French fries are delicious, there’s nothing to be denied about that. But that’s where the list of “good things to say about” ends when it comes to these great American delicacies. French fries, of which there is nothing “French” about (that just refers to the way they are cut), are simply potatoes (a vegetable already high in starch and carbohydrates), cooked in greasy oil and doused with salt.
Not only should you not be eating them every day, but you should also stay far away from them PERIOD. But in case you were wondering what would happen to your body if you were to eat them every day, read on to find out!
1. You’ll Balloon Up
As we mentioned french fries are high in trans fats and carbohydrates, and not the good kind either. Known as complex refined carbohydrates, they are much slower to pass through the digestive system, making you feel sluggish and depleted of energy.
Not only is this lack of energy detrimental to your body as it reduces your physical activity, but it also means that all those extra carbs and trans fats are left in your body. Furthermore, any nutrients that may have been present in the potato are well and truly drained by the time the final product is ready, thanks to the several refining processes it goes through. All of this is going to cause an excess weight gain, and may even lead to obesity.
2. Increased Risk of Heart Problems & Type 2 Diabetes
Often deep-fried in hydrogenated oil, french fries are basically sponges for unhealthy trans fats. These are devastating for heart health, increasing your bad cholesterol and your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
This has been a well-known fact for a long time. In fact, a Nurses Health Study conducted in 1976 proved it perfectly. Researchers asked 121,700 registered female nurses aged 30-35 to log their eating habits over several years. This was then followed by The Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS) in 1986, where 51,529 male health professionals aged 40-75 were quizzed about their eating habits.
The conclusion to both of these studies was the same: those with eating habits that included frequent consumption of fried and fast foods were more at risk of developing incident coronary disease and incident type 2 diabetes.
3. More Chances of Cancer
Although there hasn’t been any hard evidence to suggest that fried foods like french fries can increase your risk of cancer or even cause it, it has been highly debated by experts for a long time. But a recent study conducted on rats has proved that a substance called acrylamide, present in french fries, can cause cancer.
According to a study published in the National Cancer Institute, when vegetables (like potatoes) that contain an amino acid call asparagine are heated to very high temperatures (such as deep frying), acrylamide is produced. In the presence of certain sugars, the acrylamide can then be converted to glycidamide, which causes mutations in and damage to DNA structure, and can also lead to cancer.
4. Increased Risk of Kidney Disease & Stroke
French fries are lathered in salt, high consumption of which has proven to lead to a multitude of health issues, including high blood pressure. An increase in blood pressure puts an undue burden on your circulatory system, thus leading to a higher risk of developing heart disease, strokes, or kidney disease.
5. Loss of Brain & Nerve Function
Remember how we mentioned that the contaminant called acrylamide in french fries could cause cancer? Well, that’s not all it does. It could also lead to severe neurological damage, according to scientists from the American Chemical Society.
They say that “acrylamide is capable of causing nerve damage in humans, including muscle weakness and impaired muscle coordination.” Further laboratory testing has also suggested that “chronic dietary exposure to the chemical is capable of damaging nerve cells in the brain and could potentially play a role in the development of neurodegenerative disease.”
6. Increased Risk of Premature Death
Take a look at everything we’ve talked about up to now – heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity, nerve and brain damage, cancer – not only are these effects of french fry consumption, but they are also leading causes of death.
But it’s not just speculation either. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition studied the dietary patterns and overall health of 4,400 people aged 40-79 over a period of 8 years. By the time the study concluded, 236 of the participants had passed away. Upon analysis, researchers found that frequent consumption of fried potatoes appeared to correlate with increased mortality.
Following this, the authors of the study said that “A higher consumption of fried potatoes could increase the risk of other chronic diseases, such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.”