Don’t Fry Those ‘Taters!

Fried foods have gotten a bad name for many years spurring food purveyors to begin offering healthier, baked options from potato chips to hash browns to French fries.  Still, if you’re finding fried foods are a hard habit to break and need more motivation to shy away from the fryer, take a look at what researchers with the Osteoarthritis Initiative found.

The abstract published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition explained how researchers with the public-private partnership performed a cohort study that investigated what effect, if any, consumption of potato has on premature death rates.  Over 4000 people were given a food-frequency questionnaire.  Participants rated how often their diet included potatoes as ≤1 time/month, 2–3 times/month, 1 time/week, 2 times/week, or ≥3 times/week.  Additionally, they reported the cooking method they typically chose – fried or not fried.

An 8 year follow-up showed that there was no increased mortality risk associated with total potato consumption.  However, additional inspection of the data revealed that individuals with a consumption of FRIED potatoes at a frequency of 2 times/week or higher, were at an “increased risk of mortality.”  Of course, additional studies with larger groups will be needed to verify these findings.

Data from the National Potato Council showed Americans consumed 112.1 pounds of potatoes per person in 2014.  Of that total, 78.5 pounds were processed and according to the US Department of Agriculture French fries are our favorite processed potatoes to eat.

“Potatoes are inherently a very healthy vegetable,” said National Potato Council CEO John Keeling in an email to CNN Health Writer Susan Scutti. He added that a medium-sized potato is 110 calories, has no fat, no sodium, no cholesterol, and provides nearly a third of the daily vitamin C requirement with more potassium than a banana.

To provide a full picture of these results, one must also take into account the cooking oil used to fry potatoes.  Often rich in trans-fat, these types of oils have been shown to raise cholesterol leading to cardiovascular disease, which is also an important factor in explaining mortality rate in those who consume potatoes frequently.  Additionally, there may be other important data points to correlate related to a sedentary lifestyle, use of high quantities of salt, and obesity to better understand these results.

For now, it may be a good time to explore new ways to enjoy your potatoes sans the fryer and alongside a few colorful vegetables for good measure.  Luckily, there are more convenient options than ever and recipes abound.  If you have questions regarding your lifestyle and eating habits, your doctor of chiropractic is a great resource.  Click here to find a doctor near you.



Fried potato consumption is associated with elevated mortality: an 8-y longitudinal cohort study.  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Scutti, Susan. Eating fried potatoes linked to higher risk of death, study says. CNN — June 17, 2017.