Sorry, potato people! Although it’s probably no surprise that French fries are among the worst foods you can eat, most of us are still in denial. After all, it doesn’t hurt to indulge in the greasy goodness every once in awhile… right?
According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, our guilty conscious may be well-placed. The research, which tracked potato consumption in 4,400 older people between ages 45 and 79 over the course of eight years, shows that eating fried potatoes at least twice a week more than doubles our risk of death. Yikes!
But hold up! Before you throw out the sack of spuds in your pantry, take heed: the researchers found that eating potatoes overall (even a lot of them!) wouldn’t kill you. Instead, it’s the type of potato that makes all the difference between life and death—literally.
Eating fried potatoes like French fries and hash browns at least two times per week increased the risk of death in the study’s participants. On the other hand, potatoes that were NOT fried, such as boiled, baked, and mashed potatoes, were less likely to cause death.
Why? Potatoes contain healthy levels of fiber, vitamins, and micronutrients, so you can partake sans-guilt. But when it comes to the fried goods, you might want to think again. French fries typically have lots of fat and added salt, leading to weight gain and obesity.
Still, when all is said and done, correlation doesn’t equal causation. More research is needed before definitively concluding that eating fries alone increases the risk of death. Luckily, potatoes still count as one of your recommended three to five servings of vegetables per day (and these are the best vegetables you can eat!) Just try to avoid the fatty ones, if you can.