Eating starchy foods deep-fried in high-temperature oil is generally accepted to be an unhealthy practice associated with poor heart health. Now, a study has scientific evidence that consuming fried potatoes – read, French fries – leads to a higher risk of death.
Researchers at the University of Padua in Italy found that people who ate fried potatoes two or more times per week have double the risk of dying early compared to those who did not, The Washington Times reports.
Nicola Veronese, lead author of the observational study and a scientist at the National Research Council in Padova, Italy, said,
Fried potatoes consumption is increasing worldwide.
In 2014 alone, Americans ate 112.1 pounds of potatoes per person, according to the National Potato Council, East Idaho News reports. Of those, 33.5 were fresh potatoes, while the rest was processed. The US Department of Agriculture states that the majority of processed potatoes Americans consume are in the form of French fries.
The team or researchers examined the link between eating both fried and not fried potatoes, and early mortality. They monitored 4,400 men and women ages 45 to 79 over eight years to study osteoarthritis, but refocused on potato consumption.
Veronese stated that while there is a general consensus that fried potatoes are bad for the health, there is actually very little evidence to back up these claims. The researchers divided the study participants into subgroups based on how much potatoes they ate weekly. During the course of the study, 236 participants died.
Based on the information, Veronese and the team found that those who ate fried potatoes more than two times a week doubled their risk of dying early, compared to those who did not. “Fried potatoes” include French fries, hash browns, potato chips and other preparations that require a fryer.
The authors concluded, “The frequent consumption of fried potatoes appears to be associated with an increased mortality risk. Additional studies in larger sample sizes should be performed to confirm if overall potato consumption is associated with higher mortality risk.”
The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.