Lay’s (some may know it as Frito-Lay) is a famous potato chip brand known for its crispiness and rich potato flavor. The brand has other names as well. It’s called Walkers in UK and Ireland, Smith’s in Australia, Chitato Lite in Indonesia, and Hostess in Canada.
Although Lay’s claims to be healthy, many are concerned about how true that is. Rumors about its salt content, fried nature, and others have circulated often.
Are you also wondering whether Lay’s is healthy?
If yes, you’ll find the answer here.
Let’s start by going through the nutrient composition of Lay’s Classic Original.
From the table, we can see that all nutrients in Lay’s are within the recommended daily limits. So, rumors that it has high fats and salts aren’t true.
In fact, Lay’s only contributes to 13% of the total fat a person can have in a day. That leaves enough room for more food with fat. Similarly, a bag of Lay’s contributes only a little amount of salt — 7% of the daily limit.
But it can't be called healthy - because of acrylamide generation.
Lay’s Has Acrylamide — a Cancerous Compound
Note: Acrylamide is found not only in Lay’s but also in other potato chips, cakes, french fries, and all fried or baked or roasted food.
Acrylamide is a carcinogen that’s a byproduct of cooking plant-based foods, like potatoes and cereals, at high temperatures and low moisture conditions. The compounds asparagine and reducing sugars (both abundant in potatoes) react when potatoes are cooked at temperatures above 120 degrees celsius. Therefore, it’s an unavoidable product of cooking potatoes.
Also, since the carcinogenic nature of acrylamide was discovered by conducting tests on mice in high doses, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) hasn’t been able to deduce a limit for the compound.
Also, acrylamide can be formed in food because of the raw products, processing, or ingredients. That’s why it’s challenging to prevent its formation. Fortunately, it can be controlled.
The FDA developed several industrial guidelines for the manufacturers to mitigate acrylamide generation.
The guidelines include everything from the selection of raw materials to packaging. For more information regarding the guidelines, click here.
On the other hand, EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) has released acrylamide limits for different food. According to them, the amount of the compound shouldn’t exceed 750 μg per kg. Besides setting a limit, the organization has also given industries a few guidelines to reduce acrylamide formation in their products.
How much acrylamide does Lay’s have?
The last test the FDA conducted was in 2015. Here’s the list of acrylamide levels they obtained:
As per the test, the Lay’s Classic Potato Chips has 1410 ppb acrylamide, i.e., 1440 μg per kg — which is almost twice the limit prescribed by the EFSA.
You should also remember that Lay’s probably isn’t the only food that you have with acrylamide. The amount of acrylamide you consume in a day can plummet if you have bread, cake, or other plant-based food product.
But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have Lay’s.
The test on Lay’s was conducted in 2015, and the brand could have taken several measures to reduce the compound quantity in its product. However, we can’t assure that until more tests are conducted.