Eating Chips Everyday – Are French Fries Bad?

Eating Chips Everyday - Are French Fries Bad?

Running a health blog that remains interesting to the public, month after month, is a pretty hard job (believe me!). When I first launched this site I was determined to stay away from the ‘health fluff’ most of my predecessors had relied upon.

Let’s be honest here – how many times have you read a rehashed article on low carbohydrate dieting or the benefits of a Paleo lifestyle?

It sometimes seems as though one person publishes an excellent health article…only for the rest of the crowd to completely plagiarise it…time and time again.

So a lot of my time is spent searching out new and INTERESTING health topics – I try and think outside the box to keep this site as fresh (and popular) as possible.

A recent visit to a reasonably popular forum highlighted a really interesting post on eating chips everyday, and this post led me to an even more interesting article in The Independent newspaper…

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So, Are French Fries Bad For You?

Okay, before we go any further I should point out that ‘chips’ in the UK are what the Americans refer to as ‘french fries’ – we are not talking about the crispy bags of potato chips here – we are talking about the deep fried babies that go with your burger from McDonald’s.

Now that we’ve managed to clear that up…

The article of interest from The Independent carried the shocking news that ‘Eating chips (or ‘french fries’ if you are in the US) more than twice a week can double your risk of dying’.

With a headline like that I just had to dive in deeper….

The Fried Potato Problem

We all know that the good old fried potato can hurt our waistline but the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition’s latest report goes one step further.

Their studies highlighted the fact that over a period of eight years – people who regularly ate fried potatoes were twice as likely to die.

The tests were carried out on a group of individuals aged between 45 and 79, there were 4,440 of them in all. When the eight year period was up, 236 of the participants had died.

Now I don’t want to cause a panic here – this test was only taken out on the FRIED POTATO choices available – I’m not saying potatoes as a whole are bad for you. Think of french fries, hash browns, crisps (chips in the US), and wedges.

Various Forms of Chips or French Fries

The group of scientists involved in this eight year study claim that the age and sex of the participants had nothing to do with outcome of the fatalities.

They also pointed out that other factors including obesity, avoiding exercise and high salt consumption may also have contributed to the deaths.

Why Are French Fries So Bad For You?

Well the most obvious answer to this question is the bad fats that chips/french fries contain.

There’s no getting away from the fact that frying your foods is super-tasty – way more tasty than every other form of cooking (come on – be honest with yourself here!).

Unfortunately, bad fat or saturated fat is what turns a potato into a time bomb for cancer, heart disease and diabetes… and how many take away joints do you know that fry their chips in healthy olive oil???


Chips (or french fries) are also full of the worst kind of carbohydrates for your body. Now, as I pointed out above in the previous section – potatoes in their natural form are not necessarily bad for you…it’s the way we choose to cook them that turns them into a health nightmare.

Are French Fries really That Bad?

And how many of you reading this like your fries plain and boring?

The cooking process is bad enough…but we then pile on a load of salt for taste purposes – fries without salt are just not fries in my book!

Most of the ‘big boy’ fast food joints, like McDonald’s or Burger King etc, actually add the salt before handing the carton of fries over – you have no choice in the matter!

Diets that are high in salt increase the risk of developing high blood pressure, which can lead to heart and kidney disease and stroke.

A regular portion of fast food fries usually contains about 600 milligrams of sodium – nearly 1/3 of the recommended daily intake.

Eating Chips Everyday

So what are your views on this new study and it’s results – do you really think that eating fries/chips twice a week ‘doubles your chance of death’?

I would be really interested to hear your views on this subject, please leave them in the comment section below.

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MSG Food Side Effects

MSG Food Side Effects

In the following article, we will deal with MSG food side effects. In order to do that we will answer the questions…

What is MSG, how does it get into our food and finally what are the effects of MSG on the human body?

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What is MSG?

MSG is the compound with the chemical name monosodium glutamate. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it is safe.

