Can eating this double your risk of early death?

Can eating this double your risk of early death?

If you’re like most Americans, it’s difficult to resist the lure of French fries.

For many, few foods can beat the deliciousness of well-cooked French fries, and fewer foods can surpass their finger-licking convenience. Yet in light of a recent study published by the American Society for Nutrition, it may be in your best interest to choose a healthier option when the tempting aroma of fried potatoes wafts towards your nose.

Researchers followed 4,400 adults for eight years and found that eating fried potatoes at least two times a week can double your risk of early death – making the lure of French fries, potato chips and hash brown less palatable.

The 45- to 79-year-old participants ate fried and unfried potatoes throughout the study. By the end of the study, 236 participants who ate fried potatoes regularly had died.

“While this study doesn’t address the many factors that may have contributed to the deaths in this study, these results underscore what we already know: You are better off roasting, broiling, steaming or baking foods,” says Dr. Estella Martinez, who practices family medicine and bariatrics at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago.

“Fried foods tend to be higher in calories and are linked to higher risks for obesity, stroke, diabetes and cancer.”

In general, eating potatoes, even in large amounts, does not impact the risk of early death, the study found. However, Dr. Martinez recommends swapping leafy green or colorful vegetables for starchy potatoes whenever possible.

“The good news is many restaurants and fast food chains offer side salads, so you can skip eating French fries without making big changes to your daily routine,” says Dr. Martinez. “In addition to salads, baked potatoes and low-sodium soups are good ways to round out meals and leave you feeling satisfied.”

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  1. Oh, FFS, haven’t any of the writers of this garbage heard that correlation does not equal causation??? So are you saying that only 236 people out of the 4400 studied ever ate fried potatoes? If that’s not the case, why didn’t the other fried potato eaters die young?

    Incidentally, “doubling” one’s chances of dying young (whatever “young” means anyway), means that if you normally have a 0.001 chance of dying young, now you’ll have a 0.002 chance of dying young.

    Please stop with this alarmist nonsense.

  2. I’m curious if anyone in the dietary office has seen this study because don’t all of the Advocate hospital cafeterias serve French fries? By serving them are we promoting potentially fatal eating habits? I agree this is a bit alarmist and misleading.

  3. Has it been proven that the 236 deaths were specifically caused by eating French fries? How many of the 236 already had health problems prior to the study? Just because they at fries regularly doesn’t equate to the “cause”.
    “While this study doesn’t address the many factors that may have contributed to the deaths in this study”… this quote pretty much sums up the confidence in the scientific accuracy of the study.

    The conclusions from the “study” are probably inaccurate.

    Might there be some bias in the equation since the study was published by American Society for Nutrition? I don’t know that they would have published anything if the conclusions were that fries had no impact on early death.

  4. I agree with Dienne. Wouldn’t someone who ate french fries also eat other fast foods or high calorie foods regularly? That would then contribute to their risk of heart disease. At McDonald’s they don’t just give you fries with a salad. I’m sure it is not solely the french fries that caused those people in the study to die.

  5. I hope the full research article did a better representation of the data than your article did.
    Also, it would be great to cite your articles. Depending on how many 79 year old subjects were in the study, 236 deaths maybe have been a pretty good result.

  6. Karathoner, just click on the place in the 2nd paragraph of the article where the word “study” is underlined to link to the research article cited.

  7. Everything in moderation. BTW – french fries are delicious !!!!

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About the Author

Cassie Richardson
Cassie Richardson

Cassie Richardson, health enews contributor, is regional coordinator on the Public Affairs team for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She has more than 10 years of experience in health care communications, marketing, media and public relations. Cassie is a fan of musical theater and movies. When she’s not spreading the word about health and wellness advancements, she enjoys writing fiction.