Drawbacks of French Fries: Revealing the Less-Than-Tasty Side

French fries grace the table of many restaurant diners and fast-food places, while many people buy bags and bags of frozen fries to make at home. But have you ever considered the nutritional profile of fries?

There are several disadvantages of french fries, such as being high in calories, which may lead to weight gain. Fried foods usually contain toxic chemicals and high sodium. Also, it’s recommended that pregnant women limit their french fries consumption.

Before you indulge in your next order of french fries, read further to discover why you should avoid (or limit) those fries. 

These are 18 disadvantages and drawbacks of French fries.

1. Fries Are High in Calories.

Between the starch in the potatoes and the fat they are fried in, french fries have many calories. One side of regular french fries has around 390 calories. You’ll need to run about 40 minutes (or cycle for almost an hour) just to burn that!  

2. Fries May Lead to Weight Gain.

Not only are fries high in calories, but they are also high in carbohydrates, which can lead to weight gain if consumed regularly. The starches/carbs can raise insulin, which tells the body to store more fat.

One side of regular french fries contain 49 grams of carbs, and for anyone following a low carb diet, this amount is almost the equivalent to a full day’s worth of carbs. 

3. French Fries Contain High Amounts of Trans Fats.

Some fats are suitable for the human body, such as coconut and avocado oil, but trans fats are not good and can increase inflammation. Trans fats are a result of when unsaturated fats are hydrogenated. (Think shortening, like Crisco.) 

Most fried foods are fried in trans fats and will absorb the oils they are cooked in. French fries are no exception, as they absorb a lot of the fat they are cooked in.

4. Cancer Risk Increases With Consumption of French Fries.

Acrylamide is a carcinogenic neurotoxin that is found in fried foods that were fried at scorching temperatures. Eating french fries exposes you to this chemical, which may cause cancer over the long term.

5. Eating Fries May Lead to Osteoporosis.

Regular french fries are loaded with a leavening agent high in sodium phosphorus, which can lead to osteoporosis in the body. How it works is that when your body has elevated phosphorus levels, various functions in your body begin breaking down, including bone repair. Osteoporosis is a result of that. 

6. Fries Are Loaded With Pesticides.

While many fast-food restaurants have tried getting away from using potatoes from farmers using pesticides, a study in Minnesota found that up to 10% of pesticides drifted over to potato fields. So those fries may still have a lot of pesticides.

7. Starch May Lead to Diabetes.

Potatoes are mostly starch, which is a simple carbohydrate. Many in the health field agree that simple carbs lead to a quick rise in blood sugar soon after eating, which could lead to diabetes. Pregnant women are advised not to indulge in fries to lower the risk of gestational diabetes.

8. There Is a Greater Risk of High Blood Pressure.

Fried foods are associated with heart disease and high blood pressure. Whether you believe that fats cause high blood pressure, or eating a lot of carbs cause high blood pressure, eating too many french fries could spike your blood pressure. 

9. Food Addictions May Get Aggravated by Eating Fries.

French fries are the fourth most addictive food after carbonated beverages, chocolate, and ice cream. French fries can trigger a binge eating session with those who are more prone to food addictions. Fries, pizza, burgers with the buns, and other triggering foods are a land mine to those with food addictions.

10. Avoid French Fries if You Want to Start a Family.

Eating a lot of fast food and french fries may slow down sperm, affecting the ability to start a family. If you’re a male and want to start a family, you may wish to avoid french fries and other fast food for a while. 

11. Fried Foods Contain Toxic Chemicals.

Restaurants do not usually change the frying oil after every batch of fried food is made. While this makes the food taste better, as the oil bonds to the food better after it breaks down a little, this process releases chemicals that can be harmful when consumed in large quantities. 

12. Heart Disease Increases When Eating Fried Foods.

Like with high blood pressure, fried foods can lead to cardiovascular disease because of the high amounts of trans fats the fries are fried in. Fries also don’t have a lot of fiber, which is known to protect the body against simple starches.

13. French Fries Are Not the Same As Whole Potatoes

Most of the nutrition in the potatoes are in the peelings. When potatoes are peeled and turned into fries, what you mostly have is pure starch, with just a small bit of nutrition. French fries made for commercial use also have sugar and other chemicals added to preserve them until they reach the customer. Whole potatoes do not have all those things added.

14. Pregnant Women Should Avoid French Fries

Due to the carcinogenic substance, acrylamide, coming out when food is fried at extreme temperatures, pregnant women are advised against fried foods, as that chemical can harm her unborn baby. Fetuses are more susceptible to this chemical, as the blood-brain barrier has not been formed yet.

15. Fries Lose Their Flavor When Cold.

Have you ever noticed how fries are delicious right out of the fryer, but quickly lose their flavor once they cool down somewhat? Fries don’t keep their flavor when they cool down. What you’re tasting when they are cold is the cold fat, and cold fat doesn’t taste very good.

16. Fries Are High in Sodium

Fries are heavily salted when they come out of the fryer, so they taste good to the customer. However, the type of salt restaurants use is very high in sodium and may lead to high blood pressure in people who are sensitive to sodium. It can also cause fluid retention, which can create a burden on your heart.

17. French Fries Have a Unique Smell That Not Everyone Appreciates.

Most people love the smell of french fries hot out of the fryer. But, other people have a great aversion to it, simply because of the oil smell. Most of the oil is not as fresh, and it can smell not good to those who are sensitive to it. 

Those who work in the fast-food industry are desensitized to the smell, but to their friends or family who smell them after a long day of work, it can be overpowering.

18. Eating French Fries May Decrease Your Lifespan.

study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate fries two or three times per week had a higher risk of dying earlier.

All Things Considered

French fries are an occasional excellent treat when combined with a healthy diet. However, large amounts of fries could create several health problems if you’re not careful. 

But french fries are comfort food that people go back to again and again. Fortunately, some great substitutes are a little more healthy, which adds more nutrition to your diet. Sweet potato fries (as well as turnips, beets, and other root vegetables) are gaining popularity among trendy restaurants.

If you’re looking to have your fries, consider moving to fries fried in coconut or avocado oil.

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This article was co-authored by our team of writers and editors who share one thing in common: their passion for food and drinks!

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco works as a New York-based editor at Foodrinke, driven by his lifelong love for food. His culinary journey began in childhood, as he eagerly assisted his mother with her local sandwich and bakery business, relishing every opportunity to sample her creations. Known among family and friends as an easy eater, JC has a particular affinity for Chinese, Italian, Mexican, and Peruvian cuisine. At Foodrinke, he channels his passion for food into his work, sharing his enthusiasm and knowledge with readers.