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What is really behind the french fries from fast food?

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Ask yourself honestly: „Are you able to imagine that you do not order french fries in a fast food restaurant? “ Any menu would not be so tasty without french fries. Potatoes had been firstly added to the original menu in form of cooked potatoes only such as a side dish but later replaced by french fries. However, french fries are not exactly the best dietary food. That is a known fact. On the other hand, there are some other snacks that are far more dangerous to our health. How harmful french fries really are, will tell you a result from an extensive research.

Subject of the test

The research was based on the analysis of usual large portion of french fries from fast food. In this portion, there are 500 calories, 25 grams of fat, 63 grams of carbohydrates, 350 mg of sodium and 6 grams of protein and fiber found. If you think, that french fries are of vegetarian origin and except of oil and potatoes you won’t find there anything surprising, the following information might be a shock for you. In the composition of this very popular child’s snack, we can found stabilizers and preservatives in order to ensure nice colour and delicious taste even when they should be spoiled normally. From all of them it is worth to mention a natural beef aroma, which nobody would expect to be found in potato meal. The basic ingredients are hydrolyzed wheat and whole milk powder.

French fries composition and method of preparation

Vegetable oil

Classic recipe of really good french fries is based on frying of peeled and sliced potatoes in oil or in a deep fryer in an oil bath. Fast food french fries are dipped in oil twice. This method of preparation is based on frying of french fries before freezing and after its distribution in restaurants, they are fried for the second time.

Rapeseed oil

This type of oil is generally considered to be less harmful to our health. However, it should be used sparingly. It is possible that because of its quality, the price is higher and therefore unacceptable for fast food restaurants. They tend to replace it by the other kinds of oil, often of worse quality (soya, maize oil) or it can just be found in a minimal amount in the composition.

Hydrogenated soybean oil

During the hydrogenation process of natural soybean oil, unsaturated fats become saturated what enables easier heat preparation and prolongs its shelf life. The outcome of this kind of oil preparation is presence of substances, which are dangerous especially for our cardiovascular system and heart.

Natural beef flavor

More than 50 year ago, a famous network of fast food restaurants was preparing french fries in beef fat. When they switched to a mixture of vegetable oils, they did not want to allow the loss of their famous taste of french fries so they decided to add a beef flavor. And so french fries lost their title of a vegetarian dish.

Citric acid

This preservative is considered as harmless in general. However, in case of french fries there are worries that just because of citric acid they still look the same even after several weeks as if you bought them a while ago. And this is unrealistic.

Tertiary Butyl Hydroquinone (TBHQ)

This preservative helps along with citric acid to prolong the lifetime of the old french fries. Companies which add this substance to their meals are persistently claiming that TBHQ is not dangerous to human health. Animal researches performed in US have proven that consumption of TBHQ is closely connected with the occurrence of gout and stomach ulcers.


Dextrose is just another name for sugar. Sugar adds to this, by the way salty dish, a distinctive flavor and acts addictive as well. Sugar might sometimes be far more dangerous than fat because our body can turn it into unwanted fats very quickly.


This preservative ensures the beautiful stable golden brown colour of french fries even when they are several months old. That does not sound very healthy, does it? This substance is also added to flavored milk, muffin baking mix or smoked meat.


It is a silicone based substance which prevents foaming during baking. It is said generally that dimethylpolysiloxane is not dangerous for our health but we might be discussing whether its addition into our meals is really necessary.

The test result

Although all mentioned information about french fries does not sound very healthy, there are far more dangerous meals in the offer of fast foods. Some burger (such as bacon & cheese) or meat pies contain double amount of calories, fats, carbohydrates and substances which you can usually find in toilette cleaners. The french fries are not the right choice for your diet as well as the food that we necessarily need for our survival. If you really cannot live without them, try to reduce their portion size or cut down on their regular consumption.


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