Chips, french fries or papas fritas, whatever you choose to call them, this ubiquitous deep-fried snack has found its way into cuisines all over the world, despite the risks associated with the long-term consumption of such a calorie-rich food. In order to combat this, a Chilean university is hoping to recreate chips without their unhealthy label.
The Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of Santiago (USACH), along with doctor Laura Almendares, have developed a healthy version of chips by mixing grains and tubers. The aim is to reproduce the flavour, colour, smell and texture of deep-fried potatoes using alternative ingredients.
The Foundation for Agrarian Innovation explained that the project took place over a three-year period. The product is created with a base of Chilean potatoes together with a mix of rice and other derivatives.
The main reason this combination is healthier than the traditional potato is because it absorbs less than a third of the oil it is deep fried in, therefore resulting in a lower-calorie food.
“We hope that this new food can be offered as a healthier alternative to chips,” explained Doctor Almendares to the Foundation of Agrarian Innovation. “The idea is that they can open a path into the commercial space as an alternative, and even to replace them in the Chilean diet.”
“Chips are consumed in vast quantities, and the harmful effects of obesity in Chile is a household problem that is affecting more people that we think,” she added. “All the versions of the product created have undergone physical, chemical and microbiological evaluations, to assure us that it is harmless and to check its acceptability in the market. Thanks to this, the product will not have a black stamp.”
The “black label” she refers to is a food labelling mechanism used by the Chilean government to highlight when a food is either high in calories, sugars, sodium or saturated fats.
The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations released a study showing that Chile is the second nation with the highest levels of obesity among the 36 countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The report shows that 34 percent of the population over 15 years of age suffer from obesity, and that only 24.4 percent eat vegetables on a regular basis. FAO statistics also show that Chileans are not fulfilling the recommended consumption of water, fruit, vegetables, milk and fish.
The country has been promoting healthier eating and has even created a Fruit and Vegetable day, but science is also allowing us to indulge in our favourite comfort foods guilt-free.
This article was first published on GeekTime.es, translation and additional reporting by Frances Jenner.