Scientists often give extremely smart advice that can lead to a better, healthier life for everyone who's willing to take it. Other times, however, they give insane advice that causes a tidal wave of rage to descend on them from the internet.
Eric Rimm from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health made a statement involving french fries in a New York Times article that most definitely fell into the latter category.
Calling people's beloved french fries "starch bombs," Rimm suggested that if people must eat french fries, they should do so in "six fry increments." That, he believes, is the ideal serving size of the snack most people eat 30-40 of without blinking.
Obviously, the internet had some strong feelings about Rimm's comments:
The goal of the article was to make the U.S. public aware of the dangers of our country's most oft-eaten vegetable: potatoes. Though tasty when fried, baked, or cut into chips, potatoes have a high glycemic index, and people who eat french fries two to three times a week "have a higher risk of mortality" than those who simply stay away.
"There aren't a lot of people who are sending back three-quarters of an order of French fries. I think it would be nice if your meal came with a side salad and six French fries."
The average American eats 115.6 pounds of potatoes a year, 66.6% of which are french fries and potato chips. However, even the U.S. agriculture department believes an ideal serving of fries should be only 12-15 pieces, which is better than six but still far less than most of us consume alongside a tasty burger.
Nutritionists know how bad we want a few more fries, and so recommend forgoing condiments if we simply can't contain ourselves. And if we absolutely can't stop ourselves from using condiments, they ask us to think about which we use. Mayonnaise has 10 times more calories than ketchup, though if you're dipping your french fries in mayonnaise, you may have some bigger problems in your life.
The National Institutes of Health classifies french fries as "WHOA" foods, meaning they should be eaten "once in a while."
So the next time you go to your favorite burger joint, remember to order your standard burger, drink, and no more than six french fries. It's time to nip this problem in the bud!