A small order of McDonald’s french fries contains approximately 19 grams of total carbohydrates, according to the company’s nutrition information. This serving size of fries contains 230 calories and 10 grams of total fat. While the carb count may seem low compared to other menu items, it’s important to note that fries are typically eaten as a side and often paired with other high carb options like a burger or soda. When determining the carb count of a meal, it’s essential to consider all components.
Serving Size Details
Let’s take a closer look at the serving size specifics for a small McDonald’s french fry:
- Serving size: approximately 2.4 oz or 68 grams
- Total fat: 10 g
- Saturated fat: 1.5 g
- Trans fat: 0 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Sodium: 160 mg
- Total carbs: 19 g
- Dietary fiber: 2 g
- Sugars: 0 g
- Added sugars: 0 g
- Protein: 2 g
As you can see, the total carb count comes out to 19 grams for a small fry order. This is composed of 2 grams of fiber, with no sugars. The majority of the carbs come from starch.
Breakdown of Carbs in McDonald’s Fries
McDonald’s french fries are made from potatoes, which are a starchy vegetable. The main carbs found in McDonald’s fries include:
- Starch – Potatoes contain starch molecules like amylose and amylopectin. These large complex carbs make up the majority of the total carbohydrate content.
- Fiber – Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that our bodies cannot digest. Potatoes with the skin on contain about 2-3 grams of fiber per serving.
- Sugars – Potatoes have a small amount of natural sugar, but frying and processing removes most of the sugars found in a raw potato.
The ingredient list for McDonald’s fries contains: potatoes, vegetable oil (canola oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, natural beef flavor [wheat and milk derivatives]*, citric acid [preservative]) and dextrose. The small amount of dextrose (a simple sugar) helps achieve the ideal color during processing.
Factors that Impact Carb Count
There are a few factors that can alter the carbohydrate content in a serving of McDonald’s french fries:
- Potato size – Larger potatoes tend to have a higher carbohydrate density than smaller spuds.
- Pre- vs post-cooking – Raw potatoes have higher carb content by weight. The cooking process reduces moisture, concentrating the amount of starch and fibers.
- With skin vs without – Potato skins contain additional fiber. McDonald’s fries do not have skins.
- Batters or seasonings – Added ingredients like batter, breading or seasoning blends can modify the carb count.
- Oil used for frying – The type of oil does not change the carb content, but affects the fat and calorie amounts.
As long as the serving size remains consistent at 2.4 oz or 68 grams, the carb count for a McDonald’s small fry should remain around 19 grams. But there will be slight batch-to-batch variations based on potato size, oil absorption during frying, and other factors.
Comparing McDonald’s Fry Sizes
McDonald’s offers french fries in different sizes. Here is a comparison of the carbohydrate content per serving:
|Fry Size||Serving Weight||Total Carbs|
|Small||68 grams||19 grams|
|Medium||114 grams||34 grams|
|Large||154 grams||42 grams|
As shown, the carb count increases with larger serving sizes. A medium contains 34 grams of carbs, while a large packs 42 grams.
Tips for Managing Carbs
Here are some tips for managing your carb intake when dining at McDonald’s:
- Opt for a small fries instead of larger sizes to limit carbs.
- Choose apple slices (15g carbs) as a lower carb side option.
- Avoid fry combinations like Chili Cheese Fries that add more carbs.
- Enjoy fries occasionally and balance with non-starchy veggies at other meals.
- Check the carb counts of all menu items using McDonald’s nutrition finder.
- Build your meal using a mix of protein, veggies and healthy fats to balance your fries.
Your daily carb needs depend on many factors including your age, activity level, and health status. When consumed in moderation and combined with other nutritious foods, french fries can be part of a healthy diet for most people.
Nutrition Facts Comparison
Here is a nutrition facts label comparison between a small serving of McDonald’s fries and a medium order:
Small McDonald’s French Fries (68g)
Medium McDonald’s French Fries (114g)
As shown, the medium serving more than doubles the calories, fat, sodium and carbohydrates. Paying attention to serving sizes can help keep nutrition numbers in check.
Healthier Fries Options
For those looking to cut carbs or calories, there are some tweaks you can make:
- Air Fried – Making fries at home using an air fryer reduces the fat and calories while maintaining crispy texture.
- Baked Fries – Baking rather than frying can slash fat and calories. Mix potatoes with oil, herbs and spices and bake until crispy.
- Cauliflower Fries – Swapping potato for cauliflower lowers the carbs. Toss cauliflower florets with oil and bake or air fry.
- Sweet Potato Fries – Sweet potato fries have slightly fewer carbs than regular potatoes, plus they add more vitamins and minerals.
There are many ways to tweak the nutritional profile of fries while still enjoying their delicious flavor. Focusing on portion size, ingredients and preparation method can go a long way.
A small order of McDonald’s french fries contains about 19 grams of total carbohydrates. This comes mostly from starch, with 2 grams of fiber. Larger sizes, like a medium or large, will have significantly more carbs. Enjoying fries occasionally as part of an overall balanced diet is fine for most healthy individuals. There are also ways to boost nutrition, like opting for smaller portions, baking instead of frying, or using vegetable alternatives like cauliflower or sweet potatoes.