imyeyes-banner-sqIn My EyesBy Edward B. Antonio

No healthy chips after all

At the height of my career as a school paper adviser, I, together with my press conference contestants, used to travel to distant places where the competitions were held. These travels have brought me to many parts of the country, most notable places are Ilocos Norte, La Union, Pangasinan, Sarangani, Mactan, Boracay, Aklan, South and North Cotabato and the cities of Manila, Tacloban, Cebu, Pagadian, Davao, Ozamis, Ormoc and Zamboanga to name some.

The longest travel by land was when we competed in Tacloban City taking us almost 22 hours from Ilocos Sur via Partas and later via Victoria Liner in Cubao, Quezon City. While people would take the airplane for faster travel, adventurous people like me preferred land transpo as it would personally bring us to places we have not been to. Via ship was also a favorite as sometimes, there are docking ports serving as stop overs where we would gallivant for 4 hours. But travel then was by division and only when I have companions who liked to travel with me by land would I dare to go by bus, much to the disappointment of my presscon contestants who have not experienced riding on an airplane or super ferry.

All along those years, I kept my hunger at bay by eating my favorite snack — banana chips. I always believed that banana chips are a healthy snack for all occasions until I became somewhat obese.

My research tells me that, unlike bananas, banana chips are highly processed. They’re commonly fried in oil and cooked with ingredients like honey or syrup that contribute significant calories, sugar, and fat.

A 1-cup (72 grams) serving of banana chips provides calories: 374, protein: 1.6 grams, carbs: 42 grams, fiber: 5.5 grams, sugar: 25 grams, total fat: 24 grams, saturated fat: 21 grams, potassium: 8% of the daily value (dv) and Vitamin B6: 11% of the daily value.

Although this snack boasts fiber and a few vitamins and minerals, these benefits are quickly offset by the fat, calorie, and sugar content. One thing more is since banana chips are dehydrated and fried, they’re highly palatable and easy to overeat.

Do banana chips have any benefits?

Banana chips may be a convenient snack on occasion.

Since banana chips are light, easy to pack, and a quick source of calories and simple carbs, they’re an excellent option when you’re on the go, hiking, or refueling after rigorous exercise. What’s more, because they’re dehydrated, they have a much longer shelf life than fresh bananas. You also don’t have to worry about bruising or damage, which is advantageous for outdoor trips.

But are they healthy?

Banana chips are high in fat. Banana chips are usually fried in oil to give them a crunchy texture. Manufacturers tend to use coconut or sunflower oil but may utilize any frying oil. A single cup (72 grams) of banana chips packs 24 grams of fat, 21 of which are saturated. A diet high in saturated fats from processed foods is linked to a higher risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease. Saturated fats increase the body’s cholesterol level and may lead to cholesterol plaque which can trigger heart or brain stroke.

Additionally, the high fat content of banana chips adds a lot of extra calories. For example, the same serving of banana chips contains over 250% more calories than a medium banana. Extra calories leads to obesity. Obesity is a key factor in many diseases such as high blood, arthritis, heart disease and even cancer.

Banana chips are also high in sugar content. Some banana chips are coated in syrup or honey, significantly adding to their sugar content. One cup (72 grams) of banana chips contains 25 grams of sugar, which includes 10.5 grams of added sugar, compared with 14.5 grams of natural sugar in a medium (118-gram) banana.

And what’s in sugar, fellas?

Too much sugar causes diabetes and lately, it is associated with cancer. Sugar causes obesity and a lot of illnesses. It destroys the teeth. The sugar in softdrinks is potentially very dangerous to the health as it is mixed with acid, caffeine and other chemicals.

Most of all, banana chips sold at the department stores are very expensive. One medium sized pack costs P60 while the bigger ones are sold at P80 to P100.

Is the raw banana fruit better than its chip version?

The answer is yes, fellas.

 Raw bananas only have 105 calories, .4 grams of fat, .1 saturated fat, 27 grams carbs and 14.5 sugar. Banana chips are much higher in calories, total fat, saturated fat, and sugar than either potato or vegetable chips. While these chips are lighter and less filling than banana chips, meaning that you’re likely to eat more in one sitting, you would need to eat a very large serving to equal banana chips’ saturated fat and sugar content.

Raw bananas are rich in fiber. They really are the fiber-rich miracle food which can be great for diabetics. They help in maintaining blood sugar and also help in keeping the heart healthy.

Raw bananas comprise most essential vitamins and minerals. They are specifically rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin B6. Vitamin C is an essential mineral for healthy skin and hair. Vitamin C gives a boost to immune system and contains antioxidants which protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin B6 on the other hand is responsible for converting food into energy. It is good for heart health and improves brain function.

They help in maintaining blood sugar and also help in keeping the heart healthy.

When my sister was confined to the hospital for UTI (Urinary Tract Infection), he advised her to eat at least one raw banana a day.

“No need to heed the adage ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ It should be ‘A banana a day keeps the doctor away,’” he said.

We nodded in agreement.

“But not the banana chip,” he said. “But you can have it in moderation.”

A healthy life is what we crave for to live long, fellas.

It always pays to mark the things we read.