Monday, April 16, 2007

Nutrition Facts II: The Potato Chip Story

So, I haven't completely figured out yet what determines whether or not a food product needs the official "Nutrition Facts" label on it. However, I can talk about the importance of paying close attention to said label when it does exist.

Let's use a bag of deli potato chips as an example to illustrate two key points:
1) Always read the Nutrition Facts label; never assume what may or may not be in it
2) Always be sure you understand the serving size

Route 11 Potato Chips will be my example, today. They are a tasty brand of potato chips, typically sold in small bags at deli counters.

So ... my friend and I went over to Perfect Pita to get a sandwich and some chips. I grabbed a bag of Salt & Vinegar chips, but she noted that she was trying to eat less salt, so instead snatched up a bag of Garlic & Herb. On the surface, doesn't it seem like the one with more salt would be the one with salt in the name? Au Contraire.

Lesson #1: Read the Nutrition Facts.
A serving of S&V has 95 mg of sodium; a serving of G&H has 220 mg. Yes, over twice as much sodium. Wow.

Lesson #2: Serving Size sometimes seems sneaky.
Even though these chip bags are sold at delis and lunch counters, each bag is two servings. So if she had eaten the whole bag of Garlic & Herb chips, as most lunchers are apt to do, she'd get 440 mg of salt out of her daily recommended intake of 2000 mg ... just from one bag of chips.

The Moral of the Potato Chip Story:
Sometimes, it is worthwhile to slowdown and take a second look at the Facts, so you can make an informed decision.

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