3 Reasons to STOP Eating Fast Food Fries Today

Can’t you just smell them now? There is just something about fast food french fries that makes you want them once you smell them. Even if you know they are not the healthiest option, do you feel driven to eat at least a small order, or nibble on your kids’ when they are not looking? No matter how you slice the potato… french fries are indeed one of America’s favorite foods.

According to Eric Scholosser’s book, Fast Food Nation, McDonald’s french fries were cooked in a mixture of 7% cottonseed oil and 93% beef tallow until the attack on saturated fat caused them to switch to all-vegetable oil, plus secret “natural ingredients,” in 1990. This switch, made McDonald’s french fries more dangerous than ever, contrary to what the FDA was telling us.

Vegetable Oils

If you think that you are getting a freshly cut potato fried in “healthy” vegetable oil when you order your fast food fries, think again. While it has taken years, it is finally being recognized that trans fat is very damaging to your health. Trans fat is made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil, and has been implicated in such health conditions as:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Infertility
  • Premature aging

Although many fast food chains have stopped frying in hydrogenated oils, some continue to use them for french fries and other fried foods. Another concern is that the oil that these fries are being cooked in is likely to be derived from genetically modified corn, soy or cottonseed.

94% of soy, 90% of cotton and 88% of corn in the United States is GMO. It is surprising that one would even have to question the safety of a process that introduces genetic material from viruses and bacteria into food crops.

Monsanto even states on their website that GMO foods are plants and animals that have had their genetic makeup changed so that they demonstrate traits that are not natural.

GMO foods have not been tested in depth for safety, but tests on animals have indicated cause for concern. There have also been many studies conducted by the National Academy of Sciences that warn that genetically engineered foods have the potential to pollute the environment and our bodies with toxins.

Proponents of GMO foods say that we have eaten these foods for years without suffering any ill consequences; however, there has been no monitoring of these foods to determine their risk. Unfortunately, it does not look like this is going to happen anytime soon.

Natural and Artificial Flavor

The food flavor industry is an underground movement that operates behind closed doors. Both artificial and natural flavorings are concocted in a laboratory by blending a variety of ingredients together. According to Gary Reineccius, a food and science nutrition professor at the University of Minnesota, artificial flavorings are simpler, cheaper and easier to produce than natural flavorings, so foods that contain natural flavors are often more expensive.

However, more expensive does not mean healthy or safe. Although they may make up less than 5% of the food ingredients, both artificial and natural flavorings are created to hijack the brain – to encourage us to want more and more and to become food “junkies.”


friesIf these two reasons are not enough for you to give up your fries, perhaps knowing that starchy foods such as potatoes that are cooked above 245 degrees F release cancer-causing chemicals known as acrylamides. Animal studies have confirmed that acrylamides cause tumors to form.

The National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer consider acrylamides to be a “probable human carcinogen,” based on studies in laboratory animals given acrylamides in drinking water.

Obviously, the best way to avoid all of the dangers of fast food french fries is to stop eating them. If, however, you really want the french fry experience, there are a couple of things you can do.

Make your own healthy fries by changing your oil – try coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. Coconut oil does not break down at high heats and gives fries a rich and tasty flavor. You can also make baked sweet potato fries in the oven, which are a nutritious alternative to traditional french fries.

The next time your nose gets a whiff of the intoxicating, chemically induced flavors of fast food fries, pinch it shut, walk on by and remind yourself that health comes first!

-The Alternative Daily


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