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French fries, despite what the name would indicate, might not actually be French at all.
Instead, one theory believes that America’s favorite burger accompaniment comes from Belgium, where American soldiers discovered the dish during World War I and named them “French” fries due to the number of Belgians who speak French. (Marking neither the first nor last time Americans have ignorantly misnamed something, cough*Christopher Columbus*cough.)
But wherever they hail from, the U.S. has been more than happy to integrate them as an important part of our national diet: the average American puts away 30 pounds of golden fried ‘taters every single year.
That's a lot of spuds.
And if you think 30 pounds of French fries sounds like way too many French fries for people to be consuming (it should), you’re probably right. In fact, there’s a study to prove it. According to PEOPLE, a new report from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that not only are French fries unhealthy (kind of a no-brainer for anything soaked in oil and salt), but they may also be linked to a higher rate of death.
The study looked at the potato consumption of 4,400 people between the ages of 45 and 79 over the course of eight years, and then studied the similarities and differences among the 236 individuals who died during that time period. Of those who passed away during the study, researchers found a correlation not just in frequency of potato eating, but in frequency of fried potato eating. According to PEOPLE, “they found that eating fried potatoes—including French fries, fried potatoes and hash browns—at least two times per week was linked to a more than doubled risk of death.”
Meanwhile, the study found that eating potatoes prepared in other methods (boiling/baking/etc) had no link to increased death risk.
The reasoning most likely has to do with the amount of fat and added salt typically present in fried potato dishes, though it’s also plausible that someone who eats fried potatoes more than twice a week is already living a less-than-healthy lifestyle and is at higher risk for heart disease already—but we don't want to draw too many conclusions.
Instead, we just want to cry over this heart-breaking news.
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