Eric Rimm, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health, made the comments in an interview with the New York Times earlier this week. He reasons that the average serve at a restaurant or fast food chain has little to no nutrient value and is so full of starch it’s practically a “weapon of dietary destruction.”
“There aren’t a lot of people who are sending back three-quarters of an order of fries,” he told the publication. “I think it would be nice if your meal came with a side salad and six French fries.” He also took the opportunity to lament American’s love of fried food, adding: “It’s too bad in this country you’ll pry them from my cold dead hand.”
Naturally, the Internet isn't having a bar of it.
It’s no secret that fries aren’t exactly a superfood. Potatoes are pretty high in calories, and when we dehydrate them it only reduces the amount of healthy nutrients – like vitamin C – they contain. Plus, a lot of the time, they’re fried in partially hydrogenated oils which are no good for the heart.
That said, not everyone backs up Rimm’s recommendation.
“Putting restrictions on food — whether it’s physical restrictions like ‘eat just X french fries’ or mental restrictions ‘french fries are bad for me’ — is what causes cravings and overeating,” nutrition therapist Alissa Rumsey told Yahoo US. “When we perceive a food to be bad or off-limits, or feel like we can only have a small amount, our body senses the scarcity and responds by making our cravings increase and raises the chance that we overeat.”
Instead, she advises we think of fries like “cake or pie – they’re OK in small amounts as the very occasional treat.”