Friday, March 11, 2011

The Not-so-bad “Bad” Food

The other day at lunch, I faced a familiar chip dilemma: sun or potato? Sun Chips have the advantage of a healthier image- they’re whole grainy with a wholesome, outdoorsy name. The amount of fiber in a bag of Sun chips is an impressive 4 grams and the label brags that they have 30% less fat than a bag of potato chips.

But sometimes you just want the potato chips. And if you need to rationalize your choice (other than they taste good) here’s your excuse: potato chips are a good source of potassium. Yes, it’s true. The bag of chips I ate had 520 mg of potassium – that’s more than a banana. Getting a lot of potassium – at least 3500 mg a day – can help lower your blood pressure. And while the chips had twice the calories than the banana, they tasted better than a banana with my sandwich. They were also a good source of vitamin C to boot.

So, the next time you choose the potato chips and feel a bit guilty – just think of all that potassium you’re getting. You can find out more about potatoes and potassium and about the power of potassium on the UAB Nutrition Trends Website: www.uab.edu/nutritiontrends!

Beth Kitchin, MS, RD
Assistant Professor, Nutrition Sciences
University of Alabama at Birmingham

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