Premature Death Now Linked to Eating Fried Potatoes… Experts Agree


Because it is an experimental investigation, Veronese and his co-authors note it cannot be said that eating fried potatoes directly leads to a premature death — it would involve further investigation to make such a solid conclusion.

“Even if it is an experimental investigation, we conclude that the cooking oil, rich in trans-fat, is an essential component in explaining mortality in those ingesting more potatoes,” suggested Veronese.

Trans fat has been determined to increase the “bad,” or LDL, cholesterol in the blood, which can lead to cardiovascular disease.

premature death
Yet, he further added that “other vital aspects,” including obesity, an inactive lifestyle and use of high quantities of salt might also play a role in the premature death of those eating two or more portions of fried potatoes each week.

National Potato Council CEO John Keeling said the “study isn’t relevant to the general population” since the data was gathered for an osteoarthritis study and consists of only subjects with arthritis.


“Potatoes are naturally a truly healthy vegetable,” said Keeling in an email. He suggested a medium-sized potato is 110 calories, has no fat, no sodium, no cholesterol, and yields approximately a third of the daily vitamin C requirement with more potassium than a banana.

“How the potato is processed will impact the calorie, fat and sodium content,” said Keeling, however, the main nutrients remain “no matter how it is prepared.”

Based on the data in the research, Keeling said, “it is very much a stretch to brand fried potatoes, or any other form of potato, as unhealthy.”

Susanna Larsson, an associate professor at the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, indicated that the new research provides “no evidence” that potato consumption in and of itself may heighten the risk of a premature death. Larsson was not involved in the new research.

Instead, it may be the “other influences” recommended by Veronese himself. “Fried potato consumption may be a signal of a less healthy (Western) dietary pattern which is correlated with increased mortality,” said Larsson, who also managed a study of potato consumption.

Her research did not identify an increased risk of cardiovascular disease related to eating potatoes.

Understanding acrylamide

The possible threat when eating fried starchy foods, such as French fries, is acrylamide, said Stephanie Schiff, a certified dietitian at Northwell Health’s Huntington Hospital in Huntington, New York. Schiff was not involved in the study.

premature death
Acrylamide is “a chemical formed when starchy foods such as potatoes are fried, roasted or baked at an excessive temperature,” pointed out Schiff in an email.
The browning process is really a reaction that forms this chemical one shown to produce cancer in lab animals and believed to be harmful to humans, suggested Schiff. Acrylamide is also a probable cause of cancer, she added.
“You can cut down your intake of acrylamide by boiling or steaming starchy foodsrather than frying them,” stated Schiff. “If you do fry foodsdo it immediately.”
She further proposed you “go lighter” since “the darker the food, the more acrylamide it may consist of.”

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Finally, Schiff claimed that potatoes should not be kept in the refrigerator because this could contribute to developing further acrylamide when the potatoes are later cooked.
“Raise your intake of fruits and vegetables for a healthier alternative,” added Schiff. Veronese said he wishes his recent study will suggest to everyone that consuming fried potatoes “could be a critical risk factor for fatality. Therefore, their consumption should be greatly reduced.”

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