A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found people eating fried potatoes, in the form of French fries, potato chips, or hash browns, two-three times per week doubled their risk of dying early compared to people who never ate fried potatoes.
Potato chips and French fries were found to contain higher levels of acrylamide, which the World Health Organization and FDA state is a major health concern due to its neurotoxicity in humans and carcinogenic properties.
Frying foods also oxidizes cholesterol more readily, which can produce more atherosclerotic plaque compared to nonoxidized cholesterol in the body.
Fried foods are high in calories, which could lead to weight gain and high in saturated fat, which could raise cholesterol. A side of French fries typically has 500 calories, 24g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 66g carbs, and 350mg sodium. Add a few squirts of ketchup and the sodium increases to 670mg.
The American Heart Association Recommends reducing saturated fat to no more than 5-6% of total daily calories. For a 2000 calorie diet that is 11-13g per day.
The study was observational and cannot conclude fried potatoes cause early death, however researchers believe fried potato consumption is associated with a less healthy Western diet associated with higher mortality rates.
The study found no raise in mortality rates from people eating non-fried potatoes. A small potato with the skin is rich in fiber, has more potassium than a banana, provides half your daily needs of vitamin C, and contains protein. If you love potatoes consider roasting them in the oven with olive oil and rosemary or steaming them for a few minutes in the microwave for a healthier side dish to a meal.