French fries have come under increasing scrutiny due to new studies suggesting that higher intake may raise your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.
In observational studies, higher intake of French fries is linked to an increased risk of weight gain and obesity (23, 24).
One study associated an additional daily serving of French fries with gaining 3.35 pounds (1.5 kg) over a four-year period (25).
Studies also suggest that eating French fries at least once or twice a week may double the risk of food addiction in adults and children (26, 27).
These observational studies don’t prove that French fries were what really contributed to weight gain or food addiction, but they do suggest that it may be wise to limit your intake.
Type 2 Diabetes
French fries and sweet potato fries are both rich in carbohydrates, which raise your blood sugar.
The glycemic index (GI) — a measure of a food’s potential blood sugar impact — is 76 for fried sweet potatoes and 70 for fried white potatoes on a 100-point scale (28).
These are moderately-high values and suggest that both types of fries may raise your blood sugar similarly (29).
In an observational study, people who reported eating 3 or more servings of French fries per week had a 19% higher risk of type 2 diabetes, regardless of their body weight (30).
Additionally, a review of eight studies linked each daily 5.4-ounce (150-gram) increase in the consumption of French fries with a 66% higher risk of type 2 diabetes (31).
Though these studies don’t prove that fries increase diabetes risk, it may be wise to cut back on both types if you’re trying to lower your blood sugar.
Some observational studies suggest that a higher intake of fried foods may increase heart disease risk — though studies haven’t been able to pinpoint French fries as a culprit (24, 32, 33, 34).
Still, if you frequently eat fries, you may be more likely to develop heart disease risk factors, such as obesity and high blood pressure (24).
In a large observational study, people who ate 4 or more servings of French fries per week had a 17% higher risk of high blood pressure, compared to people who ate fewer than one serving per month (35).
The reasons behind these findings are uncertain but may be related to weight gain, which may increase high blood pressure risk (36, 37, 38).
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