I just got a great news release. Not more than two weeks after The New York Times published a story on the science behind the junk food that's poisoning us, Lay's has announced a new line of potato chips with 50 percent less sodium and the same great taste.
The release offered to send me some chips for free, but I declined the offer. I was hungry that instant and decided to zip over to my local Kroger grocery store and get some myself. After I passed this aisle with a section devoted to entirely to diabetic friendly foods -- not that diabetes has anything to do with this blog post -- I was temporarily disappointed to find that the low-sodium chips were not yet available.
No worries, though. That same release noted that "Lay's® Wavy Original potato chips have a moderate amount of sodium -- 140 mg of sodium per 1-oz serving."
How wholesome! The release even compared 140 mg of sodium with the amount found in a single slice of white bread. Who knew a single slice of white bread had the same level of sodium as an entire serving of regular Lay's potato chips? No wonder so many people have high blood pressure -- not that high blood pressure has anything to do with any of this, either.
Next I bought a container of Heluva Good French Onion Sour Cream Dip, because who the hell wants to eat chips without dip. And then I bought some beer because, you know, research.
At home I weighed out a 1-ounce serving of chips. They look like this.
Not bad, right? Plenty, even.
Next I put them in a bowl to provide context because nobody eats potato chips off the top of a kitchen scale. In a bowl, an ounce of potato chips looks like this.
Kind of dismal, huh?
Finally I poured all of the chips into the bowl, because that's how most of us eat potato chips. We don't pull out kitchen scales when snacking, we open the bag and get nuts, which is precisely what I've been doing the entire time I've been writing this blog post.
When I finished blogging and snacking (it took me about 30 minutes to put together my first draft) I went back to my kitchen scale to tally the damage.
There were 6 3/8 ounces left in the bag, which means in a half-hour or so I'd eaten 4 1/8 ounces of Lay's Wavy Original potato chips. I weighed the remaining dip after taring out the weight of the container to find out that I'd also consumed 4 3/4 ounces of sour cream dip. The beer? It disappeared completely a long time ago.
According to the nutritional information on the packaging of these products, while mindlessly snacking and typing up this post, I consumed the following:
Chips assuming 4.2 servings: Calories, 660; Fat, 41.2g; Saturated fat, 6.1g; sodium, 577mg.
Dip assuming 4.3 servings: Calories, 217; Fat, 19.5g; Saturated fat, 13g, sodium, 696 mg
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Don't forget the beer. I figure most people wash their snacks down with soda, but I don't like that much sugar. My beer added another 146 calories and only 11mg of sodium, which at this point sounds like health food. Of course, I limited myself to one serving, which is easier to do when they're packaged that way.
I'm glad I stopped eating halfway through this post. In a matter of minutes I've added 1,023 calories, 60.7g of fat (of which 29.1g were saturated) and 1,284 mg of sodium to my diet. And that was after I ate lunch.
In case you think I'm a glutton, and that you'd never do something like this in your own home, I put everything back into its original container to see what it would look like after some real world snacking.
There's still plenty left.