Reduced-Fat Potato Chips
With reduced-fat chips crowding the snack aisle, we wondered if an acceptable stand-in for fried potato chips existed. We purchased eight national brands and called in 22 test cooks and editors for a blind taste test.
How We Tested
We are not a health food magazine, but at times we like to avoid excess fat. Just 1 ounce of potato chips (about 20 chips) contains 10 grams of fat. With reduced-fat chips crowding the snack aisle, we wondered if an acceptable stand-in for fried potato chips existed. We purchased eight national brands and called in 22 test cooks and editors for a blind taste test. Guess what? We liked best the ones that reduced the fat the least.
Ordinary potato chips are deep-fried in oil. Manufacturers reduce the fat in one of three ways: One method bakes, oils, and salts slices of potato; they contain 3 grams of fat per serving. Another process takes sliced potatoes, quickly fries them, and then removes some of the oil they picked up during frying by steaming and baking. This second style results in 6 to 7 grams of fat per serving. Finally, some reduced-fat chips are made by combining sugar, binders, and leaveners with dehydrated potatoes to form a dough, which is cut into “chips” and baked. These chips have between 1½ and 3 grams of fat per serving.
The chips made using the hybrid fry-then-bake method were the big winners. Two brands fooled us into thinking we were munching on “regular” chips. Another popular brand wasn't far behind. For a modest fat reduction, these three brands make fine choices. As for the processed chips? Run screaming.