Diana Nelson

French Fries – So Good, Yet So Bad

Tasty but detrimental to your health. The health risks of eating french fries on a regular basis.


The origin of the french fries is often attributed to Belgium, where it is said that the dish was first made during a cold winter in the late 17th century when the River Meuse froze over, preventing fishermen from catching their usual stock of fish.

As a result, locals began frying potatoes as a substitute. However, it is important to note that the origin of this story is difficult to verify, and there is an ongoing debate about the true origins of the french fry. In spite of all this, french fries are still terribly popular today with the people of almost every country. Kids really love it, and adults don’t mind eating it either. We don’t know exactly how it was prepared in the 17th century 🙂, but it’s not nearly as useful as we’d like it to be.

French fries – Nutrition facts

French fries have high energy value, low protein content and medium fat. High carbs and very low sugar and low level of fibre. French fries have a very high glycemic index which is bad for your blood sugar levels. Close to medium level of potassium and medium vitamin B6 and low magnesium.

Why french fries are not good for you

Deep-frying is a common cooking method used all over the world. It is often used in restaurants and fast food chains as a quick and inexpensive way to prepare food.


Key factors which make french fries bad

Sometimes you just want to have fried potatoes, because they’re so convenient and delicious. But what’s inside the fries?

A rich source of carcinogens

Burnt fries soaked in oil from an unknown source are bad for people’s health, full stop. This is due to the deadly combination of simple carbohydrates in boiling and burnt oil. In addition to these components, frying leads to the formation of carcinogenic poisons.

Another problem is that in most places where fries are sold, the oil is not changed regularly. Boiled oil or oil that has been heated, cooled and reheated oxidises, stagnates and becomes something to be avoided.

Causes a risk of high blood sugar levels

High heat destroys the starch in potatoes. Starch is a complex carbohydrate that is very good for our bodies. It is an important source of energy for the body, and it is also used by the body to store energy for later use. It can also help to regulate blood sugar levels and promote feelings of fullness and satiety. As a result of cooking potatoes so harshly, you end up with a simple carbohydrate with a high glycemic index of 75 or higher on your plate. These foods cause severe blood sugar spikes that you may not even be aware of. Eating these foods regularly can lead to high blood sugar and eventually diabetes.

Potato. Glycemic Index Source:

French fries. Experiment by our expert

We introduce one of our Healthypedia personal testers. Michael Freeman is a big health enthusiast, has a great shape in his 50s, and is metabolically healthy! He tested french fries for us with his continuous glucose monitor. Let’s look at the results and read Michael’s impression of french fries.
McDonald's French Fries Big Glucose Test Result Nutrition
Blood glucose

I haven’t been to Mcdonald’s for ages. But Healthypedia editors make a special request to test french fries. Moreover, they requested to test the exact version of this product – french fries from Mcdonald’s. I tried to come there as a spy 🙂 Nobody should recognise me and say ‘This guy who promotes a healthy lifestyle eats at McDonald’s.’ I’ve ordered the Big size. And ate it immediately. What should I say? It was tasty. But based on my test results – nasty. Just french fries, no burgers, not a drop of sugary ketchup. My glucose level spiked sky-high after eating plain french fries. It lasted much longer than usual. I can’t explain this reaction in my body but this is what I got. Don’t recommend this meal to anybody. But this is only my opinion.

Healthypedia - Michael Freeman
Michael Freeman Health and Longevity Enthusiast, 50

Trans fats in deep-fried foods can cause dementia

Studying 1,628 Japanese elderly people without dementia, aged 60 and over, for 10 years investigated whether serum elaidic acid blood levels can be used as an objective biomarker to assess the risk of dementia. The regular blood tests showed that 377 participants had a higher risk of developing all-cause dementia.

Trans fats are created during the process of hydrogenation, in which liquid vegetable oils are converted into semi-solid or solid fats. This process adds hydrogen atoms to the oil molecules, which causes them to change shape and become more saturated.

When french fries are prepared in a commercial setting, they are often fried in partially hydrogenated oils, which contain trans fats. This is because these oils have a higher smoke point than non-hydrogenated oils, which means that they can be heated to higher temperatures without breaking down. However, the use of these oils increases the trans fat content of the fries, which can be harmful to health when consumed in large amounts.

