Last Updated on November 18, 2008 by Jimson Lee
I get asked this question a lot, especially on road trips.
There are several reasons why you, your athletes, or your children should NOT eat french fries.
In contrast, there are reason why you should eat it. One reason is they are yummy with ketchup or mayonnaise.
Back in my Montreal days, I recall the owner of a popular trendy pub on Peel Street who would not allow his employees to eat french fries. Of course, his employees were all very fit or very good looking waitresses and barmaids. His rational was, “It makes their legs fat”.
While he might be sued for sexism, he did have the right idea, just the wrong reasons.
Here are 3 reasons why French Fires are bad for you. This applies to everyone, and not just women.
1) French Fries are Made of Bad Carbohydrates.
Sure, you think all complex carbs are treated equal. You claim it’s not a simple sugar, right?
Different carbs have differ glycemic indexes. The Canadian Diabetes web site has a good explanation for this and ranks certain foods.
I like to point out that the Glycemic Index is simply a general guideline. Everyone has a different blood glucose responses to different foods, so your mileage may vary (YMMV in Internet lingo).
These foods are considered having a high glycemic index are:
- French fries
- Instant mashed potatoes
- Baked white potato
- Instant rice
- Corn Flake
- Rice Krispies
- White Bagels
- Soda crackers
- Dried dates
You don’t want to BONK at work or school at 2pm after a high glycemic lunch, right? So in general, aim for whole grains with a lower glycemic index.
Ironically enough, the sweet potato has a much lower glycemic index than white potatoes. Maybe that’s why they serve Yam fries at my local pub?
Simple sugars, and some complex carbohydrates, causes a surge in insulin production. It is possible to develop a resistance to insulin when you continually spike your insulin levels. This constant spike has been linked to a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Thus I firmly believe controlling insulin is the key to weight loss, controlling your appetite, and muscle production… among other good reasons.
2) French Fries may be Deep Fried in Trans Fats
If you haven’t heard that Trans Fats can cause heart disease, then you’ve been living under a rock.
Trans fats are derived from unsaturated fats is found in margarines or vegetable shortening in the “solidifying process” (liquid state to solid state). The food label to watch out for is “partially hydrogenated”.
These “bad fats” have been shown to raise levels of “bad” cholesterol or Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL). These saturated fats also stay in the body longer and raise circulating blood triglycerides that lower the “good” cholesterol or High Density Lipoprotein (HDL).
Trans fats also makes the platelets in their blood stickier. Platelets are part of the blot clotting mechanisms. These sticky little platelets could form clots that attach to the walls of arteries that form plaque and cause heart disease later in life.
3) French fries have high levels of Acrylamide, reported to be a possible cancer-causing substance.
I won’t get into this topic in detail as it is covered in depth from this article from ScienceDaily.com
Acrylamide is a chemical formed when frying, roasting, grilling or baking carbohydrate-rich foods at temperatures above 120Â°C. Acrylamide is thus found in a number of foods, such as bread, crisps, French fries and coffee. Tobacco smoking also generates substantial amounts of acrylamide.
“Animal tests have shown acrylamide to be a carcinogen, but until recently no studies have demonstrated a link between acrylamide in foods and cancer in humans. Ours is the first epidemiological study using biological markers for measuring acrylamide exposure, and the first to report a positive association between acrylamide and breast cancer,” says Henrik Frandsen, senior scientist at the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark.
So there you have it.
3 reasons to avoid eating French Fries. But it doesn’t mean never to eat French Fries, just watch the amount you eat in moderation.