Sad news for everyone who loves french fries (so basically, for everyone).
A recent study has found that eating fried potatoes is linked to a higher risk of early death.
You can bring out the Kleenex now.
The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that people who eat fried potatoes two or more times a week double their risk of early death compared to those who avoid fried potatoes.
I know what you're thinking: If you avoid fried potatoes, are you really even living?
If eating french fries doubles the risk of death, than there is a double chance that I may die doing what I enjoy.— Rodney J (@RodneyJHicks) June 15, 2017
Then again, the fact that eating fried food is detrimental to health isn't exactly a big old shocker. We didn't really need this study to deduce that food deep fried in oil is harmful to our health.
But why did they have to target poor french fries, and not say, onion rings?
Still, although many people may have already assumed that fried potatoes are unhealthy, there is “very limited” scientific data on this topic, wrote Dr. Nicola Veronese, the lead author of the study, according to CNN.
Luckily, eating potatoes that are not fried was not linked to a similar early death risk, according to researchers.
Phew. So, baked potatoes and mashed potatoes seem to be safe. At least for now.
"Fried potatoes consumption is increasing worldwide," warned Veronese, per CNN.
According to the USDA, potatoes are the most commonly consumed vegetables in the U.S., partly thanks to the popularity of french fries.
The study tracked 4,440 people ages 45 to 79 over a period of eight years and divided participants into subgroups based on how many times a week they ate fried potatoes.
Over the span of eight years, 236 of the participants died. In analyzing the data, Veronese and his team discovered that the participants who ate fried potatoes two to three times each week doubled their chance of early death compared to those who ate none.
If you’re already tearing up, keep in mind that this is just an observational study, which has not established a direct causation between early mortality and eating fried potatoes.
"Even if it is an observational study, we believe that the cooking oil, rich in trans-fat, is an important factor in explaining mortality in those eating more potatoes," added Veronese.
John Keeling, the CEO of the National Potato Council (yes, that’s a thing) said the "study isn't relevant to the general population" because the data was collected primarily for an osteoarthritis study and only includes patients with arthritis, according to CNN.
Either way, don't despair too much. A few french fries here or there probably won't kill you. Probably.
You can also try to make healthier fries at home by using heart-healthy olive oil, a minimal amount of salt, and even baking rather than frying. Win win.