Since its inception in 1938, Lay’s has become one of the most popular chip brands in the world. The company’s tagline “Betcha can’t eat just one” has become a reality for many people who find it hard to resist the chips’ addictive taste.
It is available in a wide variety of flavours and is loved by people of all ages.
But is lays good for your health?
Most people think of lays as a healthy snack alternative. After all, it is made from potatoes, a natural source of nutrients.
However, the truth is that lays are not as healthy as you might think. From being high in calories and sodium to being loaded with unhealthy ingredients such as maltodextrin and flavour enhancers, there are many reasons that make lays extremely bad for your health.
After analyzing the nutritional value and ingredients of most common lays flavours, I have compiled a list of reasons that shows lays is not good for your health.
Here are those reasons.
7 Reasons lays is not good for your health
It is highly processed
The first and foremost reason that makes lays bad for your health is that it’s processed.
It is made from potatoes that have been deep fried in vegetable oil.
As per studies, high consumption of processed foods has been associated with increased mortality, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, overweight and obesity, depression, cancer, and asthma.
Now, some may think that lays fried in vegetable oils such as palmolein, so how can they be bad for the health?
Well, It is important to understand that all edible oils are processed foods. These oils might be extracted from a natural source, but they are processed to such a level that they become devoid of any nutrition.
In addition, the calories from oil are empty calories with very low macronutrients and zero fiber.
This combination of potatoes and oils in lays can lead to many health issues such as obesity, disease, and premature aging.
High in calories
Every flavour of lays, whether it is your favorite classic salt or India’s magic masala, is high in calories.
For instance, A single 100g serving(easily edible) provides about 537 calories. This is about 25% of your daily needed calories based on 2000 calorie diet.
If you have weight loss goals, this might be a big number of calories in your diet, and that too without any significant nutrients.
Research has shown that excess consumption of calories shorten lifespan, due to speed up of the aging process.
Additionally, including foods(especially processed) that are high in calories leads to excess fat in the body, resulting in overweight or obesity.
Risk of high blood pressure
One of the biggest concerns about lays chips is the amount of sodium they contain.
A 100g serving of lays chips can contain upto 993mg of sodium. That’s about 43% of the recommended daily intake of sodium.
Most of us get enough sodium from our regular diet, but high-sodium foods add extra sodium.
As per research, a high sodium intake has a detrimental effect on the body, such as hypertension and high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease.
Additionally, you may have noticed that after eating lays, some people have a thirst for water. It might also be possible with you.
But do you know why that is?
That’s because of the high amount of sodium in chips. Sodium causes water retention, which in turn increases thirst in your body.
It may contain acrylamide
Acrylamide is a genotoxic substance that naturally occurs in potatoes when fried or baked at high temperatures.
While many foods contain this carcinogenic substance, they are relatively found in higher levels in foods like french fries, potato chips, cookies, and breakfast cereals.
I am not implying that this is definitely present in your packet of lays chips, but because it occurs naturally, it may be. However, the company will not include it in the ingredients list or as a warning because it is not added from their side.
As per studies, exposure to acrylamide can damage DNA and potentially increase the risk of several types of cancer. However, many studies showing the cancer link are based on animals.
The studies on humans are limited and inconclusive(atleast as of now).
Nevertheless, limiting your intake of highly fried or baked chips is a good practice.
Risk of cavities
You might have realized while eating lays chips that they stick to the teeth. At least, this was the case for me at one point.
When I looked online for an explanation, I found that it was because of the starch.
While sugar is the main culprit behind cavities, sometimes it can also be caused by the consumption of food containing high starch.
Potato chips like lays are high in hydrolyzed starch, which sticks to the teeth and lowers the pH levels of tissue, providing an environment conducive to bacterial growth and cavities.
Use of unhealthy ingredients
While analyzing the ingredients of the different flavours of the lays chips, I found some ingredients that shouldn’t be there as they pose health risks to people.
These ingredients include maltodextrin and flavour enhancers (627, 631).
As per research, maltodextrin is a highly processed ingredient with a high glycemic index. Consumption of it, especially for diabetes, can spike blood sugar levels, which may result in some serious complications.
Also, some research suggests that maltodextrin may reduce the number of good bacteria and increase the harmful bacteria in your gut.
On the other hand, while flavour enhancers like Disodium Guanylate (INS 627) and Disodium inosinate (INS 631) are deemed safe by food authorities, they pose a risk of various health issues like vomiting, nausea, headache, and lack of sensation.
Also, if you are asthmatic, pregnant, or lactating, you should avoid these flavour enhancers in your diet.
It is addictive
The reason why you cannot resist Lay’s potato chips is that they are addictive.
But why are they addictive? This is because they contain salt, which is considered addictive, like cigarettes and drugs.
Studies have shown that eating salt triggers certain brain receptors that create a sense of pleasure. And over time, this pleasure can turn into an addiction.
Furthermore, the combination of salt and flavour enhancers with the crunchy sound makes Lay’s even more addictive, so you eat more than you should.
This is why Lay’s has the tagline “Betcha can’t eat just one.”
After reading this post, some of you may limit the consumption of lays while some may not. That’s all upto you.
Through this post, I wanted to convey that lays are not good for your health as they are processed, high in calories and sodium, and addictive.
However, you can eat crunch on them only in moderation if you want.
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Meanwhile, here are a few other blog posts that might help you eat healthier.