Junk Food Science

Lay's Changing Basic Shape of Salt Crystals for Healthier Potato Chips
The salt crystals on potato chips only dissolve about 20 percent of the way on the tongue, while the center of each tiny cube-shaped crystal remains intact until after it's swallowed. Thus, most of the salt you're eating on your chips is not contributing to the taste of the chip, but it is dissolving further down your digestive tract and causing whatever the FDA alleges that increased dietary sodium intake causes.

The redesigned salt crystal, with more surface area, should dissolve completely on the tongue, thus theoretically allowing each chip to taste just as salty with only 20 percent as much salt.

"There was an opportunity for our scientists," Pepsico's chief scientific officer Mehmood Khan said. "If we could figure out a way of getting the salt crystals to dissolve faster, then we could decrease the amount of salt we put on a snack with no compromise on taste."

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11 Responses:

  1. 7ghent says:

    From the comments:

    Ummmmm No need to reinvent the wheel here. Just use sea salt for a healthier alternative to regular table salt. Sea salt is water soluble and will pass right through your system.
    Mother nature has already solved the problem for healthier salt.
    Next!

    There are just no words.

    • freontrip says:

      I'm particularly alarmed that the poster identifies themselves as 25th Scientist...

      Back to the topic at hand: couldn't this allegedly profound reshaping of salt crystals be accomplished by nothing more than finely grinding the salt and evenly distributing a thin film of it across the entire chip? It would dissolve faster, owing to the greater exposed surface area, and reduce wasted salt in the process. Is there something I'm missing?

    • lafinjack says:

      Do you know if they butchered an actual property of sea salt, or is it something that's completely made up? I'm at a loss.

      • 7ghent says:

        As far as I can tell, they're completely talking out of their ass. Water soluble? I have no idea why they would think that table salt is not water soluble or how this property would allow it to "pass right through your system."

        • wisn says:

          I suppose horse pill-sized chunks of salt won't fully dissolve before they reach your colon. You might feel a little ill before it gets that far, though.

  2. curlyeric says:

    This is neat, but I question the intent. FDA is asking companies to reduce their sodium content despite the fact that the vast majority of Americans have no ill effect from the extra sodium. This "new tech" will be used to make all sorts of junk food "healthy" for this latest push. The fact of the matter is until we reduce the sedentary lifestyle of most Americans playing with sodium will have little impact on total preventable deaths in this country.

    • reesesx says:

      Replace the NaCl with NaCN and things will take care of themselves. It may actually be statistically healthier, given that it will reduce deaths from heart disease. And cancer. And drunk driving.

      Email me for the address where you should send my Nobel Prizes in peace and medicine.

    • strspn says:

      Actually, salt is really bad for about a third of people in industrialized countries. High blood pressure is very common, and leads to about half of all strokes and heart disease. And in the past decade table salt has been identified as a major cause of osteoporosis because sodium somehow mobilizes large amounts of calcium as well as magnesium.

      Then again, anyone who lowers their risk of stroke and heart disease increases the probability that they will die a lengthy cancer death instead of those shorter, considerably less painful ways to go.

  3. pyrop says:

    Arrrrgh bad science reporting. I would bet money that all they're doing is using smaller salt crystals. (A given mass of smaller particles has a higher total surface area than the same mass of larger particles.)

  4. They could just start using Maldon salt...