You’ve been eating your fries wrong
When was the last time you had a really good hot chip? You know the ones that are perfectly crunchy with just the right amount of soft potato and served with your favourite dipping sauce or salt?
There is an art to cooking the perfect hot chip but before we get into the how to, we need to discuss the issue of how many.
A Harvard University academic and nutrition scientist Professor Eric Rimm has claimed that fries are so bad for us that we should consume no more than six at any one time to avoid the nasty health consequences associated with over consumption.
This sad news for chip lovers is based on research findings from a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2017, which found participants who consumed fried potato - such as fries, potato chips or hash browns - more than two or three times each week, doubled their risk of an early death in an eight-year period.
This result did not extend to potatoes consumed whole, mashed or boiled, only deep fried varieties.
Researchers explained this finding by attributing the types of fat typically used to make fried potatoes to heart disease risk factors and pro-inflammatory processes in the body.
Professor Rimm further emphasised that fried potatoes are essentially "starch bombs", combining processed potato that have a pronounced impact on blood glucose levels with artery damaging processed fats that are heated to exceptionally high temperatures many times over.
One of the biggest issues when it comes to our consumption of fried potato is the ever increasing serving sizes.
A recommended serve of fries is just 15 individual chips, and yet the average serving size we find at a fast food chain is at least 55 fries, and that is not considering the upsized versions consumers are often encouraged to consume and the mega-sized servings at pubs and clubs. Since fries are generally considered a side we often mindlessly eat them as part of many different meals, increasing overall consumption and the health associated risks as a result.
This is especially the case for small children who are regularly served fries as a meal alternative when eating out.
DO YOU WANT FRIES WITH THAT?
There is not one isolated food in our diet that causes health problems. Rather it is the dietary patterns we develop over time that make the greatest contribution to our overall health.
What this study found was that participants who developed the habit of regularly eating fries throughout the week continued this pattern over time and relatively frequent consumption of fried was associated with an increased risk of an early death.
For us this means that the best thing you can do is not get into a habit of eating fried potato regularly. This means ditching the hash browns with breakfast, avoiding fried fast food where possible and avoiding potato chips as a regular snack of choice.
So what does this mean for your love of the hot chip? It simply means you need to enjoy hot chips or French fries as a treat, occasionally, at most once each week and where possible limit your portion sizes.
Refuse to upsize fast food meals and avoid getting into the habit of giving hot chips to your toddler or small child regularly. This way they are less likely to develop a taste for fatty fried foods.
When fries are served with a meal take them off your plate as quickly as possible because if they are in front of you, you will eat them. Most importantly keep in mind that homemade chips prepared with good quality extra virgin olive oil are going to be a lot better for you and minus the risks associated with deep fried chips made from poor quality oil at the local fish and chip shop or pub.