French fries are actually healthy and when fried correctly they can be extremely nutritious, Italian researchers claim.
According to researchers from the University of Naples Federico II in Italy, fried chips are not just full of nutrients, but also, if cooked correctly, the starch in potatoes makes them particularly resistant to oil absorption, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
"Frying is bad for us? Absolutely not!" said Professor Vincenzo Fogliano, who oversaw the study with Italian chef Giuseppe Daddio.
"If it's fried in the correct way, a potato chip can be an excellent nutritional product," Fogliano said.
The pair arrived at this conclusion by studying the way that cooking oil – which is usually loaded with fat – is absorbed during the frying stage.
Zucchini and eggplant, thought of as healthy, absorbed 30 per cent of the oil while potatoes and pizza absorbed just five per cent.
Potatoes resisted the oil because they're full of starch, said Fogliano.
"A fundamental rule is that starch plays an important part in sealing the food being fried and reducing the oil absorption. The starch in potatoes is particularly effective,"
"Attention must be paid to frozen or pre-fried products. In these cases, the quantity of food absorbed increases significantly," said Professor Fogliano, who spoke to the Italian newspaper La Stampa.
Melanie McGrice, spokeswoman of Dieticians Association of Australia, said the only good fries were home-made fries.
"Chips can be made slightly healthier if you're cooking them at home. But they're still high in fat and there's not a lot of nutrition in them," she said.
French fries are a treat food and should only be eaten in moderation, said McGrice.