Want fries with that?


Fried, baked, or mashed: Who doesn't love potatoes?

But the ubiquitous tuber has gotten a bad rap in recent years. So, is it healthy or not healthy?

I posed this question to registered dietitian Kim Larson.

"I think it's really important to remember that potatoes in and of themselves, very nutritious," says Larson. "Highly nutritious carbohydrate for us to eat. And can be eaten and enjoyed in a balanced diet."

Potatoes are loaded with fiber, potassium, vitamin C and are low calorie.

However, Larson reminds me, how you choose to eat them is what matters to your health.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states "The frequent consumption of fried potatoes appears to be associated with an increased mortality risk. Additional studies in larger sample sizes should be performed to confirm if overall potato consumption is associated with higher mortality risk."

Larson says the study looks at two different factors in the association of eating fried potatoes and the connection to early mortality.

"The first thing is restaurants fry their potatoes at very high temperatures," Larson adds the second issue is the choice of oils used for frying.

Corn oil, for example, is commonly used for deep frying potatoes. Corn oil is high in polyunsaturated fats, which can create harmful compounds when heated.

"When we fry foods at high temperatures, for a long period of time, we can create acrylamides," Larson explains. "And they promote illness."

Acrylamides are thought to be carcinogenic, so you want to minimize consumption of deep fried foods.

Larson recommends you stick with boiling, roasting, or baking potatoes, and of course keep the butter, cheese and sour cream to a minimum if you want to protect your heart and your waistline.

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