Q: Can a healthy person eat French fries?
Oz Says: You might want to take a seat for this one. Ready?
You know fries aren't a health food. A large order of fast-food fries can run you 400 calories or more, plus sodium and saturated fats to boot. (At some sit-down spots, you might find a side in the 300-cal range, but unless you see nutritional info, don't bet on it.)
There's some good news, though. From fiber to potassium to vitamin C, various nutrients carry over from fries' whole-potato origins. Also, pairing a carbohydrate with a fat — here, potato plus oil — can lower its glycemic index. The result: fewer hunger pangs later, says Jay-Lin Jane, PhD, a starch expert and professor at Iowa State University's Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.
When you do get fries, order the smallest size available, and share it with other fry lovers at the table. (They won't be hard to find.) Better yet, make 'em yourself, so you'll know exactly what's in there. Baked fries made with olive oil beat the usual deep-fried ones in my book. And as for sweet potato fries, are they really better for you? A little bit — you'll get a bigger dose of beta-carotene and fiber. But if they're deep-fried, they're not significantly healthier, nutritionists say.
This story originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.
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