by Marion Nestle
Mar 28 2022

Industry-funded study of the week: French fries are just as good for you as almonds

I like French fries as much as anyone but c’mon; they are hardly a health food.

The Alliance for Potato Research & Education sent me a press release about a new study demonstrating that “adding a daily 300-calorie serving of French fries to one’s typical diet every day for one month does not result in differential short-term weight gain or other biomarker changes associated with impaired blood sugar regulation compared to adding an isocaloric daily serving of almonds.”

The study: French-fried potatoes consumption and energy balance: a randomized controlled trial.  Daniel L Smith, Jr, Rebecca L Hanson, Stephanie L Dickinson, Xiwei Chen, Amy M Goss, John B Cleek, W Timothy Garvey, David B Allison.  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, nqac045,

Purpose: “We completed an RCT [randomized controlled trial] testing whether increased daily potato consumption influences energy balance (specifically, fat mass (FM)) compared with calorie-matched almond consumption.”  Participants were given 300 calories a day in either fries (~3 oz) or almonds (~40).

Conclusion: There were no significant differences in FM [fat mass] or in glucoregulatory biomarkers after 30 days of potato consumption versus almonds. Results do not support a causal relationship between increased French fried potato consumption and the negative health outcomes studied.

Funding: This study was supported in part by a grant from the Alliance for Potato Research and Education (APRE) to DBA and DLS, by Core services through NIH grant awards P30DK056336 and P60DK079626 and the donation of study food items by J.R. Simplot Company.

Comment:  I’m not surprised by this result.   Biomarkers depend on everything you eat, not just one food.

The purpose of this study was to take away any guilt you might feel about eating French fries.   The potato alliance got the result it wanted.