Mommy can I have some chippies please?
As parents we often find it difficult to say no to our kids, especially when they have remembered to say “please” without being reminded! Most kids love crisps and French fries. Then again most adults do too. There is something intensely satisfying about sipping on a cold drink of the alcoholic variety, passing the bowl of crisps around, hearing your meat sizzling on the braai – all while watching the sun go down on a beautiful African sky.
But what if I told you that the innocent-looking bowl of chips, contains a chemical that potentially could give you cancer. Would that get your attention?
The culprit is a substance called Acrylamide.
In an article written by Dr Mercola, he states that “acrylamide is a cancer-causing and potentially neurotoxic chemical”. It is one of the most hazardous ingredients in potato chips and it is not even intentionally added. It is created as a processing byproduct when carbohydrate-rich foods are cooked at high temperatures, whether baked, fried, roasted or toasted. Acrylamide can also be found in grains such as bread crust, toast, crisp bread, roasted breakfast cereals and various processed snacks.
Unfortunately opting for the healthier ‘baked not fried’ variety is even worse for you. According to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data – baked chips may contain more than three times the level of acrylamide as regular chips. An analysis done in America by the Environmental Law Foundation found that all potato chip products tested exceeded the legal limit of acrylamide by a minimum of 39 times, and as much as 910 times!
“So remember, ALL potato chips contain acrylamide, regardless of whether they are natural or not; baked or fried. Likewise, they will ALL influence your insulin levels in a very negative way.” – Dr Mercola
So the question you need to ask yourself is this, “What am I going to do with this information? Is it enough for me to think twice about what I put into my mouth and what I give to my kids? Maybe you need to do more of your own research. Acrylamide is currently defined by the World Health Organisation as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’. Mmm…. not sure I want to put that probability to the test!
Tartrazine or MSG-free crisps might just not be enough. The reality is that crisps are never going to be a healthy option. If your goal is to deflate your spare tyre, shrink your thunder thighs or get your man boobs under control – then you should probably avoid them all together anyway. Acrylamide aside, they are high in carbs, full of unhealthy processed vegetable oils, artificial flavourings, colourants and preservatives.
So instead of serving a potentially carcinogenic and health damaging snack to your kids, friends and family, offer them some yummy nuts or maybe some fresh wholesome crudites with a delicious dip.
I hope that this information has sown a seed that will one day in the very near future start you on a path to healthier eating and good food choices.
Reference: An article by Dr Mercola titled, “Are You Eating This All-Time Favorite “Cancer-in-a-Can” Snack?“