French fries are that great American food that fools its consumers with the notion that their deep fried greasiness are actually refined, with that fancy “French” title. But don’t be fooled. “French” refers to the way the potato is cut. These potatoes doused in boiling, hot grease and salt are nothing close to being a delicacy. In fact, you should likely stay far, far away — or at least not eat them every day. Because if you do, the following undesirable things will happen to you.
1. You’ll gain unnecessary weight
French fries are particularly high in carbohydrates — which is not an innately a bad thing. However, french fries complex refined carbohydrates (processed), which makes them fall under the “bad” category that don’t necessarily convert into good energy.
Due to the fact that french fries are complex carbs, it means that your body digests them slowly. Add the fact that they have had many of the nutrients removed through the refining process, then you are slowly digesting unhealthy food. This will make you feel sluggish, with little to no energy to exercise, resulting in excessive weight gain.
2. You’ll increase your chances of heart disease and type 2 diabetes
French fries are soaked in unhealthy trans fats because they’ve been deep-fried in hydrogenated oils. When consumed, you will raise your bad cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease. This fact has been concluded several times over, including in the Nurses Health Study that began in 1976.
In this study, 121,700 female registered nurses ages 30–55 had their eating habits logged over a period of several years. The researchers also conducted The Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS), following 51,529 male health professionals ages 40–75 in 1986. All subjects were asked about their eating habits including whether or not they consumed fried foods and how frequently. The researchers concluded that frequent fried-food consumption was significantly associated with risk of incident type 2 diabetes and moderately with incident coronary artery disease.
3. You may increase your risk of cancer
Speculation and science have bounced around the notion that fried foods like french fries can increase your risk of cancer or even flat out cause it. While the verdict is not concrete as it relates to humans, a recent study on rats found that a substance in french fries, called, acrylamide can cause cancer.
The results of the study published by the National Cancer Institute found that acrylamide is produced when vegetables that contain the amino acid asparagine, like potatoes, are heated to high temperatures in the presence of certain sugars. This happens when acrylamide is converted to a compound called glycidamide, which causes mutations in and damage to DNA structure, and can lead to cancer.
4. Increase your risk of kidney disease and stroke
French fries are lathered in salt, which can create a number of health problems. It has been found that individuals who consume a diet that is high in salt, increase the risk of high blood pressure. And all that pressure on your circulatory system can lead to heart, kidney disease and stroke.
5. You’ll lose some brain and nerve function
So, remember that awful contaminant inside french fries that we just talked about called acrylamide? Yeah, as it turns out, it can also cause neurological damage.
Scientists from the American Chemical Society found that “acrylamide is capable of causing nerve damage in humans, including muscle weakness and impaired muscle coordination.” Further laboratory studies suggest that “chronic dietary exposure to the chemical is capable of damaging nerve cells in the brain and could potentially play a role in the development of neurodegenerative disease.”
6. You could increase your risk of premature death
Obesity, heart disease, cancer, stroke, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, the loss of nerve and brain function. Not only are all of these things that can greatly impact your everyday life — and not for the better — but they are leading causes of death.
Due to this, you can easily conclude that consuming french fries regularly will increase your risk of death.
That being said, science has documented this correlation with a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. In the study, researchers looked at data from 4,400 people between 45 and 79 years of age, and followed their dietary patterns and health over eight years. By the end of the study, 236 of the participants had died.
The team found that he frequent consumption of fried potatoes appeared to be associated with an increased mortality risk. The authors went on to suggest that “A higher consumption of fried potatoes could increase the risk of other chronic diseases, such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.”
So, if you must have your french fries, just don’t. Bake up some potatoes, tossed in olive oil and lightly salted in sea salt. You really can have your potatoes and eat them, too. Just don’t fry them.