Alternative vegetable snacks to potato chips

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Italians continue to munch on ‘




chips




‘ – potato chips, substitutes and similar products – in spite of their poor nutritional profiles

. A healthy and sustainable alternative is offered by crispy bagged vegetables, preferably organic, baked perhaps instead of fried.



‘Chips’


, emblem of malnutrition

The ‘
chips
‘ are one of the few food categories in which palm oil is still widely used, even in Italy. With deteriorating effects on:



– human and environmental rights, since such tropical fat is the leading cause of land grabbing



(land robbery) and




deforestation




on a planetary level,

– Consumer health, due to saturated fat and palmitic acid which palm contains at the rate of 50 percent, unlike other oils (e.g., sunflower, high oleic sunflower), which are devoid of it. (1)




The ranking of the





food-waste




(HFSS,




High in Fats, Sugar and Sodium


) sees potato chips also towering in salt content and energy value, almost unparalleled in the food universe. Grotesque values, totally incompatible with the dietary needs of the population

and especially unchanged, beyond the commitments made by




Big Food




in various contexts to improve the nutritional profiles



of their products.


‘(

No more) chips

, the


snacks


vegetable alternatives



Various




snacks


vegetable, alternative to potato chips, are emerging on the shelf. Hopefully soon in public establishments and vending machines as well. For there to be an alternative, such products must meet some essential requirements:

– ‘
convenience’
. The classic format is the carry-on bag format, requiring neither refrigerated storage nor cooking or heating. The product should lend itself to being placed in vending machines, as well as in forecourts and shelves of public establishments, for ‘on-the-go‘ consumption,

Balanced nutritional profiles. Snacking per se is understood as a ‘fast-breaker,’ as an intermeal snack between meals, perhaps accompanied by a beverage. As such it must be mild, not cause a sudden glycemic reaction or aggravate the diet with unnecessary salt.




Fresh fruits and juices




– as well as ‘




smoothies


‘, when they are lacking-they represent an excellent solution. They hydrate and quench thirst (due to the high amount of water), provide vitamins and fiber that are always beneficial to health. But sometimes they are not enough to satisfy the even psychological need to ‘munch on something’ to ‘break the fast’.


Snacks
Crispy vegetables, what benefits

The
snacks
crunchy vegetable snacks, as of this writing, have all the makings of their own moment of growth. Such products are indeed quite similar to traditional ‘chips‘ in the ‘convenience‘ that is associated with occasional consumption on the go. But they stand out and stand out, compared to ‘chips,’ in several respects:

cooking of vegetables is often done in the oven, without adding fat. The most interesting products are those made by drying processes that leave the structure and aroma of the raw material unaltered, merely removing almost all of the water,

fats. When fatty matrices are added, these are usually sunflower or olive oils (which do not have the problems of palm),

– vegetables different (e.g., Jerusalem artichokes, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, beets, squash, and zucchini), used as an alternative to potatoes, contain starch in often lower amounts. This reduces the risk of acrylamide formation,




– fibers




, offered by these products in appreciable quantities

. Sometimes in addition to vitamins, minerals and other substances (e.g., lycopene and carotenoids, polyphenols) that may qualify some products as true


superfood




,

– food additives, generally absent. The more you respect the nature of plant raw materials, the less you need to alter their flavor (with sodium glutamate, as well as with salt as a rule added to the ‘chips’). Nor is there any need to add preservatives, coloring agents, acidity correctors, of which we can all happily do without.

Beware of salt

Salt

is the element that one must always and in any case pay the utmost attention to, even when choosing such




snacks


. In fact, salt must always be kept under strict control, in snacks as well as meals, as its intake is still excessive-we take twice the threshold recommended by the WHO

– and extremely dangerous



.

Dario Dongo

Notes

(1) Moreover, refined palm oil contains process contaminants, which are carcinogenic and genotoxic, in amounts 6-10 times higher than other refined vegetable oils (while extra virgin olive oil is completely free of them).

Efsa, the European Food Safety Authority, raised the alarm three years ago, but the European Commission and member states have wilfully failed to do their due diligence in dealing with a serious public health risk, that of children in particular. See previous articles on:




Efsa scientific evaluation




3.5.16



,

– ‘
Palm-leaks
‘, Big Food knew the dangers for at least 12 years and accepted them

– ‘
Palm-leaks
‘, the serious omissions of authorities charged with managing food safety risks

 

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.