McDonald’s: Are Vegetable Fries Really Healthier Than Potato Fries?

McDonald’s: Are Vegetable Fries Really Healthier Than Potato Fries?

It’s a little new at McDonald’s. Since the beginning of the week, the famous potatoes – potatoes sliced ​​and bathed in oil for cooking – were replaced by vegetable fries – beets, carrots and parsnips sliced ​​like fries and bathed in oil in the same way. But are these vegetable fries actually better, as one would expect from vegetables, than regular fries?

In a tweet published on Friday, since seen nearly 2 million times, an Internet user protests, supporting nutritional assessment: “If you think you are eating healthy with their vegetables, it’s a failure,” he writes, lamenting for the fries more calories, more saturated fat and more refined sugar. However, he does not indicate, in his screenshot, that the Nutri-Score – which makes it possible to rate the nutritional qualities of a product – is identical for the two products, fixed at B, on a scale from A to E. .

But are potato fries really better than vegetable fries? “Frying will necessarily be fatty”, reminds above all Parisian Nicolas Marcos, dietitian in Nice (Alpes-Maritimes). And the specialist also notes that the calorific and energy intake is relatively close between the two products (313 kcal and 1298 kj for vegetable fries, 289 kcal and 1210 kj for potato fries, for 100 g each time).

More fat and salt

It is therefore in the detail, as the Internet user notes, that we will find the differences between the two products. “Regarding amino fatty acids, which correspond to the fat we want to avoid, the difference (1.3 g for potatoes, 1.8 g for vegetables) is acceptable in a normal diet,” points out Nicolas Marcos. And as for the sugar, 30 times higher in vegetable fries than in French fries, this is explained by… the composition of these vegetables. “Carrots, parsnips and beets contain sugar naturally, whereas there is none in potatoes”, notes our expert who deplores, however, that the salt content is 3 times higher with vegetable fries, at 1.3 g of the recommended 5 g each day.

VIDEO: McDonald’s replaces its potatoes… with vegetables

When we look at the nutritional balance of the products, one element remains important all the same: it is the proportion of fibres. It is 9.5g in vegetable fries against 0.3g for potato fries. “Fibers are used to prevent diabetes, better control blood sugar and promote intestinal transit,” explains Nicolas Marcos. But it’s also what makes us no longer hungry after a meal, so the more there is, the more satiety we will have. McDonald’s also mentions this advantage, evoking fries “rich in fiber”, with “complementary nutritional qualities as well as a mixture of flavors that go together perfectly” which led to the choice of these three vegetables (out of twelve tested).

To look at according to the portions

It should also be noted that the nutritional balance sheets are available for 100 g, in order to allow comparisons, but also per portion. And when we look with this last option, we realize that the contrast is less strong between the vegetable fries and those of potatoes, even the first become better (because there are less in the same portion): the amount of saturated fatty acids is lower (1.3 g against 1.5 g, for the average portion), that of salt is closer (0.53 g for potatoes, 0.91 g for vegetables) and the proportion of fiber remains much higher (6.7 g for vegetables, against 4 g).

In comparison with potatoes, which are therefore temporarily replacing these vegetable fries, each has its strengths and its faults. Potatoes prevail again on less amino fatty acids, less sugar (there is even 0 g), and salt. But the vegetable fries remain in the lead in terms of fiber content (9.5 g against 3 g). Those who prefer them will soon be able to rejoice again: they should be back in a few weeks, at the end of the experiment.

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