Switching to a low FODMAP diet can be very good for people struggling with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This is because this diet limits your intake of indigestible, fermentable carbs that cause digestive system problems.
Sometimes, it might be hard to figure out which foods can be safe for such a diet, especially when it comes to snacks and fast food.
It’s no secret that a lot of us enjoy having some French fries from time to time.
Unfortunately, though, this junk food is high in carbs. So, this might also mean that it’s high in FODMAPs. But is that true? Are French fries low or high in FODMAPs?
Are French Fries Low FODMAP?
French fries contain about the same amount of FODMAPs as potatoes – which they’re made of. Because of that, you can include them in your diet, even if you suffer from IBS or some other digestive system issue.
Even though French fries have a rather negative reputation, they do actually contain some good nutrients. So, if you prepare them right, you can include them in a healthy, balanced diet without worsening your health.
How low in FODMAPs are French fries?
Potatoes are a veggie very low in FODMAPs, so French fries made out of them are low in FODMAPs too. Because of that, you can safely consume a small serving of French fries – about 10 strips (75 grams) – which is perfectly safe for people with IBS.
One thing you have to keep in mind, though, is that this only counts for French fries that were oven-baked.
This is important because deep-frying French fries in oil adds a lot of fat, which is hard for your stomach to digest, especially if you already suffer from IBS.
So, try avoiding it as much as possible.
Can you eat French fries on a low FODMAP diet?
In moderation, French fries are allowed on a low FODMAP diet. As long as you consume about 10 French fries (75 grams) in a single sitting, you shouldn’t experience any negative side effects related to your IBS.
Just make sure to consume mostly oven-baked French fries, as they’re lower in fat. Also, avoid adding too much salt since it leads to inflammation in your digestive system, which is bad for IBS symptoms.
Are sweet potato French fries low in FODMAPs?
Sweet potatoes are also low in FODMAPs, just like other types of potatoes. So, if you consume them in small quantities (about 10 fries in one sitting), you shouldn’t experience any IBS-related symptoms after eating.
Just as with regular fries, try to make them yourself and choose to cook them in the oven instead of deep-frying them.
This way, you can be sure that you’re consuming healthy ingredients without any unnecessary additives.
What’s more, sweet potatoes are much higher in certain nutrients than regular potatoes. For example, sweet potatoes contain a lot more vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and fiber.
So, if you’re looking to add some of these nutrients to your diet, eating sweet potato French fries is a great choice.
Are French fries good for you?
Generally, French fries have a bad reputation, especially the ones from restaurants and fast food joints. They’re usually deep-fried and prepared with a lot of salt, which is bad for your health.
Too much dietary sodium raises your blood pressure, increasing your risk of heart attacks and strokes. So, it’s best to avoid that.
Luckily, if you make them yourself, you can avoid adding any unnecessary fats and salt.
In fact, a single serving of French fries contains only about 1% of your daily recommended need for sodium, which is very little. But that’s provided you don’t oversalt them in the cooking process.
According to some studies, consuming French fries twice a week or frequently has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular conditions as well as early death.
Experts attribute this to the high sodium content and the fact that fries can contain trans fats.
But, on the other hand, if you consume fries less frequently than that, you’re not at an increased risk of these issues.
So, it all depends on your overall diet and lifestyle.
On the bright side, if you make French fries yourself in the oven, you can get some good health benefits without adding any unnecessary calories to your meals.
For example, potatoes – which French fries are made of – are an excellent source of potassium.
This mineral helps offset the negative effects of sodium on your blood pressure. Because of that, you’re at a lower risk of heart attacks and strokes.
What’s more, potassium acts as an electrolyte, which means that it helps maintain fluid balance in your body, preventing dehydration.
French fries also contain a good dose of vitamin C, around 16% of your daily need in a single serving.
Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is crucial for the growth, development, and repair of all the tissues in your body. It’s also important for the absorption of iron and collagen production.
Getting enough vitamin C is also linked with a lower risk of catching viral infections like the common cold or flu.
French fries also contain some niacin. This vitamin helps lower the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol in your body, ease arthritis, and boost brain function. It also has some benefits for people with diabetes and high blood pressure.
So, as long as you prepare them the right way, you don’t have to eliminate French fries from your diet completely.
French fries are a low FODMAP food as long as they’re consumed in moderation and as part of a varied diet. Because of that, you can eat them even if you suffer from IBS without triggering any severe symptoms.
Plus, if you prepare them right, you can get a lot of beneficial nutrients from eating potatoes, such as various vitamins and minerals.
But make sure not to add too much salt and cook your French fries in the oven to avoid unnecessary fats.
Alicia is the senior content editor and writer here at Food FAQ. She has extensive experience with acid reflux, heartburn, GERD, and various supplements. When not eating food for “research”, she’s watching “Friends” for the 100th time.