A leading professor of nutrition attributed Americans’ penchant for French fries to helping prevent “outright scurvy in this country.”
Paul Lachance, Ph.D., of Rutgers University stated in the current (June) issue of Reader’s Digest New Choices that, “Twenty percent of Americans don’t get the current RDA of vitamin C each day….If we didn’t have French fries, there would be outright scurvy in this country because potatoes are the second leading source of vitamin C in the American diet.”

Lachance and other nutrition experts believe that most adults over age 50 should get between 200mg and 250mg of vitamin C daily though the RDA is between 75mg and 90mg.

Vitamin C is especially important because it’s an antioxidant, explains nutritionist Chris Rosenbloom, Ph.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, which have been implicated in the development of cancer, heart disease, and a host of other ailments. “Vitamin C may also play a role in preventing cataracts and macular degeneration,” she says.