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Claire Turnbull's Healthy Tips - 7 June

TOPIC: Making a healthy choice when it comes to chips..?

Chips or crisps they are a common staple in the pantry of many house hold and always seem to make an appearance at parties and social events! Its probably hard to find someone whos not partial to the humble potato chip but can you make a healthier choice then it comes to chips? Healthy Food Guide Nutritionist Claire Turnbull is here to help us decide.....

1. Is it ok to eat potato chips?

There are some foods we should be eating lots of every day (hopefully things like fruit and vegetables spring to mind) and then there are the foods that we really should not eat every day, or even every other day. Potato chips and the like fall into the latter category.

They are what we call 'occasional foods'. Often these occasional foods are high in fat and/or sugar and/or salt. These foods are often high in kilojoules, with little in the way of nutrients to redeem them.

Having put them in context, lets admit that many of us love these foods and we are going to have them occasionally. So today, I want to help you pick the better choices from the bunch?

2. What do you need to consider when you are looking at chips?

- Total Fat content fat is high in KJ and too many KJ can lead to weight gain

- Saturated fat content anything less than 5% starts to look like a better choice as saturated fat can harden your arties and lead you to an early grave!

- Salt if you have been asked to reduce your salt intake most chips will need to be avoided. For good health aim is to limit to less than 1600mg/day not a lot! Check the per 100g on the table!

- Portion size

3. Lets talk through some of these examples you have brought to show us how do the good old bluebird chips stack up?

Standard chips bring 2 examples show that about 33% fat, and the type of fat isnt good for the health. Notes ETA slims just thin cut, still 1/3 fat.

4. What about these ones which talk about the type of fat they have in them?

- There are those which are still 33% fat made with a healthier TYPE of fat, but KJ content is the same as standard potato chips so for health better, for weight no difference therefore, dont have more!

- Explain 85% less saturated fat, cholesterol free

5. What about these 'lite' versions and healthier looking options?

Pringles light, Grain Waves, Pataks Pappadum snacks middle of the road option, slightly lower in fat check the type of fat

- Health plus chips better choice, 25% fat, but thats still ¼ packet doesnt mean eat in unlimited amounts

- Explain: Natural, cholesterol free etc

6. What about chips not made from potatoes the bagel and pita ones? They must be heaps better?

Vegi Chips, Bagel chips, pita chips lower in fat but still high in KJ, so doesnt mean you eat more!

7. What is a healthy portion size?

What you need to remember is that even chips which are made with healthy fats, or that are low in fat are still high in energy. So will all chips, including the healthier versions its still important to consider the portion

45-50g of chips are between: 800-1100kJ. Thats a lot - about the same as what you are likely eating for breakfast.

You can see just how 'energy-dense' those products are when you compare their kilojoules to some other foods:

1 carrot (75g) 55kJ
1 capsicum (75g) 110kJ
1 apple (110g) 200kJ
1 slice heavy multi-grain bread (45g) 400kJ
Muesli bar (30-40g) 450-650kJ
1/2 cup rolled oats (45g) 600kJ
150g pottle low-fat berry yoghurt 600kJ

These other foods will also be more filling for less kilojoules.

Fat has more kilojoules per gram than either carbohydrate or protein, explaining why a lot of these products are so high in energy.