Researchers found that heavy fried potatoes consumers who eat French fries twice or more times a week are more likely to have health problems causing death than those who avoid them, a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found.
“Fried potatoes consumption is increasing worldwide.” warned Dr Nicola Veronese, lead author of the study and a scientist at the National Research Council in Padova, Italy.
In 2014, Americans consumed 112.1 pounds of potatoes per person, according to the National Potato Council. Only 33.5 pounds were fresh potatoes; however, the remaining 78.5 pounds were processed. According to the US Department of Agriculture, the majority of processed potatoes Americans eat are French fries.
Veronese and his colleagues have been studying the cases of 4,440 people aged 45 to 79 over the course of eight years to study osteoarthritis. However, the team focused more on consumption of potatoes and kept aloof from osteoarthritis.
In an email, Veronese assumed that fried potatoes are widely known to be unhealthy. However, the diseases and health problems it may cause have rarely been discussed.
Veronese said that French fries, potato chips, hash browns — and any other preparation requiring a fryer — are all described as fried potatoes.
“Even if it is an observational study, we believe that the cooking oil, rich in trans-fat, is an important factor in explaining mortality in those eating more potatoes.” said Veronese. Trans-fat leads to LDL, cholesterol in the blood, and cardiovascular disease.
National Potato Council CEO John Keeling said the “study isn’t relevant to the general population” as the cases considered are with arthritis as it is an osteoarthritis study. “Potatoes are inherently a very healthy vegetable.”
In an email, Keeling explained that a medium-sized potato is 110 calories, has no fat, no sodium, no cholesterol, and offers nearly a third of the daily vitamin C requirement with more potassium than a banana.
“How the potato is prepared will impact the calorie, fat and sodium content,” said Keeling; however, the basic nutrients remain “no matter how it is prepared.”
Keeling also argued, “it is very much a stretch to brand fried potatoes, or any other form of potato, as unhealthy.”