Christopher Pratt (cpratt) wrote,
Christopher Pratt


First off, I'm running on memory here. I don't have the actual magazine handy, but my memory's pretty good.

Dan, at some point, bought a copy of magazine that was I think called New Scientist. It appeared to be an Australian publication.

Buried in this magazine was an article whose lede suggested that fast food chain chips were far worse for you than indy chip shop chips. Sound familiar?

The first paragraph basically slammed Macca's et al for providing a poor value for money product that was far worse for you than the chips you'd buy elsewhere. But... guess what? If you bothered to carefully read the rest of the article and think about it, the story turns out to be slightly different.

First of all, the authorial bias was evident in the loaded language used to describe the fat content of chain vs indy chips. Indy chips have "somewhat more than 11g of fat", whereas chain chips have "nearly 13g of fat". What this tells me is that the actual fat content is probably something like 11.25g vs 12.75 g, or a difference of 1.5g of fat. This is of course a SWAG, or a Scientific Wild Ass Guess. That's not a huge difference, so what's with terms like "somewhat more" and "nearly"? That's right, the author just wants to hammer home the point that indy chips are less bad for you.

Now, moving on, we see that the study showed that chain chips typically have fat contents in a narrow distribution range, which I'd attribute to a unified product cooked in basically the same way wherever you buy it. However, indy chips showed a wide range of fat content, from about 9g to 16g. So, you can't really know how much fat is in indy chips without sending them off to a lab.

So what have we learned so far? Indy chips may have slightly less fat than chain chips. If you believe the authors and the urban myths, this means that they're good for you unlike those horrible chain chips that are bad for you.

But wait - there's more!

The whole 'poor value for money' argument stems from the fact that although your average order of chips costs about the same regardless of where you bought it, you will get almost three times as many chips for your money at an indy shop. So, wouldn't it be more accurate to argue that chain chips are better for you because you only get one third as many in an order?

Let's say that a McDonald's order has 80g and a fish 'n chips shop order has 240g. (These numbers are, I believe, used elsewhere in that article).


McDonalds: 10.2g
Indy shop: 27g

So... wouldn't you agree that indy shop chips are really far worse for you because you get so much more in an order?

  • It's July 2013.

    Remember when I wrote a lot on LiveJournal? Yeah, me neither.

  • Steve

    I'm not surprised by Jobs' death, and of course my inner cynic wants to blame homeopathy or whatever the hell it was he was into; an anecdote that…

  • Wein Keller

    It took ten days to clear Canadian customs and make it to San Diego, but Dan just installed the replacement thermostat for our crappy wine cabinet…

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded