French fries are one of the most readily available foods throughout the country. Because french fries are deep fried in oil, they are very high in fat and calories, which can pose a number of serious health risks if consumed regularly. French fries also contain a lot of salt and acrylamide, a chemical that has been associated with cancer.
Deep frying french fries makes them very high in fat, and a high-fat diet increases your risk of becoming overweight. Also, a study by the Diabetes and Obesity Center of Excellence at the University of Washington in Seattle found that a high fat diet may injure nerve cells in the brain that control body weight. French fries are particularly rich in trans fats and saturated fats. According to the American Heart Association, saturated and trans fats raise the level of cholesterol in your blood, which increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. A single serving of deep-fried, restaurant style French fries contain 24 grams of fat. According to Health.gov, your total fat intake based on a 2000 calorie daily diet should be no more than 65 grams.
French fries are particularly high in carbohydrates and thus should be consumed in moderation or avoided all together. Carbohydrates are necessary for the survival of all living things; however, the excessive consumption of carbohydrates can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. A serving of restaurant style fries contains roughly 63 carbohydrates.
French fries are typically salt-laden, which can create a number of adverse health effects when consumed regularly. The Institute of Medicine recommends that individuals consume less than a half-teaspoon a day of salt, or between 1,500 and 2,000 milligrams, but most Americans consume as much as 2 teaspoons of salt a day. Diets that are high in salt increase the risk of developing high blood pressure, which can lead to heart and kidney disease and stroke. A serving of restaurant style fries contains more than 600 milligrams of sodium, or nearly 1/3 of the recommended daily intake.
Pregnant and Nursing Women
Research performed by the Nuremberg Biomedical and Drug Research Institute advises pregnant and nursing women to not consume french fries due to a carcinogenic and neuro-toxic agent called acrylamide. Acrylamide is found in foods fried in oil at temperatures over 356 degrees Fahrenheit like french fries and potato chips. The blood brain barrier -- the blockade of cells separating circulating blood and the brain extracellular fluid in the central nervous system -- are not fully developed in fetuses and newborns, which makes them particularly susceptible to the potentially harmful effects of acrylamide.
- Science Daily: Eating a High-Fat Diet May Rapidly Injure Brain Cells That Control Body Weight
- The Washington Post: Americans Should Shake Salty Food Habit
- Dartmouth-Hitchcock: Pregnant? Nursing? Avoid Chips and French Fries
- American Heart Association: Saturated Fats
- Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania: Pregnant Women and Nursing Mothers Should Avoid French Fries and Chips; Ned Stafford; January 2003
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Potatoes, French Fried, Restaurant Style
- Health.gov: Choose Sensibly