‘Chips’ is a ubiquitous side dish. With its varieties galore, it would be simply difficult to control the taste buds in our tongue when offered. Right from petty shop to provision stores and even office canteen, the chips would be available in multifarious types. Normally, what is so dear to our tongue would be seriously dangerous to our health and so also the chips.
Despite passage of time, the mass attraction for the chips is yet to fade away. There are so many varieties of chips such as elephant yam, potato, colocasia, tapioca, sweet plantain, bitter gourd and plantain. However, potato chips alone rule the roost till now. Potato chips are available in all kinds of shops and hotels for general consumption. As already mentioned, the chips are highly harmful to one’s health according medical experts. Chips are used not only as a substitute for vegetables but also as a core side dish by many. Similarly, bachelors, married couples and children liberally use the chips.
Nutritional expert Ms.Karpagam opines that in general, the oil-fried items will create unfavourable effects on our health. Taste is the element which is responsible for attracting us to consume more of the oil-fried dishes. Moreover, the elements like carbohydrates, fat and sodium which are rich in the chips enslave us beyond limits. Obviously, those who want to have good health without any problems should necessarily consume less of these items.
How are the chips prepared and what are the effects?:-
Right from the beginning, the chips are prepared in an unhygienic way. For example, the potato or yam or plantain that will be selected for making chips will be almost in a rotten stage. Of all the other items meant for chips, the potato will cause more and greater harm to our health. Secondly, wherever the chips are prepared, only the used oil will be re-used for frying.
When the oil is re-used, again and again, it will convert the fats in the oil to trans-fat which is rather harmful for our health. This trans-fat will increase the bad cholesterol in our blood which will cause blocks in the heart, paralysis etc. The supporters of the chips may think that the level of trans-fat is clearly mentioned in the branded chips by the companies. However, the truth of this is always questionable in reality.
Thirdly, the salty substance in the chips will keep on attracting those who consume the chips. Excessive salt in the body will cause blood pressure, bone-related issues, kidney-related problems etc. Similarly, carbohydrates are more in these chips which would also tempt a person to eat more. This is more particularly in the potato chips. Hence, those who may eat more of chips as a stress buster must also be careful.
Fourthly, the count of calories in the chips is abnormally high which is hence equally harmful for our health. If a person eats two handful of chips will have to walk additional 10,000 steps in order to burn the additional calories in the body.
It would be better and wiser if the eatables like bhajji, bonda and chips are prepared at home and offered to the children once a week. Instead, if chips are packed along with lunch as side dish and sent to school, it would be meaningless. The solution to this problem lies with parents first. Parents need to inculcate good eating habits in the minds of the children.
Similarly, branded items promoted by the corporates will certainly have more than 100 calories which, if eaten, will cause heart ailment, high blood pressure, obesity etc. Eating chips of any make must be curbed for both elders and children for the sake of good health. Additionally, those who take chips along with dinner in the night must necessarily brush their teeth; else, it will create gum-related issues in future.
Dr.Karpagam opines that it would be healthier if any vegetables for that matter are boiled and cooked instead of oil-fried. Moreover, healthy snacks like Rava laddu, sesame jaggery balls and black gram laddu including fruits can be given to the growing children. Elders should ideally give up eating chips frequently because it would cause sleeplessness also.
Dr.Karpagam finally concludes that home-made eatables are preferable and that too, the consumption should be once a week or so only. Needless to add that prevention is better than cure.
(This article written in Tamil by J Nivedha has been transcreated in English by P.S.Ramamurthy)