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French Fries

By Xin Chang

Today, french fries contribute to one third of total vegetables which many kids consume. This is alarming, considering the unhealthy effects they can have on a person’s development.

Although fried food is tasty, trans fat is what turns a simple potato into a bad food that can cause heart disease, diabetes or cancer. There are good and bad fats in our food. While good fats such as coconut oil and olive oil have protective efforts on health, the bad fats like trans fats are directly linked to the clogging of arteries. Trans-fat, hydrogenated fat or partially hydrogenated fats can be found in margarines, vegetable shortening, or the fat used to fry french fries. This will raise levels of bad cholesterol or low density lipoprotein. When consumed, these bad fats create sticky little platelets in blood streams to clot to the artery walls to reduce oxygen and nutrition supply to our vital organs, which eventually succumbs to stroke or a heart attack.

The potato itself is a good food in its natural state, but the way we cook and eat them can be detrimental to our health. Potatoes are rich in starch, and they are made up of simple carbohydrates which easily converted to sugar when we consume them. When we eat sugar or simple carb foods, our insulin production will increase to rise blood pressure and convert them to fat if we do not use them quickly after eat them. This spike of insulin production is the main contributor to developing heart diseases and diabetes.

Fried food in hydrogenated oils like soybean, canola and corn oil are also damaging our health. These polyunsaturated fats become rancid with the constant heating and reheating that degrades their structure. The unnatural and heat damaged fats are strongly implicated in causing inflammation in our body which becomes the starting point of many common health issues. French fries also contain significant levels of a potentially dangerous substance called acrylamide. An EFSA statement said that acrylamide is both carcinogenic (potentially cancer-causing) and genotoxic (can cause damage to the genetic material of our cells). From these reports of the disadvantages to French Fries, it would be best to avoid eating these fried potato sticks frequently.

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