Eating chips twice a week ‘doubles your chance of death’, says study

Eating chips more than twice a week can double your risk of dying, a new study has found.

Whether with battered cod, a burger, curry sauce or doused in salt and vinegar, chips of all varieties are one of Britain’s favourite treats.

People in the UK consumed three times as many chips in 2014 than in 1974 – including frozen chips bought in the supermarket – according to the Government’s National Food Survey.

But while it’s common knowledge that indulging a chip habit too often can lead to weight gain, it may also affect mortality rates, researchers have now shown.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that over an eight-year period, people who regularly ate fried potatoes were twice as likely to die.

Researchers analysed the potato consumption and health of 4,440 people aged between 45 and 79. After eight years had passed, 236 of the participants had died.

They found that while eating lots of potatoes overall – regardless of cooking method – did not increase the risk of death within that time period, those who consumed fried potatoes two to three times a week were twice as likely to die compared to those who did not eat any.

All types of fried potatoes, including hash browns, crisps, and wedges, were linked to a hike in death rates.

  • 1/6

    You will need: 1 onion, 1 red pepper, 1 stick of celery, 1 cup of mushrooms, 4 to 6 eggs, 1 habanero chilli (optional), 1 tablespoon of oil, 25g of grated low-fat cheese, 150 ml of skimmed milk, 50g of turkey breast. Add some spinach for an extra boost.


    1) Cook your turkey breast so that it’s ready to add to the mix later on. Best to grill it and then chop it up as it’s healthier than shallow frying.
    2) Meanwhile, heat the oil and add your onion, pepper, chilli, mushrooms and celery to your pan. Cook these for around five minutes until your veg is nice and soft.
    3) Whisk your eggs and milk together in a separate bowl, seasoning with salt and pepper.
    4) Add the egg mixture, veg, cooked turkey and cheese to a high-sided baking pan or tin and cook in your oven for around 15 minutes at 170C.

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  • 2/6

    Be careful when you buy your porridge, as some brands will cram a lot of sugar in there. Porridge is a good breakfast option as it is renowned for releasing energy slowly, which means you can get to lunch without suffering from a lull. A great source of fibre, potassium and vitamins, bananas are always a good accompaniment to your morning oats.

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  • 3/6

    Ingredients: 2 full eggs, 3 egg whites, asparagus, peppers, 50g of smoked salmon


    1) Boil your asparagus in water for around five minutes.
    2) Meanwhile, mix your eggs and egg whites in a jug, and add a splash of skimmed milk. Chop some peppers up and throw them in too.
    3) Once your asparagus is cooked, drain it and chop into smaller chunks. Add these to your egg mixture.
    4) Whisk your mixture and season with salt and pepper.
    5) Pour the mix into a hot pan with a small knob of butter or a teaspoon of quality olive oil.
    6) Cook the omelette for around 90 seconds to two minutes.
    7) Once the bottom is cooked, take the pan off the hob and place under the grill for another 30 seconds to a minute in order to cook the top.
    8) Serve with your smoked salmon.

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  • 4/6

    Greek yoghurt has vast nutritional benefits. Regardless of where you stand on the superfood debate, Greek yoghurt’s credentials speak for themselves. A good source of potassium, protein, calcium and essential vitamins, this food forms an ideal base for a healthy breakfast, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.

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  • 5/6

    Eggs Florentine is not only a tasty breakfast, it also carries a hefty nutritional punch, particularly when you throw some spinach into the equation.

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  • 6/6

    So fast and easy to make, yet so effective. Wholemeal toast can be a good breakfast choice, as long as you are sensible with your toppings. Peanut butter is perfect. A good source of “healthy fats”, as well as protein and Vitamin E among other nutrients, a liberal spreading of peanut butter can set you up for the day.

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“The frequent consumption of fried potatoes appears to be associated with an increased mortality risk,” concluded the researchers, led by Dr Nicola Veronese from the National Research Council in Padova, Italy.

The scientists said the age or sex of the participants did not influence the result, but highlighted that other factors including obesity, lack of exercise and high salt consumption may also have contributed to the deaths.

“Fried potato consumption may be an indicator of a less healthy (Western) dietary pattern which is associated with increased mortality,” said Susanna Larsson, an associate professor at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

The National Food Survey showed that consumption of takeaway food has nearly doubled since 1974. 

Obesity rates have also trebled in the last 30 years to 27 per cent in 2015, with 58 per cent of women and 68 per cent of men said to be overweight or obese.

  • More about:
  • chips
  • French Fries
  • diet
  • Potatoes
  • American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

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