Living healthy by eating healthy is very different from how we did it more than 20 years ago, the time when our parents would cook French fries for us for our snack because they said it was good for our body. They would tell us that it was the healthiest and most delicious food ever invented in the kitchen of Belgian families in the late 1600s – the crispy, golden potato fries that tasted like heaven in every bite.
But that was 20 years ago before these fries were under the scrutiny of health scientists and were found to contain cancer-causing properties and could increase the risk of mortality. Now, French fries are considered one of the most popular unhealthy foods which are actually deadly.
According to Jyothsna Bhat, PsyD, “Kids are resilient and will be able to cope with the changes and structure parents provide, as long as they are consistent. ”
Deadly French Fries
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported the result of an investigation conducted by the research team from England, Italy, the U.S., and Spain. They studied 4400 participants with ages ranging between 45 and 79 years of age. They followed their dietary patterns and health for more than eight years. And 236 of those involved in the research died by the end of the study.
Researchers said that it was not the number of potatoes consumed, but the preparation. Fried potatoes increased the mortality rate by twofold.
Bonnie Zucker, PsyD said “It’s never easy to see a child experiencing pain, sadness, even loss.”
Carcinogen In French Fries
The acrylamide is known to be a carcinogen in the animal laboratory when consumed in high amounts. Researchers discovered that French fries are one of those foods we commonly eat that contain acrylamide. That came as quite a shock to the food industry and even ended up in the courtroom. Because of this conundrum, FDA urged the industry to minimize acrylamide in their food products. They even offered tips on how to reduce intake at home by lessening the fried food they consume, toasting bread to light instead of the well-loved dark brown.
Other Reasons To Avoid French Fries
- The Bad Fats. Fried foods are delicious, but the bad fats that turn the potato into that mouthwatering golden brown is a time bomb for diabetes, obesity, cancer, and heart problems. We are very much aware of the good and bad fats in the food we consume. Good fats may be suitable for our health, but the bad fats will cause clogging in the arteries. Bad fats increase the body’s cholesterol level, and they also stay longer in our system which is not good for our good cholesterol.
When your child consumes bad fats, it causes the platelets in his blood to be stickier which can form into clots attached on the walls of the arteries that supply vital parts of the body with oxygenated blood. The clogged arteries will eventually lead to having a heart attack or stroke.
Deniz Ahmadinia, PsyD said “Parenting can become just one of many, many tasks on our endless to-do lists, another task to get through, so we can move on to the next thing.”
- The Bad Carbohydrates. Potatoes in their natural state are all good for the body. It becomes harmful to us because of the way we eat them. Potato is starch composed of simple carbohydrates. When we consume potatoes, they are more easily converted into sugar which provides our body energy in an instant, which we should use up either by exercising or by being active. When these carbohydrates are not used, they will be stored in fats causing weight gain or obesity. And since the carbohydrates are converted into sugar, frequent consumption of these carbs will cause a spike in insulin production making us prone to developing diabetes.
You may think that your child needs lots of carbs because of his activity, but there are better sources of carbs than French fries. Nutritionists even recommend the consumption of whole grains as a much healthier option.
- The Trans Fats. Besides the good and bad fats mentioned above, there are also what we call damaged fats, or fats made through the chemical process of hydrogenated oils, which can also act as carcinogens in the body.
Though experts are still in the process of studying this comfort food further, findings mentioned above are, I think, enough reasons why we should keep ourselves from giving French fries to our kids unless you believe that giving them what they want is far more important than guarding their health.
As mentioned earlier, it is not the potato that is the culprit but how it is prepared. Try baking your potatoes which is a much healthier option topped with olive oil. It can also be as tasty by adding low-fat cottage cheese or a little amount of sour cream. You can also try having yams and sweet potatoes which are higher in fibers and micronutrients.
Once you stop giving your children their favorite French fries, they will surely ask why. Be prepared to explain to them why it is necessary for them to avoid French fries. They will understand it better if you teach them by example. I know how much you love French fries, too, but I know you love your children more.