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SunChips and Dreamfields Pasta: Are the Marketing Claims Really True?

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The Diet Detective investigates SunChips and Dreamfields Pasta. Find out if their health claims are true or too good to be true.

SunChips

Claims: That these chips will help your heart. In fact, the advertisement reads: "Your heart does a lot for you. Shouldn't you return the favor?" SunChip manufacturer Frito-Lay also claims that "Regular potato chips have 10 grams fat per 1-ounce serving. SunChips snacks have 6 grams fat per 1-ounce serving." Additionally, "One serving of SunChips snacks has less sodium than one serving of microwaveable popcorn."

Ingredients: Whole corn, sunflower oil, whole wheat, rice flour, whole oat flour, sugar, and salt.

Nutrition Information: (1 ounce, 16 chips) 140 calories, 6g fat (1g saturated, 2g poly, 3.5g mono), 120mg sodium, 18g carbs, 2g fiber, 2g protein.

Facts: Three types of whole grains and a heart-healthy oil make these one of the healthier chip choices. The sodium is low at only 5 percent of the recommended daily value. Each serving has 18 grams of whole grains, which is more than a third of the 48 grams recommended daily, says Elisa Zied, MS, RD, author of Feed Your Family Right (Wiley, 2007). And they are made with mid-oleic sunflower oil, which is high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids and has less than 10 percent saturated fatty acids. So, yes, compared with regular potato chips, SunChips are a better choice.

Fiction: Although they contain healthy ingredients, they are still chips, so don't let that be a green light to overeat them. They still aren't as low in calories or as high in nutrition as a side of fruits or veggies with your midday sandwich.

Concerns: Yes, adults need 20 to 40 grams of fiber daily. And yes, SunChips do provide 2 of those grams of fiber per 140-calorie/1-ounce serving. However, there are much better ways to get that fiber. "Additionally, providing 18 grams of whole grain in a 1-ounce serving (28 to 32 grams) means that the product is just a little over 60 percent whole grain," says Dr. Mary Ann Johnson, a spokesperson for the American Society for Nutrition and professor of nutrition at the University of Georgia. At 10 calories per chip, you can easily crunch away hundreds of calories, says Zied. There are better ways to get whole grains, such as oatmeal or 100 percent whole-grain cereals without added sugars or salt, adds Johnson.

The Bottom Line: These are chips -- it's not like eating broccoli. That said, these are a moderately better choice than other chips.

Next:  Dreamfields Pasta

 

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