Food and Nutrition Awareness - Finding the Good and Bad from Lays Potato Chips
It was about 5 PM when I woke up after taking a quick nap and was wondering what I should do next. After freshening up, I felt that my stomach rumbled - something was wrong! With a sigh of relief, I realised that it was only a pang of hunger that was disturbing me. So, I started my quest to kill this hunger pang with some food and found a pack of Lays Potato Chips (Masala Flavour) in the bedside cabinet's top drawer.
After taking a few bites, I was struck with the idea to have a look at the label to check what I am eating. First, I read the nutrition labeling and its breakdown and followed the ingredient list. As a food technologist, I understand things better than the average common category of people who have not much awareness about packaged foods. This is when I decided to really explore the ingredients of Lays potato chips to share with my fellow Steemians for increasing awareness about packaged foods.
Let's start with the nutrition labeling of Lays and find out what a normal serving is providing us. 100g serving is providing 528 calories that are almost 20% of your daily requirement if you are a young male and 25% of your daily requirement for female. That's cool if you can eat 100g lays, you have fulfilled quarter daily need of your calories. No need to get overexcited because you don't know yet what you are getting from these 100g.
Protein contents are 8.3g while carbohydrates being a major portion of the potato chips is 49g that is almost 50% of the 100g serving. Total fats being provided are 32.4 grams (oh yes ! Ladies watch out). You need to be careful if you are on a weight loss campaign. It was surprising to me as well that it contains 3.2 gram of Fibre that is good actually for the digestive system. Apart from these major nutrients, a small quantity of sodium is also inside this serving.
What's Inside Lays You are Going to Eat
Let's ask yourself one question that how many times have you looked at the ingredients list of any packaged food you are consuming? To be honest, I don't look at nutrition label or ingredients list all the time. I can feel about your answer but if your answer is not 100% then you should make it 100% on any new food item you are going to use. This is the most important thing to be aware of things we are eating.
Enough of this overview I think and we should move on to have a look at the ingredients list of Lays and then break it down into details. I will throw light on some ingredients that are beneficial or concerns for health.
- Palm Oil
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Powder
- Chilli Powder
- Coriander Powder
- Cumin Powder
- Black Pepper
- Tomato Powder
- Sugar & Salt
- Citric Acid
- Paprika Extract (E160c)
- Anticaking agent (E551)
- Flavour Enhancers (E627 and E631)
- Traces of Peanuts
Potato - There is no rocket science in understanding that why potato is used because this is a potato chips. As far as I know, Lays have a field quality team that ensures only good quality potatoes reaches the plant. Then there is full quality control and assurance system at the processing plant that ensures only superior quality raw material is used.
Palm Oil - This is edible oil and used for frying of chips. It should not be rancid and must have low Peroxide Value.
Onion Powder - This is being used as part of Masala Flavour and I would like to throw some light on health benefits associated with onion. According to scientific study, it is associated with lowering of blood pressure and heart attack risk. Quercetin and other antioxidants present in onion are found to be anti-inflammatory and protect the body against free radicals that cause gastric cancer.
Garlic Powder - There are health benefits associated with garlic that includes purification of blood, relief from cold & flu and prevention from heart disease. Garlic has been used to treat bacterial and fungal infections and it is good for your skin and hair as well. Recent studies have shown that antioxidants and bioactive components in garlic have anti-cancer properties.
Chilli Powder - It is used to add intensity to masala flavor. It also has antioxidants and Vitamin C that have health benefits associated with it like boosting immunity and insulin regulation.
Coriander Powder - This is a good addition to ingredients because it has good health benefits that include lowering of cholesterol, preventing skin inflammation and mouth ulcers. It also aids in digestion, regulates blood pressure, improves bone health and has anti-allergic properties.
Cumin Powder - When it comes to health properties associated with cumin, there are lots of them. Scientific studies have shown that cumin helps to prevent diabetes. Cumin has an important role in treating insomnia, asthma, and bronchitis. It is also helpful in fighting against common cold and boost immunity. Recent studies have shown that cumin has the bio-active component that prevents cancer.
Black Pepper - Not only it spice up the taste but also have health benefits associated with it. Weight loss, improved digestion and anti-oxidant properties are few of the benefits associated with black pepper.
Tomato Powder - The idea of adding tomato powder to Lays is no more than giving it a reddish color.
Parsley - It enhances the flavor and also has health benefits like preventing cancer and kidney stones. It also had anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties along with rich antioxidants and flavonoids profile.
Sugar & Salt - Both of these ingredients are added to enhance the taste only.
Citric Acid - It is used as an antioxidant and adds stability to product for enhancing its shelf life. The problem of rancidity in fried foods is coped by citric acid that ultimately gives good tastes for several days after manufacturing.
Paprika Extract (E160c) - This is a food additive and its function is to impart natural color to food products. Its origin is plant-based and it is derived from red pepper (Capsicum annum). If you are Australian then you should notice that it is not permitted in Australia.
Anticaking agent (E551) - This food additive is used to prevent lumps formation in processed foods. This is not suitable for people with kidney or heart problems. Long-term use of E551 may cause urinary problems. So, you must be very careful if you have these problems and not consume Lays regularly.
Flavour Enhancers (E627 and E631) - These are food additives that enhance the flavors but you should be careful about them if you are having asthmatic problems. These are extracted from meat sources like fish and also from yeast, so you should be cautious if you are a pure vegetarian.
Traces of Peanuts - If you note the ingredients list, there is written that it contains traces of peanuts. Now, we don't consider traces normally but when it comes to peanuts, it becomes a special case because few people are allergic to peanuts. Even traces of peanut can make things worse for them.
Having said all about these ingredients and their role, especially additives that are associated with harmful effects, this specific product is being sold heavily. The reason behind its massive use is heavy marketing done by food manufacturing company and Kids will eat what they see. Food Industry has become top emerging business and there is very good scope of profit, so these companies will do anything to mark that concept in your mind about Packaged foods being safe and nutritous. The bad thing is that we are adapting to this modern lifestyle so quickly that natural foods are getting less and less popular.
Well, it started from hunger pang and resulted in the exploration of quite a few things, Isn't it cool ! Lays Potato Chips are quick source of energy as it contains major nutrients. At the same time, Lays (Masala Flavour) contains many herbal powders that have numerous health benefits. Now, don't start taking Lays as some kind of health boosting food because these spices and herbals powders are used in minor quantity but you should know the health benefits associated with these herbs now. So, you can add these to your routine diet to enjoy their health benefits. I am not here advocating the processed foods because we must minimize the use of processed foods because they contain food additives that are not suitable for some people and might pose some health hazard if consumed for long terms.
The main idea is that we should be concerned and look for ingredients list of processed food that we are consuming especially food items for kids. If you like the article and want me to do research on any processed food product, provide its ingredients list mentioned in original pack. Your health is the most valuable than any other thing in the world.