In America, fried foods have evolved from an indulgence to diet staple. Most Americans eat fried foods at least once a day—a habit that is associated with an 8% chance of early death.

What’s so bad about fried foods? Where do we even begin?

First, most fried foods are cooked in saturated fat. Ideally, you should eat almost no saturated fat. The USDA recommends keeping saturated fat consumption under 20 grams a day.

Frying also changes the molecular composition of foods through oxidation, polymerization and hydrogenation. Frying even increases trans fats in foods. It also makes it crispy, tasty and oily, meaning you might be compelled to eat more than you should.

The MIND diet is a nutrition program designed to reduce risk of dementia. On this program, fried foods are in the “unhealthy” food group. Saturated fat is associated with cognitive decline.

So, what can you do when you love fried foods? Learn how to make healthier versions of your favorites. Fried chicken can become a panko-crusted baked chicken. A morning donut can become a morning whole-grain bagel.

Do you love sweet potato fries? Try this recipe and we promise you’ll hardly notice the difference.

Sweet Potato Oven Fries


  • 3 large sweet potatoes

  • Olive oil

  • Coarse sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

  2. Slice your sweet potatoes into fry shapes, cutting lengthwise.

  3. Place sliced sweet potatoes into mixing bowl.

  4. Pour 1 tbsp oil over potatoes.

  5. Sprinkle light coating of sea salt over potatoes.

  6. Stir until all slices are covered in oil and salt.

  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes audibly sizzle.