Potatoes are one of the most versatile foods you can eat no matter what time of the day it is. In the familiar words of The Lord of the Rings’ Samwise Gamgee, you can “boil ’em, mash ’em, stick ’em in a stew”, and more. Not only are they a great source of energy, they’re also surprisingly useful for fighting heartburn and even healing some injuries. But a recent portion recommendation for fries by a Harvard professor has got people raising their eyebrows.
According to an article in TODAY Online, Dr Eric Rimm, a professor in the departments of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health said that the ideal amount of fries anyone should is six. Six fries.
“There aren’t a lot of people who are sending back three-quarters of an order of french fries… I think it would be nice if your meal came with a side salad and six french fries,” said Dr Rimm in an interview with The New York Times.
This twitter user sums up most people’s feelings in her tweet:
— Katie Ussin (@KatieUssin) December 3, 2018
But why is the number so low? There are a number of different health factors that support Dr Rimm’s suggestion.
In a study by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, potatoes were found to have a high glycaemic index (GI), meaning they are digested more quickly. A high GI has also been linked to a greater risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
In addition, there was a higher risk of mortality for people who preferred to eat their potatoes fried than those who didn’t.
Ms Lindsay Moyer, a senior nutritionist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, also said that the method in which fries are prepared are not as important as the number you actually eat.
So the obvious solution is to reduce the amount you eat to reduce the risk of these health issues.
If you’re still in disbelief at Dr Rimm’s recommendation, he came out to clarify his statement on quantity.
My suggestion to the NYTimes was that perhaps restaurants should offer a smaller portion size as a tantalizing option to satisfy those with a taste for fries but who don’t want the starch bomb
— Eric Rimm (@EricRimm) December 4, 2018
Basically, you can still enjoy your golden fried potatoes, you just need to drop the amount. Maybe go for a small instead of a large fries the next time you step into McDonalds.
By Gilbert Wong, Men’s Health Content Producer