How and Why is MSG Found in Food?

MSG is used widely as a food additive because it enhances the flavor of food. Common users of this method include restaurants and food packagers.

MSG In Food

What Are The Effects of MSG on The Human Body?

Finally, we will look at a brief historical perspective and summary of reported scientific evidence on the interactions of MSG with the functions and wholeness of the human body.

Some people have reported their experiences of negative repercussions from the consumption of foods with this food additive. This is all in spite of the “safe labeling” by the FDA.

The earliest such negative experiences, brought into the light in an official context, date back all the way to 1968.

The main ones recorded were heart palpitations, loss of physical strength as well numbness of the arms and the back of the neck.

Almost three decades later, in 1995, a compilation of negative effects from the food addictive monosodium glutamate was released.

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology was behind this work under the instruction of the FDA.

The content of the compilation was a list of suspected negative effects from eating foods enhanced with the food additive MSG. These listed symptoms were very extensive.

They included everything from headaches and nausea to drowsiness and weakness as well as issues like burning sensations in the upper body, numbness in the back and shoulder areas, discomfort of the face and other discomfort and pain of the upper body including the heart and chest specifically.

The combined group of negative effects from MSG consumption was termed by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, or FASEB, the MSG symptom complex.

The consumption of foods with the additive MSG has been linked to the occurrence of asthma attacks. The above referenced report by FASEB in 1995 inferred that MSG may induce asthmatic attacks in a small portion of asthma sufferers.

MSG and asthma

This stemmed from two research efforts previously conducted which looked at the MSG intake of individuals with asthma.

It should be noted that the FASEB writers cited some shortcomings in the study methods.

Studies that have followed have not provided conclusive evidence for this link.

A May 2009 review in “Clinical and Experimental Allergy” used evidence to judge that the reality of MSG-activated asthma is yet to be confirmed beyond doubt and further study is needed to ascertain a possible connection between MSG and asthma.

We will now look at the issues of swelling and nasal complications…

Additional reported negative effects of MSG are, among others, external rashes and swelling, blockage of the nose, itching and sneezing.

The writers of the May 2009 study in “Clinical and Experimental Allergy” assented with previous results and reached a deduction that MSG may infrequently cause hives and epidermal swelling in individuals responsive to the food enhancer.

Additionally, the writers observed that a fraction of the occurrences of nasal manifestations perhaps connected to MSG intake have been detailed.

For the small group of people concerned, nasal manifestations vanished when they observed a dietary regime that did not include additives.

Finally, we will discuss the start time and overall time period that people have been known to experience the negative effects of MSG consumption.

The potential negative effects within MSG symptom complex reportedly come into effect from 15 to 30 minutes of ingesting MSG, eventually dissipating naturally before 2 hours has passed.

For the infrequent occurrences when asthma attacks could have been associated with ingesting meals that carry MSG, symptoms were observed within an hour to 12 of ingesting the food.

In a small number of studies conducted with individuals suffering from chronic hives, the ingestion of MSG activated epidermal responses within an hour to 24 in a fractional group of individuals with noticeable responsiveness to the MSG additive.

And so, we now have a summary of the historical background and scientific research behind MSG food side effects.

If you have any thoughts or opinions on the subject we have covered here today, please leave them in the comment section below.

Curb Late Night Snacking

Curb Late Night Snacking

How to curb late night snacking? That seems to be the question of many a mind. Just stop eating they say! The answer to this dilemma may not be as simple though.

Reasons Why We Eat at Night: The scientific explanation states that our hunger is controlled via the secretion of hormones in a pattern known as the Circadian Rhythm.

This causes us to crave starches and sugars around the hour of eight pm.

This may have been useful for our ancestors back in the day enabling them to store fat at times when food was not so abundant but isn’t applicable today.

So how can we stop?

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1) Routines (Make Them or Break Them!)

