Manic Monday: French Fry Follies

April 25, 2011

It is 1949, and McDonald’s has just added french fries to the menu at their only location. This delicious side dish was simply potatoes cut into strips and fried in beef tallow. Those were the days…

Fast forward to 1990, when the artery-clogging combo of Ancel Keys and George McGovern have created a culture unfriendly to familiar fats we fancied – the saturated variety. With their irresponsible application of flawed logic they convinced Americans that McDonald’s should ditch the animal fats in their fryers in favor of industrial seed oils, ensuring that American health would continue to decline significantly for the next 40 years. Oops.

McDonald’s uses Canola(ish) oil in their fryers. Here’s a breakdown (courtesy MDA):

61% MUFA
21% Omega-6 PUFA
9-11% Omega-3 PUFA
7% SFA

If you need a refresher course on why to avoid these seed oils, read the section on this page titled, “Easily Oxidized Oils.”

After a few years of frying in the new corn and soy squeeze (doesn’t sound so appetizing, does it?), we realized that heating these newfangled oils produced “trans-fats,” extremely deleterious partially hydrogenated fats not present in nature (in appreciable amounts). In an effort to avoid saturated fat (which is actually good for you), we introduced absurd amounts of actually dangerous trans-fats. Oops.

The modern nutritionistic solution to the trans-fats problem, of course, is to engineer canola without trans-fats. McDonald’s announced in 2007 that they planned to phase out the trans-fats (you know, because you can’t just switch the oil overnight). This may solve part of the problem, but there are still a great many reasons not to consume seed oils (high Omega6 content, easily oxidized, often rancid before they reach the store or kitchen…).

Unfortunately, restaurant french fries won’t get a pass for regular consumption until the fryers are converted back to animal fat. Lucky for us, we can still make our own fries at home, cooking them in whatever healthy fats we choose (coconut oil and bacon grease are two great choices). These should be enough to hold you over until the majority wises up and forces McDonald’s back in time – to healthy french fries.

Entry filed under: Food Choices, Manic Monday. Tags: .

Michael Pollan and Time Travel Do Calories Count? 1st Law of Thermo (Part 1)

engineered by evolution.


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