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Are Potato Chips Ok if They're Made with Olive Oil?

An anxious reader wonders if olive oil or avocado oil potato chips are better than regular potato chips. Nutrition Diva has the (sad but true) answer.

By
Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS,
November 19, 2011

Q. "Potato chips are my weakness, which is why I never ever buy them (OK, I did today, but generally I stay away). Lately, I’ve been seeing companies promoting chips that are cooked in avocado oil or olive oil. It would be so awesome if these were somehow better for me than the plain ones. Are they?"

A. Well, there’s good news and bad news. Olive and avocado oil are relatively low in polyunsaturated fats, which means there’s less chance that they’ll form harmful compounds when heated.  (See also: Best oils for cooking) Both of these oils are high in monounsaturated fats, which are less likely to contribute to heart disease. 

On the other hand, chips fried in olive or avocado oil are just as likely to form acrylamides. (See also: Acrylamide in food: Should you be worried?)

But here’s the real bad news: Frying potato chips in “healthy” oils doesn’t make them any lower in fat, carbs, calories, sodium….or any less addicting.  But don’t feel too bad. We all have our weaknesses. (Mine are Swedish fish.) It’s OK to give into those cravings occasionally...just don’t make a habit of it.

Related content: Junk Food in Disguise

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