By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD
Americans combine french fries with many things. For a dollar extra Dunkin Donuts will give you an order of fries with your donut! As far as losing weight, I don’t care if you eat fries as part of a meal, as long as you don’t eat a lot of them and you don’t eat fries as a snack. They strongly raise insulin; we are trying to keep insulin low between meals.
I am particularly interested in separating starch from meat and/or cheese. Meat/cheese has loads of calories but they can’t all get in because meat/cheese is a weak stimulus to insulin. Starch has less calories–it would even be a good diet food–EXCEPT starch drives insulin all the way up, so that the calories from accompanying meat get in, calories that otherwise would not get in. That’s why the meat/cheese and starch combo is so fattening. The whole idea to combine meat and starch originated in the U.S. during the Depression or during famines in other countries. If you have very little food total, if you combine these two items, this way, you will be less likely to starve. But if you are trying to lose weight, combining meat and starch is the last thing you want to do!
Think about it. Meat and potatoes, burger and fries, chicken and biscuits, chicken and rice, turkey and dressing, mac and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs, pizza, Mexican food etc. The French are immune to this nonsense. They eat almost all their carbs at breakfast. They eat few carbs at lunch or supper.
Anyway French fries aren’t French; they are Belgian. The first Americans to encounter “frites” were soldiers during World War I. Our soldiers being as ignorant of world geography then as Americans are now, thought they were in France, because they heard French being spoken around them. In fact they were in Belgium; French is the language of southern Belgium.
The French themselves know that “frites” are not French. The English call them “chips”. The only people in the world who call french fries “french fries” are Americans. I noted that on the menu at the MacDonalds in Montpellier, France, french fries were called frites.