Would you like some fries or a salad on the side? This age-old restaurant question is a dilemma that most of us face every single time we go out to eat. On one hand, we know that salad is a much healthier option — especially if we’re also chowing down on a burger or a club sandwich. Then again, nothing beats hot and crispy French fries. And let’s be honest: fries usually win out.
But that might change after you hear about the results of a study, which was recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers tracked 4,400 people aged 45 to 70 years old over the course of eight years. They decided to look at how many potatoes these people were consuming, and found that those who ate fried potatoes two to three times per week actually doubled their chances of dying early.
So what constitutes “fried” potatoes, exactly? Well French fries, of course. But also potato chips, hash browns and any other potatoes that have been… well, fried up. And given all of the trans fats that can be found in fried up taters, we’re not completely surprised.
Here’s the catch though: while the study definitely found a strong comparison between those who enjoyed fried potatoes and early death, the study was based on a different study. That means more concrete studies — dedicated only to researching this correlation — need to be conducted before anyone can say for sure that fried potatoes cause early death.
Still, it kind of seems like common sense that one has to do with the other, given everything we know about fried foods and our health in general, doesn’t it? Especially when you add in all of that salt. Besides, trans fats are known to raise your cholesterol, and that can cause a heart attack, diabetes and a whole slew of other health problems linked to death.
“Even if it is an observational study, we believe that the cooking oil, rich in trans fat, is an important factor in explaining mortality in those eating more potatoes,” one of the study’s authors, Nicola Veronese, told CNN.
The other factor to consider is lifestyle itself: did the participants who ate more fried potatoes have a less healthy lifestyle in general? Were they more sedentary or did they tend to eat out more? This is where another study would come in handy.
In the meantime though, we may seriously start considering that side salad instead. At least every once in a while.