regular chips are continuously cooked in hot oil, while kettle chips are cooked in batches. Adding a new batch lowers the temperature of the oil and lengthens the cooking time, leading to the thick, crunchy texture and caramelized flavor of kettle chips. Many people prefer kettle chips' satisfying “home-style” taste. Many kettle cooked chip brands use all-natural ingredients with no preservatives, artificial flavorings or trans fats. However, these fried snacks are still high in calories and fat. Compared to regular chips, kettle chips retain more nutrients, have fewer calories derived from fat and may be considered a slightly healthier alternative (when eaten in moderation).

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Baked Chips

Looking at calories and fat alone, baked chips have 14 percent less calories, 50 percent less fat and 67 percent less saturated fat than traditional chips. However, baked chips tend to be higher in sodium to make up for lost flavor.

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Popped Chips

A recent addition to the snack aisle is popped chips, where potato ingredients are “popped” using heat and pressure into the shape of a chip, similar to the high-pressure cooking of popcorn and rice cakes. Potato popped chips have no trans fat, less than 0.5g saturated fat and fewer calories than both fried and baked potato chips (about 120 calories per 1oz. serving size).

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Potato Crisps

Far from how we imagine our chips as whole slices of deep-fried potato, some potato chips are made from a blend of potato and other ingredients like rice, wheat and corn. This paste is uniformly molded and fried. These snacks are sometimes referred to as crisps because of their lower potato content. These heavily processed snacks can lose many nutrients during their production.

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Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet potato has a healthier reputation than white potato, and a nutritional comparison between the two reveals that sweet potatoes are slightly lower in calories, are an excellent source of vitamin A and beta-carotene and have a lower glycemic index. One serving of sweet potato chips provides 55 percent of your daily recommended intake of vitamin A, which can prevent eye disease.

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While some varieties of potato chips, such as popped chips and sweet potato chips, are healthier alternatives than others, it is important to remind ourselves that healthy snacking starts with eating in moderation.

Want to learn more about potato chips? Read on to discover more fun facts about America's favorite snack.

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Chips or Crisps?

Many countries, including America and Canada, call these salty deep-fried potato snacks "potato chips," but across the pond in the United Kingdom and Ireland, the popular name for them is "potato crisps."

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Seasoning Sensation

Flavoring potato chips wasn't a thing until the 1950s when a small Irish crisp company called Tayto developed the technology to add seasoning during the manufacturing process. The first flavors they created were Cheese & Onion, Barbecue and Salt & Vinegar.

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How many potato chips do we eat?

The average person consumes six pounds of potato chips, or 96 one-ounce single serving bags, each year.

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When you get a craving for something salty, many of us reach for a bag of potato chips. It's hard to stop munching on these delicious, crispy and satisfying snacks! For those of you watching your waistlines or even your health, we've compared varieties of chips to find out which ones are the best and worst for your health.

Check out our slideshow above to discover which type of chip you should avoid and which leads to smarter snacking.

For more on healthy eating, check out The 10 Best Leafy Greens, 7 Healthy Money-Saving Recipes and Nine Food Habits to Fight Breast Cancer.

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