Seriously: Are French Fries Really That Bad?

Are french fries bad for you?

Sometimes we have to ask the tough questions—the ones no one really wants to know the answers to. In that spirit, we asked celeb nutritionist Keri Glassman about basically-a-vegetable-slightly-less-healthy-fried-potatoes (aka french fries). Sorry, but sometimes the truth hurts.

Q—CHARLOTTE’S BOOK READER

Are french fries really that bad for me? Aren’t they just slightly less healthy potatoes?

A—KERI GLASSMAN, CELEBRITY NUTRITIONIST, FOUNDER OF NUTRITIOUS LIFE AND THE NUTRITION SCHOOL

Unfortunately, french fries are generally just as evil as their reputation suggests.

Whole, fresh potatoes contain fiber, vitamins and minerals, and even some protein. But most of the nutrients are in the skin, which gets peeled right off. Then, they’re doused in oil and deep fried.

There is some good news: In the past, many fast food joints used partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (AKA trans fats), but once the health dangers of trans fats became apparent, most switched to better (or at least less awful) oils. Then, the FDA told food manufacturers they had to stop using trans fats by law. So after 2018, you won’t have to worry about encountering them.

Still, no matter what oil is used, the process of deep frying creates compounds called advanced glycation end products (AGEs), compounds associated with inflammation, a process that is at the root of many chronic diseases.

Finally, “soaked in oil” equals excess calories and fat (not the good kind) and to top it off, they’re usually covered in salt. Talk about a recipe for bloating.

My advice? Make your own version at home by leaving the skin on and baking them in the oven. (Swap in sweet potatoes to make them even healthier.) Or, enjoy french fries once in a while as a conscious indulgence, not as a regular part of your diet.

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We’ve also asked our experts what’s better for you: weed or wine?
And we’ve asked them about the pros and cons and being a vegetarian.

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