Step Away from the Fries

Premier Health Now

Although your favorite fast food restaurant may entice you with discounts on National French Fry Day, July 13, there are good reasons to pass. According to a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and reported by CNN, people who eat fried potatoes two or more times a week double their risk of an early death compared to those who avoid them. To find out why, Premier Health Now talked to Dale Block, MD, Premier Family Care of Mason. 

Fries Can Boost Your Risk of Cancer?

Yes, says Dr. Block. But don’t blame it on the potato. “It’s the way they are prepared that boosts the cancer risk,” he says. When potatoes are fried, they form a carcinogenic chemical called acrylamide, shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals and considered toxic to humans. The darker the fry, the more acrylamide. The same carcinogen is found in cigarette smoke.

And Your Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke?

Yes and yes. Two reasons, says Dr. Block. A small order of fast food fries contains a whopping 11-15 grams of fat. All that fat raises the level of LDL or “bad” cholesterol in your blood, increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke. “The fat makes potatoes taste better,” says Dr. Block, “but it comes with a price!”

Sticking to all that fat is an unhealthy amount of sodium, up to 200mg in a small order, which also boosts your risk of heart disease and stroke.

So what’s a French fry lover to do on National French Fry Day? “Eat a piece of fruit instead!” recommends Dr. Block.