Many of us work the basic nine to five which means evenings to us represent a time in which to relax or catch up on chores and errands.

Evening hours tend to be less structured than at work and so it leaves room for our hands to wander into the random potato chip bag.

Try multitasking.

Instead of ravaging around in a bowl of popcorn while enjoying your favorite TV sitcom, try folding laundry, or organizing your mail.

Take time to set the table and have sit down dinner. This aids in increased satisfaction and reduced intake while fostering bonds between family members.

Ensure that you have a post dinner routine. After dinner doesn’t always have to come dessert. Try some other pleasurable option to reward yourself for a day of hard work, such as taking the dog for a walk, playing with kids or meeting up with family.

2) Control Your Surroundings

Purge that pantry and those cupboards from all unhealthy options and restock with foods which have good nutritious value. That’s one way to keep your hand out of the cookie jar.

The latest fad in the fitness world seems to be that of ‘meal prep’. Instead of reaching for Chinese takeout on the way home, preparing balanced meals ahead of time is an ideal way to ensure a proper dinner which is only a microwave away.

We live in a world which is dominated by social media. How many of us spend our last waking hours scrolling through our Instagram and Facebook feeds which are inundated everyday with images of food?

Take time to remove some of those temptations so the last thing you see at night isn’t a cheeseburger.

3) Self Love

Take time for yourselves. The most important person is you.

Get enough sleep ensuring that you are well rested on mornings and have time to prepare the most important meal, breakfast.

By having a breakfast packed with proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats, one can keep fuller throughout the day due to the combination of fast and slow release sugars.

Don’t starve.

Yes you may have that next meeting to get to but skipping lunch isn’t the best way to do it. That just puts your hunger into overdrive and before you know it you will be that person scarfing nachos on the interstate on your drive home.

4) Mind Over Matter

Look at food for what it is, not how it makes you feel. Food is meant as a source of fuel for our bodies, helping them to regenerate and work at maximum capacity.

Serious interventions are required for serious problems.

Make yourself accountable to others. Involve friends and family members in your decisions so that your cravings are controlled not only by yourself but by others who want the best for you.

5) Tips And Tricks

Its a long road to recovery so here are some tips to help you get from day to day. When feeling hungry try brushing your teeth or having something minty to reduce your appetite.

Have a glass of water instead of food, since sometimes thirst signals can be mistaken for that of hunger. Set a timer and only allow yourself to snack ten minutes after your craving hits. Chances are you will forget about that sudden urge after only two.

Try to supplement with multivitamins so that your body is well supplied with nutrients and doesn’t crave salt and sweet.

These are just a few ways in which you can curb late night snacking. Its up to you to find out which trick works for you!

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Losing Weight Eating Junk Food

Losing Weight Eating Junk Food

On the surface, the theory that one can lose weight by eating junk food is quite absurd. For many individuals who are overweight, obese, or simply not in their preferred shape, many of their problems stem from the overconsumption of junk food.

If this is the case, then how could continuing to eat junk food solve any of these problems?

First off, we need to identify what constitutes “junk food” in the first place. We know, of course, that food items like candy, chips, and soda are primary examples of junk food. Simply put, junk food is essentially a pejorative term for food that contains little or no vitamins, minerals or protein, while simultaneously containing excessive amounts of calories from either the sugar or fat in the food product that you are consuming.

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If you plan on consuming junk food, make sure to read the nutritional label on the side; it really does serve a good purpose. With all of these negatives surrounding junk food and its unhealthy nature, it seems impossible to fathom someone potentially losing weight by consuming junk food.

Has anyone ever done it before?

If you’ve been following the news closely for the past several months or years, chances are you’ve heard of John Cisna. For those of you who haven’t, or need a refresher on what was significant about that name, Cisna is a science teacher in the Colo-Nesco Community School District in Iowa.

