It’s one of life’s greatest betrayals: that potatoes are vegetables but aren’t really good for you, especially when julienned and fried.
An alleged expert (OK, he is a legitimate expert) this week sent the internet into a tizzy when he suggested American restaurants shouldn’t serve patrons more than six French fries per plate.
Eric Rimm, a professor in the departments of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, called potatoes “starch bombs,” in an interview with the New York Times.
As Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi tweeted, I don’t have time for this kind of negativity in my life right now — or ever.
I don’t have time for this kind of negativity in my life right now https://t.co/zFCFvhKMD2
— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) December 4, 2018
Lakshmi wasn’t alone in expressing her confusion, even disgust, at Rimm’s serving size suggestion. I mean, really, six French fries? That’s one bite.
Comedian Mike Birbiglia said they must have made a typo, and meant 600 fries. That’s reasonable.
Twitter user Joan Young, a true heroine and patriot, said she eats six per bite. Same.
I eat 6 per bite!!
— Joan Young (@HandleFlier) December 5, 2018
Rimm suffered the wrath of carb-addicted Americans and had to defend his own credentials at one point. He clarified that his idea was just a suggestion for restaurants to serve a salad as a side dish. The six fries would satiate patrons’ craving for starchy, fried, golden goodness, apparently.
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
Potatoes rank near the bottom of healthful vegetables and lack the compounds and nutrients found in green leafy vegetables, he said. If you take a potato, remove its skin (where at least some nutrients are found), cut it, deep fry the pieces in oil and top it all off with salt, cheese, chili or gravy, that starch bomb can be turned into a weapon of dietary destruction.
A study last year in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition noted that potatoes have a high glycemic index, which has been linked to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The study found that, controlling for other risk factors, participants who ate fried potatoes two to three times a week were at a higher risk of mortality compared with those who ate unfried potatoes.
Dr. Nicola Veronese, of Padua, Italy, who was one of the study’s authors, said he and his colleagues were surprised at the amount of french fries that Americans consumed compared with the amount consumed by people in other countries.
Conclusion: Americans need to learn portion control.
In the United States, potatoes are the most consumed vegetable, with Americans eating an average of 115.6 pounds of white potatoes a year, of which two-thirds are in the form of french fries, potato chips and other frozen or processed potato …read more