a portion of fries should only contain six, a harvard professor has declared - sparking veritable outrage.
both crunchy and soft, coated in salty oil, little fried sticks of potato have been a source of joy for humankind since the 1700s, when (it’s believed) they were first invented.
for most, six fries is just the beginning.
but professor eric rimm, of harvard university’s nutrition department, says they are ’starch bombs’ and half a dozen should be our limit. after that we should sate our appetite with salad if we want to avoid life-threatening heart conditions.
dr rimm’s comments, in an article for the new york times this week, prompted predictable furor online, but the medical community warns he has a good point.
heart disease rates are rising, and progress to prevent heart disease deaths has slowed.
why? our penchant for fatty, greasy, salty, sugary food - in monumentally vast proportions - and distaste for exercise.
in the last 25 years, the average serving size in any given establishment has doubled or tripled. bagels are now six inches wide, not three; a medium bag of popcorn is 11 cups, not five; and a soda is 20 ounces not 6.5.
a serving of fries is meant to be capped at around 15. these days, most restaurants serve around 55.
dr rimm’s advice is partly based on a recent study in the american journal of clinical nutrition by italian researchers, who found people who avoided fries altogether lived six months longer than those who indulged.
people who ate fries two or three times a week had (unsurprisingly) higher risks of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
for most americans, dr rimm laments, taking away their fries is no easy feat.
and true to form, the reaction to the new york times article was lively.
what kind of mad man would want six french [sic] fries? i get it, they are bad for you, but eating six sounds like torture,’ one person tweeted, adding: ’i’d rather not have them at all. but we all know that’s not going to happen.’
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