Am addicted to you! – Lay’s Potato Chips

To be really honest, I can’t actually remember the last time I had the potato chips also called regular or plain chips which comes in transparent packets in shops. I can’t even remember the last time I had them bought from a roadside seller frying them freshly in large quantities of oil and then serving it in small brown paper packets. All I can remember is that it was cheap and crispy and it was potato chips. It used to be a bit salty and sometimes a bit hot. I used to get them and then have it over a timepass conversation with family slowly munching into it and sharing with all. A packet of 250 grams was more than sufficient for an entire half an hour. But that’s a long time ago. I can’t seem to remember when and why I dumped it though. I couldn’t find an image of even a single transparent pack in Google of the plain chips that am talking about. The closest resemblance to that age old chips is what can be seen in the picture below.

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Fast forward to the present, I remember the last time I had the potato chips also called Lay’s potato chips which comes in custom designed packets. I can even remember the air tight packet, how it sounded when it is shook. I still remember how even when Lay’s wasn’t in my shopping list, the mere sight of it in a shop would make my heart skip a beat and buy the junk. I can remember grabbing the party pack and making my way quick home. It was costly, never mind, and crispy, yes a lot, and it was potato chips. It comes in many flavours – Cream and Onion, Tomato Tango, Classic Salted  etc. I used to get them and gobble it down my throat within minutes. I don’t want to share, after all it’s all mine. Even 177 gram of party pack isn’t enough for me. I must agree with this ‘No one can eat just one‘. Even though the ‘one’ here refers to a single chip piece, I would say it refers to one packet. Searching for images was so simple, Google is flooded with images of various varieties, take a look.

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The song which comes to my mind when I think about Lay’s potato chips is something like this.

I’m addicted to you,
Hooked on your taste,
Like a powerful drug
I can’t get enough of,
Lost in your taste,
Drowning in blue
Out of control,
What can I do?
I’m addicted to you!

Well, all this was the fun part, now let me get a bit serious. My first question is Why is the Lays chips packet filled with so much air? Can’t they fill it with more chips? The answer which I found in Google search is as follows ‘They’re actually filled with nitrogen to increase shelf life and keep the contents tasting fresh, in addition to cushioning to keep the contents from breaking in transit.’ So basically am I eating nitrogen chips, oh no.
Now Lay’s is 100% vegetarian or so is the claim as seen here. You can see all ingredients present in all the various products by clicking on them in this link. The following is very important. See the image below:

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Even the FAQ session of Lay’s claims the same. But is it true? Do we know it for sure? Will I be able to make the same lip-smacking potato chips following the steps which PepsiCo claims to be used to make Lay’s Potato chips:

The production process begins on farms in select regions across India where the best potatoes are grown specifically for Frito-Lay. Upon the potatoes’ arrival at plants, it can take as little as 24 hours for the chips to be made. Lay’s chips are made using the following simple process:

  • Wash – the potatoes are thoroughly bathed in water.
  • Peel – next, we gently peel the skin off the potatoes, even as the flavour remains intact.
  • Slice – The potatoes are thinly sliced and rinsed again to remove any remaining starch.
  • Cook – The slices are cooked to a crispy crunch in edible vegetable oils.
  • Season – Finally, the chips are topped off with a mouthwatering sprinkle of salt or seasoning

The potatoes have now become delicious chips and are packed and delivered to a store near you.

Frankly speaking, I have tried making it a million times, and trust me, it wont reach anywhere near Lay’s taste. Again am coming to the same topic – Lay’s ingredients. I know they contain salt, lots and lots of them. Salts are added to enhance the taste. A single serving of potato chips is about 28 grams, but most people consume far more than that amount at one sitting, who can stop with 28 grams anyway! Such a single serving of plain potato chips contains 180 mg of added salt. The body only needs 2,300 mg of sodium per day, and eating several grams of potato chips can result in your getting too much salt from one small snack and lead to several negative health problems, including high blood pressure which can lead to stroke, heart failure, coronary heart disease and kidney disease. And if you are going to say will try the flavoured varieties, am sorry to say that they have even more added salt.

Even though the claim above is ‘Trans-Fat Free‘  but I see a small * at the end of it, something like *Conditions Apply. Most chips are deep-fried, a process that creates trans fats to preserve their shelf-life and achieve the crisp texture. So if I proceed with my intuition that it does contains some Trans Fat, then what am I getting into? Trans fats are the worst and most dangerous fats you can consume because they increase the risk of heart disease by clogging arteries, raising your bad cholesterol while lowering your good cholesterol. Trans fat should be a strict no no in diets with no * attached.

We talked about salt, we talked about fats. But do they contain any nutrients? Sadly the answer is Potato chips lack nutrients to add any value as a snack and they tend to displace things in the diet that are higher in nutrients. Fried potato chips do not contain healthy amounts of vitamins and minerals to help compensate for the high fat and salt content. Frying potatoes in unhealthy oils strips them off all the nutrients the raw potatoes contained. It basically means that you are filling yourself up with Nutrient-poor food.

What about MSG – the flavour enhancer? The claim says no MSG but there is a section on the packet which says ‘CONTAINS ADDED FLAVOUR (NATURAL & NATURE IDENTICAL FLAVOURING SUBSTANCES)‘. Am not saying Lay’s contain MSG or not, but what if? Am a bit skeptical Symptoms after consuming MSG containing food are as follows: a headache and numbness in the back of the neck, which can radiate down the arms and back, mild to severe headaches, tightness in the chest, pressure around the cheeks or jaw, mild mood changes, weakness, tingling, burning sensations, heart palpitations, or vivid and bizarre dreams, asthma-like symptoms etc, the list goes on and on.

Now that I have reached the end of my knowledge sharing session regarding Lay’s ingredients, I am left with the task of concluding – so is Lay’s good or bad or ok ok. If you have read this post till now, I think you would be in a better position to provide a suitable conclusion/ opinion on this topic.

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