French fries are about as bad for you as they are popular. They are best enjoyed as a once in a blue moon treat rather than eaten daily.
Potatoes are a great source of fiber and other nutrients. Unfortunately, French fries, despite being made from potatoes, are not potatoes. French fries can be bought already made, in which case they've undergone a nutrient-robbing process known as blanching. Blanching involves cooking something at a high temperature, then rapidly freezing it to stop the cooking process. While blanching does prevent spoilage, it also takes a toll on the nutrients, especially those which are water-soluble.
Even when making French fries at home, many of the dangers are still present. For one thing, making fries involves peeling the potato. This removal of the nutrient and fiber rich potato skin is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to why French fries are bad for you. Next, comes the process by which fries are made - frying. When we fry something, we are using extremely high temperatures. It is this along with the sugars and an amino acid called asparagine present in potatoes that lead to the formation of a carcinogenic chemical called acrylamide.
Apart from possibly causing cancer, French fries have many other detriments. Among the most well-known facts is that French fries are high in calories and saturated fat, which contributes to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke when consumed in excess. In fact, it should come as no surprise that in the United States, where heart disease is the number one killer, French fries account for a full quarter of ALL vegetables consumed in the entire country.
Perhaps a less well-known health negative is that research has shown a link between French fries and age-related macular degeneration. Whether invented by the Belgians or the French, the fact is that French fries are one of the most unhealthy foods out there.
Possible short-term side effects
- stomach cramps
- water retention / dehydration
Possible long-term side effects
- high cholesterol
- heart attack
- heart disease
- age-related macular degeneration
Ingredients to be aware of
- good source of fiber
- good source of potassium
- good source of vitamin b6
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Written by Jeff Volling | 12-28-2015
Written by Jeff Volling
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