New research completed through the Harvard School of Public Health and published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that eating more potato chips and French fries is likely to lead to a bigger weight gain over the years than the weight change associated with eating more of other foods, as noted in this Wall Street Journal article.
The Harvard researchers looked at three separate long-term studies covering 120,877 women and men who weren’t obese and who were healthy when the studies began. (They were mostly white, educated and in the U.S.)
The study stands out because it quantifies how much weight a person is likely to gain or lose over four years based on one additional daily serving of a range of specific foods. Eating more potatoes correlated with a gain of 1.28 pounds, with French fries in particular associated with a 3.35-pound gain.
Marion Nestle, New York University professor of nutrition and public health, expressed surprise that potato products were linked with more weight gain than desserts like cake, cookies and doughnuts, which contribute the most calories to the American diet, other research shows. She says she suspects people who eat potato chips and fries also tend to eat too much in general, making these foods markers for a diet leading to weight gain.