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Fries are they healthy

Updated: May 22

Freshly cooked french fries on board
French Fries

Do you want fries with that?   If you hear this, say “no thank you”.  Let me explain the problem with fries, French fries, frites, chips, those sticks of potato fried in seed oil, usually salted, and why I have given them up.  BTW, salt is not the problem.

French fries, or chips are everywhere.  Are fries healthy? When you buy take-aways, junk food or when dining at many popular restaurants you are frequently offered fries.  They are a low cost meal filler often added to bulk up the calories and make you feel full.

The potato in fries does contain some nutrition.  Potatoes contain vitamin C, however heat degrades vitamin C, so cooking can reduce this considerably.  Potatoes contain potassium and folate, which can benefit heart health, however these are concentrated in the skin, so peeling the potato reduces much of this benefit. 

Potato is a very high GI food, turning to sugar immediately it is eaten, which drives a rapid upwards insulin spike. 

The potato is a member of the “deadly nightshade” family of plants, almost all of which are poisonous to humans.  You must never eat potato where the skin has gone green from exposure to light.  Sweet potatoes are from a different plant family.  Some pigs will develop arthritis when they are fed nightshades.

Potato’s contain oxalates that are crystals which, in excess, can cause severe joint pain and other health issues for some people.   They are in many foods, particularly leafy greens with the worst in spinach.  Cooking can reduce oxalate levels but not by much.  Sally K. Norton in her great book “Toxic Superfoods” reveals the damage from high oxalates in a diet.  One major problem, kidney stones are composed of calcium oxalate.

The biggest problem with fries is how they are cooked.  Most fries are cooked in seed oil, marketed as vegetable oil, although there are no vegetables involved.  Seed oils are ultra processed, they’re unstable, full of polyunsaturated omega-6, which when heated and cooled repeatedly, can quickly become rancid.  Rancid (oxidized) oils in your diet, and food cooked in it, promote whole-body inflammation massively increasing your cancer and heart disease risk.  Hence the promotion of anti-oxidant foods. Excess omega-6 also promotes inflammation. 

Unfortunately, excess polyunsaturated omega-6 oils displace healthy saturated fats in your mitochondrial membranes, degrading their operation, reducing your energy and they can take up to 2 years to eliminate. 

There is a “slightly” healthier way to eat potato.  First boil the potatoes and then leave to cool in the refrigerator overnight before preparing to eat.  This changes the potato chemistry increasing the level of resistant starch.  Resistant starch is a prebiotic, like fiber, that can feed the gut biome without spiking your insulin.  The carbohydrate level and, therefore, the high sugar level in the potato is reduced which is healthier for you because both excess sugar and insulin are toxic.

Buy my book HERE. Message me at   I can answer questions.  Seek professional medical advice before making dietary changes, particularly if you have underlying health problems.  Good health,  George Elder, Diet Research Reviewer, Dip. Nutrition.

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