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Health & Medical

BEYOND TRIM: Follow the french fry rule

Tubers’ nutritional value goes down the tubes when they go into the grease

Sherry DeWalt of CGH Medical Center
Sherry DeWalt of CGH Medical Center

Who doesn’t love french fries? Their hot, crispy deliciousness is the perfect blend of salt, fat, and sugar (from the potatoes) that can make them highly addictive.

Although we may love them, there are a lot of good reasons to avoid french fries – and pretty much all fried foods in general.

• Acrylamide – Acrylamide is a chemical that can be produced when foods like potatoes are heated to high temperatures in the presence of certain sugars contained in the food. Studies have found that acrylamide exposure increases the risk for several types of cancer.

• Fat – A potato is not an unhealthy food. But while a 4-ounce serving of plain russet potato contains only 147 calories, zero fat, a decent amount of fiber, plus vitamin C and potassium, the same size serving of french fries contains 340 calories, and 16 grams of artery-clogging fat.

• Chemicals and additives – The typical fast-food fried potato is loaded with chemicals and preservatives, some of which have nothing to do with the food itself. One of the chemical additives in the french fry recipe for the biggest fast food franchise you can think of is there to keep the oil from foaming during the frying process.None of these substances are good for you.

I used to eat french fries quite often. But given the facts, I really wanted to avoid them. Hence the genesis of the french fry rule.

Knowing how my brain works I knew that if I just told myself to never eat them it would mean I would start craving them. I talked to my husband about this and we came up with the idea that we would eat french fries only on vacation.We call this the french fry rule.

By looking at it this way I turned fries into something I could look forward to on special occasions. I apply the same thinking to birthday cake, BLT sandwiches, corn dogs, and pecan pie at Thanksgiving.

Fair warning, though: If you go long enough without consuming fried foods, you might find that you don’t enjoy them quite as much when you do eat them. That might just make it easier to give them up for good.

I should also mention that I am a fan of potatoes in all forms, whether it be russet, red skin, Yukon gold, purple or sweet potatoes.

I consume potatoes that are prepared in healthier ways, though, like steamed, baked, boiled, or roasted.

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