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Consumption of French fries and risk of death

Is it time to stop serving French fries in your office cafeteria?

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While it’s no groundbreaking news that fried foods aren’t good for us, new research has specifically focused on the consumption of fried potatoes, and linked it to an increased risk of premature death.

Published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers studied the impact of having both fried and unfried potatoes in a North American cohort of 4,400 participants aged 45-79. The participants’ were classified according to frequency of consumption: ≤1 time/month, two–three times/month, once a week, two times/week, or ≥3 times/week, with follow up data for eight years.

During the eight-year follow-up, it was found that 236 participants passed away.

After adjusting for factors to reduce bias in this data (confounders), and taking into account those with the lowest consumption of potatoes, participants with the highest consumption of potatoes did not show an increased risk of overall mortality.

However, subgroup analyses indicated that people who consumed fried potatoes two-three a week (hazard ratio of 1.95), or greater than three times a week (hazard ratio of 2.26), were at an increased risk of mortality. Hazard ratio here refers to the probability of death. For example, a hazard ratio of two is thought to mean that a group has twice the chance of dying than a comparison group.

Notable also is the fact that eating unfried potatoes was not associated with an increased mortality risk.

As with all health-related news, this is not medical advice. Please treat the research findings with a pinch of salt, and keep all factors into account. This research does not, for example, specify what else the participants with higher mortality rates were eating, apart from fried potatoes.

Photo / 123RF

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