Potatoes Can Be A Part Of Your Healthy Diet, New Study Suggests

ENRICHED WITH essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, potatoes are impressively healthy food which regulates blood sugar control, reduced heart disease risk and develops higher immunity. However, potatoes have also been linked to unhealthy benefits such as weight gain and obesity. Some studies state that consuming raw potatoes can develop the risk of digestive issues and other problems.

However, a new study conducted by Pennington Biomedical Research Center, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food states that potatoes do not even nearly increase the risk of developing weight gain, or type 2 diabetes as they are packed with essential nutrients and health benefits.

Candida Rebello, PhD, an assistant professor at Pennington Biomedical, served as co-investigator of the study which examined how a diet including potatoes affects key health measures. Rebello, who is also a registered dietitian, said, “We demonstrated that contrary to common belief, potatoes do not negatively impact blood glucose levels. The individuals who participated in our study lost weight.”

“People tend to eat the same weight of food regardless of calorie content to feel full,” Rebello explained. “By eating foods with a heavier weight that are low in calories, you can easily reduce the number of calories you consume. The key aspect of our study is that we did not reduce the portion size of meals but lowered their caloric content by including potatoes. Each participant’s meal was tailored to their personalized caloric needs, yet by replacing some meat content with potato, participants found themselves fuller, quicker, and often did not even finish their meal. In effect, you can lose weight with little effort.”

The study was conducted with 36 participants aged between 18 to 60 years who were insulin resistant, obese or overweight. Insulin resistance is a condition when the cells in muscles, fat and liver do not respond properly to insulin ad are is unable to use glucose produced by the body to make energy. It is highly associated with the risk of developing obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.

During the study, the participants were made to consume controlled diets of widely available common foods including either beans, peas, meat or fish, or white potatoes with meat or fish. Both diets were high in fruit and vegetable content and substituted an estimated 40% of typical meat consumption with either beans and peas or potatoes. Previous studies have shown that eating beans and peas improves blood glucose levels in individuals with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes. For increasing the dietary fibre component of potatoes, they were first boiled with the skin intact and then refrigerated between 12 and 24 hours. Potatoes were incorporated into the main lunch and dinner entrees, such as shepherd’s pie and creamy shrimp and potatoes, and served together with sides such as mashed potatoes, oven-roasted potato wedges, potato salad, and scalloped potatoes with lunch and dinner entrees.

According to the executive director, “We prepared the potatoes in a way that would maximize their fibre content. When we compared a diet with potatoes to a diet with beans and peas, we found them to be equal in terms of health benefits,” Rebello said. “People typically do not stick with a diet they don’t like or isn’t varied enough. The meal plans provided a variety of dishes, and we showed that a healthy eating plan can have varied options for individuals striving to eat healthily. In addition, potatoes are a fairly inexpensive vegetable to incorporate into a diet.”

The Executive Director of Pennington Biomedical Research Centre about the study said, “Obesity is an incredibly complex disease that Pennington Biomedical is tackling on three different fronts: research that looks at how and why our bodies react the way they do, research that looks at individual responses to diet and physical activity, and policy-level discussions and community programs that bring our research into strategies our local and global communities can use to live healthier lives. These new data on the impact of potatoes on our metabolism is an exciting addition to the arsenal of evidence we have to do just that.”


(With ANI inputs)