Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Why You Should Avoid French Fries?

Most people, especially kids, like to eat French fries simply because they are delicious. Americans now eat an average of 4 servings of French fries every week for every man, woman and child.

French fries contain primarily carbohydrates from the potato and fat absorbed during the deep-frying process. A large serving of French fries at McDonald’s in the Untied States is 5.4 ounces (154 grams). The serving offers nearly 500 calories that are derived from the 63 grams of carbohydrates and the 25 grams of fat. A serving also contains 6 grams of protein and 350 milligrams of sodium (salt).

Nowadays, French fries are usually fried in partially hydrogenated oil that adds Trans fat. Trans fat increases low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol) and decreases high-density lipoprotein (HDL or good cholesterol). Eating too much French fries will cause people to become overweight or even obese., which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In addition, consuming food rich in Trans fat might raise the risk of getting heart disease, high bad cholesterol, lower good cholesterol, high blood pressure, and stroke.

On November 13, 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that crispy French fries are more likely to contain a chemical called acrylamide that might be associated with a higher risk of getting cancer.

According to the Grocery Manufacturers Association, acrylamide is found in about 40 percent of the calories consumed in a standard American diet. While frying, roasting or baking tends to produce acrylamide, boiling or steaming foods typically do not. Besides potato, other foods that contain acrylamide include cereals, coffee, crackers, breads (especially toasted bread) and dried fruits.

Acrylamide forms naturally in plant-based foods when they are cooked at high temperature for a long time. It is usually found in such fried foods as French fries. It is produced from a chemical reaction from the sugars and an amino called asparagine, which is found in many grains and vegetables. Potatoes have a particularly high amount of it. Acrylamide is used primarily for industrial purposes like producing paper, dyes and plastics, and treating drinking water, wastewater and sewage.

Scientists first found acrylamide in food in 2002. Animal studies have shown that high levels of acrylamide are linked to an increased risk of cancer, although long-term studies have not yet been done in humans. 

Avoid eating food that is crispy or burnt, as advised by the FDA. The dark brown or black areas on foods are more likely to contain acrylamide. Meanwhile, potatoes should be kept in a dark and cool place like a pantry. Keeping potatoes in the fridge can simply increase the amount of acrylamide produced during cooking.

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