Back in January, Cisna announced that he dropped nearly 40 pounds in 90 days by only eating at McDonalds. The experiment was actually quite simple: he had his students design a daily diet plan at McDonald’s that stayed under the 2,000 calorie daily limit (as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration dictates as a “healthy daily caloric intake”).

losing weight eating fast food

Cisna then proceeded to follow these guidelines for 90 days, adding in 45 minutes of daily walking. He noted that his typical daily meals consisted of two breakfast sandwiches and oatmeal for breakfast; for lunch: a salad and fruit parfait, and some sort of value meal for dinner (typically a cheeseburger or chicken sandwich), and french fries. He also noted, however, that he would interchange some items, and would go for an ice cream cone or sundae at times.

This was the most intriguing part of the experiment; he didn’t side more towards McDonald’s “healthier options”; he didn’t shy away from the burgers, chicken sandwiches or desserts, generally considered the most “unhealthy” of McDonald’s menu items, and yet he still obtained considerable success in his experiment.

His results were so good that he elongated his experiment, and he ended up losing 61 pounds in 6 months, and his cholesterol level dropped significantly! This, of course, landed him national attention, including a position as an ambassador for McDonald’s, and he wrote a novel, entitled “My McDonald’s Diet”.

Cisna also noted that the point of this experiment was about learning portion control, and that it doesn’t matter what you eat, so long as you balance it out and stay within a reasonable caloric intake level.

This is a good and hopeful story, of course, but it’s simply one out of millions of people who struggled with weight and hoped to fix it through such means. On the opposite side of the scale was the story of Morgan Spurlock, the author of the book and documentary “Supersize Me”.

Morgan Spurlock
Morgan Spurlock

Spurlock gained almost 25 pounds and his cholesterol skyrocketed in only 30 days of conducting the experiment, and he also noted a severe draining of energy, multiple bouts with nausea and overall sickness, and a loss of sexual energy, as both he and his girlfriend note in the documentary.

It took him 14 months to lose all that weight and lower his cholesterol. Spurlock’s experiment proved to be part of a rapidly growing movement to help prompt fast food companies everywhere shift the focus off of “super sizing” and more towards providing healthier options. This experiment, for many, is more accurate of one’s experiences with both fast food and junk food in general that Cisna’s experiment is.

Ultimately, it appears that this “debate” boils down to one’s will power and strength. Junk food in and of itself is not necessarily a very bad thing. If you work out and generally eat healthy, a Snickers bar or a Mountain Dew isn’t going to make any sizable impact on your overall health.

The big issue is convenience. For today’s “on-the-go” individual, which is more convenient to travel with: a cheeseburger or homemade salad? Maybe for some people, it isn’t a problem to bring a salad with them, but most people have neither the time, patience, or in some cases, money to make that decision.

That 99 cent cheeseburger and bottle of Coke won’t ruin your health, but what if you travel a lot and stay dormant, unable to get exercise? All those trips and cheeseburger-Coke combos add up, causing an increase in weight and an increase in health issues.

Burgers And Fries

Given these preexisting issues – and I’m fairly certain that we have all had encounters with them at some point – Cisna’s success certainly gives everyone hope. The notion that maintaining or attaining a state of good health comes down to control has its merit, and has been proven before.

It seems that exercise plays a pivotal role in good health as well; even Cisna walked 45 minutes per day in addition to his food consumption. Also, some protein bars have a chocolate coating, which adds to the caloric content of the protein bar, but adds taste. That doesn’t necessarily make the protein bar unhealthy for you.

Overall, the debate on whether one can potentially lose weight by consuming junk food is intriguing. No one is arguing that tearing into a bag of Doritos with reckless abandon and sitting around all day is good for you; finding a key balance is essential to losing weight.

As mentioned earlier, will power and strength are key. How badly do you want to lose the weight? It is amazing what the human mind is capable of when it is set on something, and if you dedicate yourself to finding that perfect balance, eating a cheeseburger or two shouldn’t prevent you from shedding away those pounds!

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