Potatoes are a relatively healthy vegetable, packed with enough fiber, vitamins, and micronutrients to "counterbalance the detrimental effects of their high glycemic index," researchers note in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Unfortunately, it is what we do to them before we eat them that drains all the life out of them—and runs down our own life expectancy in the process. French fries, home fries, curly fries, waffle fries, hash browns, tater tots, jojos, and so forth are all loaded with fat, salt, and when adulterated with ketchup, sugar as well, and eating them at least twice a week more than doubles a person's risk of death, reports Today.
To study this, researchers looked at the potato habits of 4,400 adults ages 45 to 79 over an eight-year stretch. By the end of the study, 236 people had died, and yes, the more fried potatoes they ate, the more likely those participants were to be among the dead. This does not demonstrate cause and effect, reports Time—people who eat fried potatoes might be more likely to eat other fried foods, or exercise less, or any other number of things that are instead (or also) a culprit—but it's not a big leap to conclude that a steady diet of fried potatoes isn't helping matters. For now, the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion recommends three to five servings of vegetables per day that are prepared low in fat—think roasting and steaming. (Deep-fried Twinkies are now easer to find.)