Are French Fries Killing You? Leading Researchers Say ‘Maybe’

Americans consume, on average, 30 pounds of French fries per year. This tasty treat is a mainstay of fast food restaurants and diners nationwide, and it’s also easy to find in the freezer section of your local grocery store. Unfortunately, the results of an eight-year study have discovered that regularly eating French fries may actually be responsible for numerous early deaths.

The Risks Involved with Eating French Fries

If you have French fries as a special treat once or twice a month, you probably don’t need to worry. However, if you typically consume French fries two or more times per week, your odds of dying are double that of your non-French-fry-eating peers.

How did the researchers come by that statistic? Here’s how: A group of 4,440 people aged 45 to 79 participated in the study, and 236 of them passed away within the eight-year time frame. After looking closely at everyone’s eating habits, one common similarity stood out: those who ate any type of fried potato, including French fries, tater tots, and hash browns, were more than twice as likely to die.

Are Potatoes to Blame?

It may be easy to assume that raw potatoes and fried potatoes would share the same mortality risks, but this isn’t true. In fact, people who ate non-fried potatoes two or more times per week didn’t experience any increase in their risk of dying. This may indicate that the simple act of frying something is the true culprit, which seems to indicate that frying anything regularly could be just as deadly as eating French fries.

Baked potatoes might not be as bad for you as french fries
Potatoes that aren't fried may not be as harmful

Are French Fries Really Killing You?

This study may be very scary for people who love French fries, but there’s one important thing to remember: despite the evidence that was gathered by researchers, they still cannot conclusively state that French fries are the problem. Instead, they’ve pointed out that there appears to be a connection between fried potatoes and high mortality rates.

To break this down into simpler terms, eating fried food is definitely bad for you, and this includes French fries. The reality, though, is that it’s unknown at this time if the fried food alone is to blame or if people who eat fried food are also more prone to engaging in other unhealthy activities.

French Fries May Kill You Especially Loaded Ones
Kind of puts a new meaning on the phrase 'Loaded Potato' [Image by jeffreyw/Flickr

For example, are fried food lovers less prone to exercising? Or do they also consume larger quantities of added sugar and cholesterol? Researchers don’t know the answer to these questions yet, and until they do, we won’t know for certain if French fries deserve to be demonized. For now, it is safe to say that minimizing your consumption of French fries and other fried foods is a good idea, as is starting a regular exercise routine.

[Featured Image by maxphotography/iStock]