(Meredith) – Some people would be upset if they ordered a small fry and only got six potato sticks -- but one college professor claims it's the ideal serving size to keep your meal healthier.
Eric Rimm, a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, called the potato a "starch bomb" in a recent New York Times article. He suggested that if you must indulge in an order of French fries, consider limiting the portion size to six.
“There aren’t a lot of people who are sending back three-quarters of an order of French fries,” he said. “I think it would be nice if your meal came with a side salad and six French fries.”
A study published last year in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate fried potatoes two or three times a week had higher risks of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Still, the professor’s recommendation didn’t sit well with a lot of people online. Some French fry lovers took to Twitter to voice their disapproval.
"I eat six fries in one BREATH," wrote one user.
Just saw something that said you’re only supposed to eat SIX french fries in one sitting. I’ve never felt so attacked.— Allison Viray (@AllisonViray) December 3, 2018
I don't eat fries every week.— Joanne Freeman (@jbf1755) December 4, 2018
Or even every month.
But dang it, when I DO eat fries, I want heaps of fried goodness with ketchup.
Harumph, I say.
Seriously. I average 6 fries a bite.— Zac Thomas (@ZacPThomas) December 3, 2018
Eating only six fries at a time is a bit extreme, but portion size still matters. The Agriculture Department lists a serving of fries as three ounces, which amounts to 12 to 15 individual potato sticks.
Even though potatoes pack a lot of starch, they can still be healthy when prepared properly. A medium, unsalted plain baked potato with skin has only 160 calories and is naturally fat- and cholesterol-free. The problem with potatoes occurs when they are fried in a lot of oil, which significantly boosts calories, fat and sodium.
So, you don't have to avoid them completely to maintain a healthy diet. Just watch your portion sizes.
While it may be hard to cut back on this delectable side dish, experts say you can start by savoring each bite.
“Anything can be eaten healthfully if it’s eaten mindfully. If you eat French fries that way, you will probably be satisfied with 10,” Elaine Magee, dietitian and author of 25 nutrition books, told the Times.