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Low Fat

America’s golden snack years are now over.  Widespread problems with childhood and adult obesity have kicked the food industry in the pants.  There is now a serious demand for snack foods that won’t lead to serious weight problems.  While that’s all well and good, you should be aware of some of the potential problems.

One of the recent and major health pushes was Olestra, the no-fat oil substitute.  It was supposed to reduce the fat in a chip to nearly zero while maintaining the original taste of the product.  The ’no-fat’ claim of Olestra oil is achieved because it is a modified kind of vegetable oil.  The main idea behind Olestra is to alter the chemical structure of the oil so that it cannot be digested.  While that may sound like a good idea, there is more than meets the eye.

Health warnings are abound regarding Olestra, with many public interest groups denouncing its FDA approval.  They claim the following:

  • It depletes blood levels of fat-soluble substances in the body
  • Combining vitamins with olestra-based foods will not solve the nutrient-depletion
  • It causes gastrointestinal problems that can lead to severe diarrhea, explosive episodes on the toilet, and loose bowel movements.
  •  Pure undigested olestra can often leak out of the anus and soil your undergarments

Though the makers of Olestra say that the claims are false, over 20,000 complaints have already been filed.  That’s more than all other food complaints combined!

The safer alternative is to pursue a healthy mix of low fat and low sodium snacks.  Many chipmakers offer reduced sodium chips that have less flavoring and special oil-reducing techniques to remove the oil in a post-processing step.  Less fat and less sodium, with only a slight decrease in taste, can make all the difference you need in your daily life.

Some chipmakers also offered ’baked’ varieties of their popular deep-fried chips.  These are also very healthy in comparison to the standard potato chip.  The most basic thing you can do to check if a chip you’re eating is particularly unhealthy is to feel how much oil wipes off the chip and onto your fingers.  You don’t want to be swimming in the stuff!

You don’t have to give up salty snacks to live a healthy life.  If you focus on eating healthier varieties like the ones mentioned here, and balance your snacking with an active lifestyle, you won’t have anything to worry about!