a bag of crispy french fries, fast food

French fries may be tempting, but giving in to temptation could be deadly. Nutrition scientists from Italy, Great Britain and the US noted that potatoes have a high glycemic index. That is, they tend to raise blood sugar quickly. But they also contain many nutrients, so it can be difficult to estimate how they will affect health.

The Trouble with French Fries:

In a new study, 4,400 middle-aged and older people were followed up for eight years. They filled out a detailed dietary survey at the start of the study. Most of them ate potatoes frequently, at least twice a month, and a third of the volunteers ate potatoes three or more times a week.

Just eating potatoes didn’t seem to make a difference. Those who indulged in French fries at least twice a week, however, were about twice as likely to die during the study as those who never ate them. Perhaps the large amount of trans fat often found in French fries (and potato chips) is partly to blame.

This study wasn’t able to determine exactly why French fries seem so risky. The researchers recommend that similar investigations be carried out in larger groups of people to see if this association can be confirmed.

Veronese et al, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online June 7, 2017 

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  1. Sharron
    texas
    Reply

    I believe that most of the businesses that sell French fries fail to change their frying oil at the prescribed times, resulting in a rancid and very unhealthy product. Often I smell the degraded oil at fast food outlets.
    This, along with the inherent unhealthy product, makes French fries a very poor choice. I am a food service executive, a registered dietitian, and married to a French fry lover.

  2. Bruce
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Reply

    I’m really disappointed that the Peoples Pharmacy, like so much of the media, does not report actual numbers of people affected, but only percentages. It would have been much more informative if you had said, “Out of 4400 people in the study, xx number who ate french fries twice a week died during the 8 years, versus yy number who never ate french fries.” You have even talked about the importance of disclosing actual numbers when reporting results of drug tests. Please follow your own advice!

  3. Gloria Jones
    taylors,ssc
    Reply

    Is there more of a caloric diminution when Crestor is taken at bedtime or are results the same when the statin is taken during daylight hours?

  4. Sue
    Reply

    I think I just wasted my time reading this article! Middle-aged people through seniors are likely to die period. No one gets out of this alive. I’m pretty sure I’m done reading “health” studies and stories.

  5. Cindy M. Black
    Seattle, WA
    Reply

    I absolutely NEVER eat french fries. BUT, I must admit to one small “guilty pleasure:” I do eat about 10-11 potato chips per day. The rest of my diet is maniacally healthy; no meats, no chemicals, nothing processed, etc. And the chips I eat are the “healthy, organic” ones, with only potatoes, oil and salt.

    Still, there’s one big negative about those chips; it has to do with the ACRYLAMIDE that’s produced when things are fried, especially potatoes and other carbs. You’re especially not supposed to fry things to a crispy state or a golden-brown (or deeper) color; both these situations produce acrylamide, which has been tied to reduced longevity. I’d venture to guess that it’s the acrylamide and not just the trans-fats that makes french fries unhealthy, and the same goes for chips of course. I tell myself that it’s just a very few, so maybe they can’t hurt me. But perhaps it’s time to ditch the habit altogether.

  6. Peggi Hunter
    Reply

    How would one tease out the other factors in this study? People who would eat french fries 2x / week are obviously not particularly health conscious, so finding a cohort that exercises, eats whole grains, etc. AND eats french fries that ofter would be next to impossible. Sounds like the fries would just represent other poor lifestyle choices to me. That doesn’t let fries off the hook, but the study seems like a no-brainer.

  7. Mary
    Reply

    Chances are your french fries are cooked in vegetable oils today, not saturated fat. This may be more harmful than the other option as long as it is not a trans fat.

  8. Gail
    Delray Beach
    Reply

    I won’t purchase french fries but if on the table I will enjoy a serving of 7-10 french fries without salt. My lunch companion started sprinkling salt on them – thereby securing them all for himself which is okay by me.

  9. Mark
    NC
    Reply

    Transfat shouldn’t be an issue in the U.S. as many companies have stopped using it.

  10. Bennie
    USA
    Reply

    I think that people who eat french fries at least twice a week are probably more likely to eat and drink other things that may not be good for them. Also, they probably don’t exercise or have other healthy habits that those who don’t eat french fires do.

  11. MARY
    FL
    Reply

    Does that include baking fries in the oven?

  12. Lana
    California
    Reply

    How are they (the researchers) jumping to this conclusion?
    There are no facts mentioned as to why “Those who indulged in French fries at least twice a week, however, were about twice as likely to die during the study as those who never ate them. Perhaps the large amount of trans fat often found in French fries (and potato chips) is partly to blame. This study wasn’t able to determine exactly why French fries seem so risky. The researchers recommend that similar investigations be carried out in larger groups of people to see if this association can be confirmed.”
    This is a pointless study and obviously biased.

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