A small order of french fries from Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) contains approximately 29 grams of carbohydrates. This is based on the nutrition information provided on the KFC website.
A Closer Look at KFC Small Fries Nutrition
Here is a more detailed breakdown of the nutrition facts for a small order of KFC fries:
As you can see, a small order of KFC fries contains 29 grams of total carbohydrates. The majority of those carbs come from starch since french fries are made from potatoes.
Potatoes Are a Starchy Vegetable
Potatoes are considered a starchy vegetable because they contain a high amount of starch, which is a type of carbohydrate. Specifically, potatoes contain starch in the form of amylose and amylopectin.
Amylose is a linear molecule made up of several hundred glucose units joined together. Amylopectin is a highly branched molecule made up of thousands of glucose units.
When potatoes are cooked, the starch granules absorb water and swell up, which results in the soft, fluffy texture we associate with properly cooked potatoes. This gelatinization of the starch is what gives french fries their characteristic mouthfeel.
Starch Content of Potatoes
On average, one 5.3 oz (150 gram) boiled potato contains:
- 37 grams of carbohydrates
- 3 grams of protein
- 0 grams of fat
The majority of those carbohydrates (around 31 grams) come from starch. The rest comes from fiber and simple sugars.
Since french fries are made from potatoes, they also contain a high amount of starch and carbohydrates.
Why KFC Fries Have 29 Grams of Carbs
Based on their nutrition information, a small order of KFC fries weighs approximately 68 grams. Since potatoes are mostly carbohydrates from starch, it makes sense that 68 grams of fries would contain around 29 grams of carbs.
This carbohydrate content may be slightly lower than for homemade fries because of the way KFC fries are processed and cooked:
- KFC fries are thinner than homemade fries, which means less potato per fry.
- Commercial frying may alter the starch structure somewhat.
- The fries may be coated in a small amount of starch/batter.
Overall though, given the starchy nature of potatoes, 29 grams of carbs is reasonable for a 68 gram serving of french fries from KFC.
Comparing KFC to Other Fast Food Fries
KFC fries have roughly the same amount of carbs as fries from other popular fast food chains:
As you can see, carb content ranges from 29-38 grams per serving. So KFC is on the lower end for a fast food small fry.
Tips for Reducing Carbs in KFC Fries
Here are some tips if you are looking to reduce the amount of carbs when ordering KFC fries:
- Order a smaller size such as Snacker (15g carbs).
- Split a regular size fry with a friend.
- Order a side other than fries such as coleslaw (14g carbs).
- Skip the fries altogether and focus on lower carb menu items.
KFC does not currently offer lower carb alternatives like cauliflower fries. But some simple modifications can help reduce your carb intake when enjoying their fries.
Health Impact of Fries and High Carb Foods
French fries and other high carb foods like bread, pasta, and rice can play a role in a balanced diet. However, there are some potential downsides to consuming large amounts of starchy foods on a regular basis:
- May cause unstable blood sugar and energy crashes
- Provides calories without as much nutrition compared to vegetables
- Can promote overeating and weight gain
- Increases risk for chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes
That said, enjoying the occasional serving of fries as part of an overall healthy pattern of eating is unlikely to pose major health risks for most people.
Tips for Healthy Eating with Fries
Here are some tips to keep things balanced if you plan to have fries:
- Have fries only occasionally, not every day.
- Stick to a small portion instead of supersizing.
- Pair fries with proteins and veggies for a well-rounded meal.
- Focus on nutritious whole foods for the majority of your meals.
- Stay active through exercise to help burn extra calories.
As with most things in nutrition, moderation and variety are keys to health.
A small order of french fries from KFC contains about 29 grams of carbohydrates, which comes mostly from the starch found naturally in potatoes. This is on par with fries from other major fast food chains.
There are several simple ways to reduce your carb intake when enjoying KFC fries, such as ordering a smaller size or skipping them altogether. An occasional small serving of fries can be incorporated into an overall healthy diet for most people.
The key is to focus on balance, variety, and moderation when including higher carb foods like fries in your diet. Consider the other parts of your meal and your eating patterns as a whole. Enjoy your food, including an order of fries here and there, while keeping your health a priority.