French fries, other fried potatoes could lead to early death, research suggests

French fries and other types of fried potatoes could lead to an early death, new research suggests.

Potatoes cooked other ways, such as boiled and steamed, did not seem to pose the same health risks as fried spuds did, according to a study cited in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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Researchers followed 4,400 people between the ages of 45 and 79 for eight years. Lead researcher Dr. Nicola Veronese, with Italy's National Research Council, and his team discovered those who ate fried potatoes two to three times a week had twice the chance of an early death compared to those who did not eat fried potatoes, CNN reported.

Fried potatoes include french fries, hash browns and potato chips.

"We believe that the cooking oil, rich in trans-fat, is an important factor in explaining mortality in those eating more potatoes," Veronese told CNN.

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Trans-fats have been linked to heart disease, but Veronese said factors like obesity and no exercise could also contribute to an early death in those eating fried potatoes two to three times a week.

The National Potato Council maintains that potatoes, regardless of how they're prepared, are a healthy vegetable, rich in vitamin C and potassium and low in calories.

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