Health hazards of french fries
Created by Tanuja Sodhi Updated on Jan 12, 2020
I am writing a series of blogs, which pinpoint the worst junk food villains out there and can keep our children hooked and hypnotized to their deceivingly heavenly taste. While the young ones may overlook the nutritional value of the foods they swear they love; we as discerning and caring parents perhaps need to prevent our child from succumbing to the lure of these food-felons.
This series is aimed at making us aware of the harmful effects of some of the fast foods that our children love to eat. I write this with a hope that it is never too late for you to turn it around, albeit for the sake of your little ones!
The first in this series are the French fries.
Damn! The fiendish French fries are all pervasive! They are the featured side dish at nearly all fast-food chains. Whether it’s the McDonald’s Combo Meal or a Club Sandwich or a Pita Pocket you order; the ubiquitous French fries tag along like a faithful companion to these dishes. I am a firm believer of the clichéd proverb- Out of sight is out of mind. But how do you get away from the inescapable sight of this much relished standard fare? Only if you knew the serious damage it could cause to your health and well being, would you run for your life swearing never to touch it or let your kids touch it again!
A lowdown on French fries:
French fries are strips of potatoes that are cooked by deep frying in oil. Like any other deep fried foods, these are also very high in saturated fats and trans fats. They’re loaded with excess sugar, sodium and a high fat content.
As reported by some reputed Institutes and research agencies, most fries are fried in corn oil, which contains heart-impairing saturated fats making it the least healthy choice of oils.
What is really alarming is the fact that French fries may pose greater health risks than other fried foods. It is because deep frying potatoes may produce acrylamides according to the Journal of Food Science. Acrylamides are potential carcinogens (cancer inducing agents).
Nutrition Facts about French fries:
Serving size: Medium (117 gms).
Sodium 259 mg
Total Fat 22.82 g
Potassium 741 mg
Saturated 5.4 g
Total Carbs 50.29 g
Polyunsaturated 3.96 g
Dietary Fiber 4.7 g
Monounsaturated 13.196 g
Sugars 0.91 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
*As per fatsecret.com
*An approximation based on various research studies.
**The nutritional content of French fries may vary based on the type and amount of oil they’re fried in.
Heath hazards related to high fat foods like French fries:
Deep frying makes French fries very high in fat and a high-fat diet increases your and your child’s risk of becoming overweight/obese, getting heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Also, a study by the Diabetes and Obesity Center of Excellence at the University of Washington in Seattle found that a high fat diet may injure nerve cells in the brain that control body weight.
Instead of risking your family with the above-mentioned life-style disease, it’s much easier to opt for healthier options, especially for the children.
Healthier Snack Options:
1) Fruits and chopped vegetables
2) Whole Grain Crackers
3) Whole grain toast with peanut butter
4) Homemade air-popped popcorn
6) Roasted shredded Wheat snacks
7) Puffed Whole Grain Cereal (corn, brown rice, wheat or millet variety)
8) Nuts and Seeds
9) Trail mix
10) Hard-Boiled Egg
11) Roasted Spiced Chickpeas
12) Fruit yogurt
14) Veg Sandwich
15) Baked Sweet Potato
The list is endless. However, sometimes there is simply no substitute for crispy French fries and the children may just refuse to see reason. In such a case, you have a choice of making healthier French fries at home.
A Healthier French Fries Recipe:
Here is a lower-fat, lower-calorie and no fuss French fries recipe to satiate the little tummies.
4 medium potatoes with skin, cut into 1/4-inch thick strips/wedges.
2-3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil (canola oil can be substituted)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a nonstick pan with olive oil/canola oil cooking spray.
2. In large zip-top plastic bag or a large bowl, combine potatoes with oil and salt and toss to coat potatoes well.
3. Arrange potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown.
4. When fries are light brown, sprinkle parsley over the top and bake for 5 minutes more or until they are crispy and golden looking.
So, here’s to healthy snacking! Say no to the greasy and wicked French fries!!
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