Today is National Potato Chip Day: 10 Things You Didn’t Know

1. Potato Chips date back to 1853. An unhappy customer at a restaurant in Saratoga Springs, NY kept returning his fried potatoes to the chef, requesting they be prepared much thinner. The chef sliced them so thin that they could not be eaten with a fork. Thus was born the potato chip.

2. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that potato chips expanded from restaurant food and started selling in bags.

3. Flavored chips were born in the 1950′s by a small independent manufacturer who then sold the concept to the larger corporations.

4. As junk food goes, potato chips contain only 3 ingredients (potatoes, oil, salt) and are considered by some nutritionists the lesser of savory evils.

5. Potato chips sales are over $15B (!!!) a year worldwide. They tally up about one third of all savory snacks.

6. While we call them potato chips, our overseas friends use the word crisps.

7. A single serving of potato chips, 1 ounce, contains only 150 calories, 10 grams of fat and 180mg of salt. That’s less than 10% of the daily calories of most people, about 15% of the fat, and 8% of the maximum sodium intake.

8. Problem is that most people don’t stop at one serving. Honestly, are 11 chips enough for you? People can wolf down 5 times that amount in sitting, dip not included…

9. One of the most popular flavored potato chip varieties is Sour Cream and Onion. Compared to just 3 ingredients in the original version, this one has 20 ingredients including MSG, Palm oil, and artificial colorings.

10. Just in case you were wondering, this national holiday does not appear in congressional records. It’s just another made up holiday by snack food industry marketing geniuses.

What to do at the supermarket:

Potato chips don’t have to be a daily ritual with your lunch sandwich. However, if you do buy them for occasional consumption, choose potato chips that have been minimally processed. Stay with the plain, unflavored chips as they have no additives and colorings. Buy single serve 1 oz. bags of chips so that you won’t be tempted to eat more than one serving at a time.

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  • Lauren

    Imagine, with that volume of consumption if we all demanded organic potatoes/organic chips (highly sprayed crop) the change that would be possible. I think if it were a choice between 11 chips and no chips people would learn to eat 11, another goal worth striving for (portion control).

    • Anonymous

      and definitely MY choice not the food police choice.

    • Anonymous

      and definitely MY choice not the food police choice.

    • Jomiller11

      Organics that are commercially grown are worse for you and the environment than the synthetic counterparts. Unless you know the farmer, and can see he’s not using organic pesticides, stick to synthetics.

  • Mike Lieberman

    Are there any minimally processed brands that you would recommend?

    • Lds4u

      At my house we buy Kettle Chips from Costco (big bag 4.99) potatoes, sunflower oil and sea salt. wish they were organic potatoes. but.. we only eat a little, I allow it in our world.

    • Danny Jameson
  • Danny Jameson

    Check out the Original Saratoga Chips. Simple, only 3 ingredients. Delicious and original.

    They are America’s First Potato Chips.

  • Carol

    FDA portion sizes are for comparing same category foods on an equal weight basis. That said, it’s not a bad idea to look at one ounce of chips in a bowl and get used to what that quantity looks like. You will do yourself a big favor by limiting yourself to these FDA portions for foods that are generally sugar, fat and/or salt delivery vehicles (lacking in much else). I have been doing this with chocolate and many other “treats” (some actually contain a few nutrients worth ingesting) for eons with no weight gain. This, along with moderate exercise, allows me to eat whatever I want (which is a large variety of mostly healthy foods) as long as I use small/reasonable portions. Plus I can buy larger packages and save money and wasteful resources (vs. single-serve packages). If you’re already looking at the nutrition info, you can just as easily make note of the serving size and servings per package. And get yourself a chip-clip to reseal the bag/package.

  • Jim

    There is no evidence that MSG is in any way harmful, and there is very little evidence that food colorings are either. Stick with the calories and trans fats warnings. They are legitimate concerns.

    • Fooducate

      “very little evidence” is enough evidence for parents not to risk their kids’ health. Especially when there is an abundance of natural food colorings.

  • elisabeth

    We like Cape Cod Potato Chips in the 40% reduced fat flavor — only 130 calories and 50 from fat (canola oil) in 1 oz. and only 110 mg of sodium (they also say it’s about 23 chips…). I personally can’t tell the difference between these and “regular” chips.

  • Lisa

    Man, I haven’t had chips in I don’t know how long. I don’t really miss them, though. If I have a craving for something salty and crunchy, some Garden of Eatin’ tortillas and home-made guacamole handle it nicely.

  • Suzanne Sholer

    Surprised you don’t have any info on the acrylamide levels in deep fried chips vs baked chips. Acrylamide is highly carcinogenic and produced when foods, like potatoes, containing sugar and protein are heated past 160C.

    • Jim Cooper

      That is because the amount of acrylamide generated in cooking (frying) is negligibly small and there is no evidence that such small quantities are carcinogenic.

  • bob

    happy potato chip day

  • Overcastda1st

    Good god. Eat at least one thing bad, ya tree huggers. Except boogers.

  • Susan K

    Cape Cod plain chips come in 8-paks of 1oz bags. Even the reduced-fat version is good–100 cals per bag, and all the crunchy salty goodness you need. Small bags = portion control!

  • Lillywhite4081

    Make your own potato chips! Grow or buy organic potatoes. Slice them on a box grater using the large slicer on the side. This makes a good thin slice. Arrange the slices around in a circle,not overlapping much on a piece of parchment paper. This can be used several times and allows you to peel off the paper. Spray lightly with olive oil and place in microwave for about 2 minutes. You may want to use 30 sec intervals after the first minute to get them to desired crispness. Sprinkle with sea salt, let cool and enjoy a wonderful simple snak! You can also use sweet potatoes and sprinkle with cinnamon.You can go to you tube to see demonstrations.

  • Nicole

    Would you say Olive Oil potato chips are a marginally better choice over chips made with other oils?