Illustration by Aamnah Arshad
Illustration by Aamnah Arshad

Chips may seem like a harmless snack that we can eat frequently at any time of the day, but what if I tell you it’s an utterly unhealthy snack? Yes, these tempting crispy potatoes go through various processes on different machines and come out as a crunchy and flavourful treat that make you want to eat more and more.

These irresistible chips come in many shapes like wrinkled, twisted or plain. They have many flavours and are very salty. Research shows that eating too much salt triggers dopamine in our brain, which is a chemical that makes us feel pleasure.

Here is the fascinating part: taste and smell are not the only factors that make us want to eat certain foods, the sound a food makes is also important. The sound of food, even just remembering sounds like the crunchy bite of apples, popcorn, chips or any food, can be tempting. It can cause the release of dopamine in the brain. When dopamine levels increase, we crave our favourite snacks like chips, among other things. These factors are used on purpose in making chips, so you will desire to eat more and more of them.

But kids, beware, because these snacks are very unhealthy. Why? As I mentioned earlier, chips contain a high level of salt, which is sodium; excessive sodium intake is very unhealthy for the body. While you may not often feel the negative effects when you’re young, but, with age, excessive sodium intake can elevate blood pressure and increase the risk of heart diseases.

Another significant reason to avoid chips is that they are deep-fried in oil, which increases the content of mainly unsaturated fats. While this fat provides instant energy, it lacks essential nutrients, leading to weight gain. Moreover, chips can contribute to depression and reduce brain activity by approximately 25% due to their high concentrations of trans fats.

The most concerning aspect is that consuming even a handful of chips raises the level of a toxic chemical in our bodies called acrylamide, which mainly targets the nervous system and reproductive system. Nervous system effects such as muscle weakness, numbness in hands and feet, sweating, unsteadiness, etc.

So kids, don’t you think this is quite a risky snack that you consume almost every day?

In my opinion, it’s okay to enjoy chips occasionally, but it’s equally important to be cautious and opt for healthier alternatives, such as baked vegetable chips or those with reduced salt content. Or ask your mum to make you a snack that you love the most or have fresh fruits. Remember having something made at home, even deep fried, is way better than having something from the market. And if you really want to have chips, don’t make it a habit. It’s crucial to prioritise your health by choosing healthier snack options.

Published in Dawn, Young World, June 1st, 2024

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