French fries are the star accompaniment to the so-called ‘Western Diet’, which has superseded the variety of fresh foods that characterize the Mediterranean diet. Thus, in Spain this food serves as a garnish to a large majority of main courses, being especially popular with children.
Spain does not have ‘fish and chips’, but it does filet with potatoes that feels almost as traditional as salmorejo. Although this is not the only way they are consumed: fried also in oil, but finer, potato chips are accompanied by a series of additives that can be harmful to health in the long term.
First of all, the disadvantages that eating french fries every day can have lies in the way they are prepared, that is, in the fried. “The potato itself does not present any inconvenience, the problem is that it is fried in oil. Furthermore, it depends a lot on its quality, extra virgin olive oil is not the same as sunflower oil ”, explains Bárbara Sánchez, dietician and nutritionist who worked with Atlético de Madrid for women for more than 8 years and Madrid Club de Women’s Football.
A 150 gram potato can provide up to 15% of the recommended amount of vitamin C, related to the correct immune function and the formation of connective tissue in teeth and joints. In the case of frying or roasting it, a single potato can contain up to 33% of the recommended daily amount of potassium, essential for cell function, recommended to strengthen muscles.
Too it is rich in vitamin B6 which, among other things, helps break down proteins and is involved in the formation of red blood cells and antibodies. A single potato can provide 25% of the recommended daily amount in adults. Also, this food by itself contains choline, needed to regulate memory and mood, as well as for muscle control. It is also involved in the production of phospholipids, a component that is part of the body’s cell membranes, somewhat like building blocks.
This nutrient is a precursor of acetylcholine, a vital neurotransmitter in the peripheral nervous system, that is, the nerves that are neither in the spinal cord nor the brain. A single potato contains about 10% of the recommended daily amount of this important molecule.
The high content in starch It is also another of the advantages of this tuber. Known as another prebiotic, it stimulates the growth of healthy bacteria in the intestine, which help regulate the body. However, taken in the form of potato chips it would become an insane ingredient.
In an article published by The New York TimesEric Rimm, professor of nutrition at the Harvard University School of Public Health, said that French fries are starch bombs. Rimm, the author of a recent study, points out that half a dozen should be the limit for a serving of French fries.
After reviewing the basic benefits of consuming potato every day, it is time to focus on the method of preparation, frying. “French fries are saturated fat at the end”, Affirms Raquel Ramírez, dietician nutritionist, specialist in metabolic action.
This type of fat can raise blood cholesterol, increasing the likelihood of heart and cerebrovascular disease. They also raise levels of ‘bad cholesterol’ (LDL) and lower levels of ‘good cholesterol’ (HDL). In general, this favors weight gain.
The American Heart Association recommends a diet that does not exceed 5 to 6% of calories from this type of fat. In other words, out of 2,000 calories a day, a maximum of 120 can have this origin, which would be around 13 grams.
Although the problem is not only in the oil in which they are fried, a study from the University of Deakin, Australia, found that as French fries are usually high in salt, promote excessive consumption of fatty foods. Which would be the explanation for its reputation as addictive, in which glutamate also has a lot to do with it. This substance that stimulates the appetite is found in French fries naturally.
In the case of potato chips and not fryers, there is research that links their crunchy texture with addiction. The crunch in the mouth could produce a satisfaction similar to the ASRM that would cause the consumer to continue the intake despite feeling satiated.
Diabetes and cancer
In an analysis published by the magazine Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the diet of different individuals was analyzed over the years, focusing on the consumption of fast food and fried foods. The research concludes that regularly consuming this type of food was significantly associated with the risk of incidence of type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.
French fries also contain acrylamide, a compound that is suspected of being carcinogenic, according to the National Cancer Institute. This substance can be produced when foods containing the amino acid asparagine, such as potatoes, are heated to high temperatures in the presence of some sugars.
In some animal studies, exposure to acrylamide has been found to increase the risk of various types of cancer, since in the body, this substance is converted into a compound called glycidamide, which causes DNA damage and mutations.