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Everybody has their own food vice – the snack they run to when in the mood for something fast, delicious and gratifying. Whether it be ice cream, chocolate, candy or soda, we all have a favorite edible friend.
But the friend who hurts us the most? It’s the potato chip. That golden, thinly sliced, delectably flavored, salty package of heaven apparently calls to us like no other rubbishy goodness we know! One of the main reasons is that eating one or two is nearly impossible – we have a tendency to dip into the bag over and over. While we can place a scoop or two of ice cream into a bowl and put the container back in the freezer, or open just one soda pop can, we don’t seem to be able to do the same thing with the chip bag. And by the time we’re halfway through we think, “oh well, may as well polish them off!”
The carb and salt drenched food has the addictive qualities spoken about in many unhealthy foods and they are available in seconds. No plates or preparation needed: just open the bag, relax by the TV and before we know it, we’re scraping the end of the bag and licking our fingers (you know you do!)
Harvard researchers studied a large group of health professionals over a long period of time – none of them starting the study as obese. Over a 20-year period, more than 120,000 people were analyzed every four years for their weight gain and their diet, to see where the triggers of weight gain lay. Food was the worst offender and within the food group, the potato chip was the worst culprit in terms of weight gain (an overall four pounds).
Other factors like alcohol use, lack of exercise or a sedentary lifestyle came in with fewer pounds and soda came in at an overall one pound gain. The only factor that beat out chips was a five pound gain for smokers who had recently quit although it’s possible for that to even out once the addiction is under control. Desserts and sweet foods only added about .4 of a pound! It seems that the potato (and in it's many forms like French fries) are the undoing of most people.