Wow! Call ’em Whatever You Want, These Chips Blow
Same great taste, same great risk of anal leakage
By Gwyneth Doland
Wow! chips are getting a new look and a new name but don't worry, they still cause the same crippling stomach cramps, explosive diarrhea and embarrassing anal leakage! That's right, this month the familiar bags of Wow! chips are scheduled to be replaced by Lay's Light, Doritos Light, Ruffles Light and the like. According to Frito-Lay, the name change is a marketing strategy they're putting in place because consumers don't associate the Wow! brand name with the reduced calorie benefits of the chips. Hmm, could it be that they associate the chips with anal leakage and fecal urgency?
Remember those dire and horrifying warnings that bags of Wow! chips used to carry? That's how Americans learned about the heretofore unknown phenomenon of anal leakage. The FDA decided in 1993 that the warnings weren't necessary, and the bags no longer carry warnings, but when you show the average person a bag of Wow! chips they invariably say, "Hey, aren't those the anal leakage chips?" You can see why a name change might be attractive to good old Procter and Gamble. P&G is both the owner of Frito-Lay and the manufacturer of Olean, the ingredient responsible for chip snackers' soiled drawers.
Olean, the trademarked name for olestra, is manufactured by bonding oil and sugar molecules together to form giant fake fat molecules that somehow prevent the lower intestine from doing its job properly. In case you didn't know, the lower intestine's job is putting out perfectly formed little poops. When you mess with the machine, you get glitches like loose stools, or worse, explosive diarrhea. (In one of P&G's own studies, eight grams per day of olestra, equivalent to less than one ounce of chips, increased the total number of incidents of gastrointestinal symptoms (diarrhea, loose stools, nausea, gas etc.) by 65 percent. Six years ago, not long after the first Wow! chips debuted, Alibi writer Nick Brown bought a bag and described the aftermath. He wrote, "Only the trained and hardened reflexes of a circus star can quell the raging flow of slough while waddling, comically, to the potty."
All this for what, chips? Sure, I've drunk so much beer that I barfed, but—right up to the moment of upchuck—it was a hell of a lot more fun than eating a dozen fat-free potato chips. I've kissed someone with a cold, knowing that I might catch that same cold, but again, one night of making out with a super cute guy on Friday night seems worth the possibility of a runny nose on Monday. But no beer and no boy are worth anal leakage, for chrissakes.
The new Light-labeled chips are still made with Olean and there's no reason to believe they won't have you racing to the can praying, "Butt cheeks don't fail me now!" Don't let the brilliant marketing suggestion of some dipshit at a PR firm make you think it's safe to put your ass on the line and try those fake-fat chips again. If you're going to eat chips, then eat real chips. Enjoy them. Eat them like they're precious. Revel in every fat gram. You can punish yourself by going to the gym three times next week instead of spending the afternoon on the crapper.
A Royal Celebration ... or Two! at St. James Tearoom
Bread Baking at Maxwell Museum of Anthropology
The Flavors of Spain at National Hispanic Cultural CenterMore Recommented Events ››