Note from Healthypedia

Trans fats are known to raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels, which can increase the risk of heart disease. Trans fats can also increase inflammation in the body and contribute to the development of other health conditions such as type 2 diabetes. Consuming large amounts of trans fats over a long period of time can increase the risk of obesity, stroke, and other health problems.

Encourages us to eat more than we should

Tasty food disrupts our ability to feel full so we always want to eat more of it. Our satiety system which signals us that we’re full weakens when we eat fried and salty foods.

There are evolutionary explanations for this. For example, fried and salty foods give the body what used to be less available to us – calories and salt. Today we do not have these limitations, but we are still ‘programmed’ to eat more of these foods.

Another problem is the way they’re cut. When we eat slices of whole potatoes we can estimate the right amount to eat. With french fries, we can’t. We can reach the amount of four potatoes in a portion of french fries without knowing that this is the amount we’re eating.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to estimate the exact amount of calories and sugar that people consume in addition to fries, as it can vary greatly depending on factors such as serving size, type of fries and what is eaten with. That’s pretty impressive, isn’t it? But not in a good way.


Plays the role of an excuse to eat more extra unhealthy stuff

Eating french fries regularly can lead you off a healthy diet and serve as an excuse to consume ketchup, salt and other sauces that contain sugar or have artificial flavours, aromas, preservatives and saturated fats. And we bet you don’t want more added sugar in your meal.

Most of the factors listed above steer a person towards weight gain, obesity, diabetes and other health issues.

Some key factors that are not so bad

Although french fries aren’t great for your health, there are still a couple of good things to say about the potato itself.

1Potatoes have some benefits

They are relatively low in calories, are a great source of potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6, and are always available compared to other plant foods.

These minerals and vitamins are linked to lower blood pressure and the occurrence of cardiovascular disease. Potatoes also contain antioxidants. Thus, when boiling, baking or roasting them with the peel, we lose fewer antioxidants.

So the main problem is not the potatoes, but their preparation. Baking them with olive oil and spices is much nicer and healthier. Always look for healthier options.

2French fries are tasty. No doubt

French fries are a popular food and their taste is often cited as one of the reasons for their popularity.

3French fries are relatively cheap

French fries are inexpensive compared to many other products. They are made from potatoes that are widely available and cheap. The process of making french fries is simple and does not require a lot of expensive ingredients or equipment.

This combination of inexpensive ingredients and a simple production process makes french fries rather cheap foodstuffs. This is why it is often referred to as a fast food staple and can be found in many fast food restaurants and street food outlets.

Healthy alternatives

Give up french fries completely, especially in fast food restaurants. If you can’t give them up completely, then follow these tips 🙂

  • A full-scale substitution for potato lovers could be sweet potatoes. It’s definitely a better option.

  • If you love potatoes and want to reduce the sugar spike – switch to boiled potatoes or eat them cold. Sorry about this advice, we understand that this could be a serious trade-off.

  • To reduce trans fats and sodium – make your own french fries, not from fast food restaurants. Use oil to fry and control the amount of salt you use in cooking. And live a longer life.

  • To make a dish more nutritious – add some spices, such as paprika. Garlic is very good option as well.

And voila, you have a healthier alternative to restaurant fast food on your plate.


Regular consumption of french fries leads to high consumption of trans fats, high blood sugar, and weight gain, and provokes you to eat more salt, sauces and ketchup with added sugar and various preservatives. Quite a lot and not healthy. Be careful every time you consider choosing french fries, as the price for your health is too high for immediate pleasure. And don’t forget that there are some better alternatives.

Hungry for knowledge? Here is more

The popular Doctor Eric Berg shares some interesting info about why french fries are so addictive. Dr Berg is a chiropractor who specializes in Healthy Ketosis & Intermittent Fasting. He is the author of the best-selling book ‘The Healthy Keto Plan’ and is the director of Dr Berg Nutritionals.

Healthypedia FAQ

French fries are thin slices of potato that are fried until crispy. They are a popular fast food item and are often served as a side dish.

No, sweet potato fries are made from sweet potatoes and have a different texture and flavor than French fries made from white potatoes.

French fries should be consumed immediately after cooking for best taste and texture.

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