The staple vegetable having a detrimental impact on your health

You might like them baked, boiled, mashed or fried, but new research published in The BMJ shows you might want to

You might like them baked, boiled, mashed or fried, but new research published in The BMJ shows you might want to reconsider the amount of potato you are eating.

Researchers have found that if you eat a lot of this global staple there is an increased risk you will develop high blood pressure.

With more than 4,000 varieties grown in around 125 countries across the world, there’s hardly a farmers’ market or a grocery store that doesn’t supply potatoes for your shopping need, and while it’s a hardy vegetable packed with nutritional value too much of a good thing can have a negative impact. In this case, hypertension.

Scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in the United States joined forces to investigate the link between the quantity of potato you are consuming and your blood pressure.

The team looked at potatoes in all forms — baked, boiled, mashed… You get the picture. The information was collected over 20 years and almost 187,500 men and women provided detailed information of their dietary habits.

What researchers discovered was that if you eat four or more serves of mashed, baked or boiled potato in a given week your risk of developing high blood pressure was increased when compared with those who ate less than one serving a week of the starchy vegetable.

It could be because potatoes have a higher glycemic index (GI) than most other vegetables. This could trigger a spike in your blood sugar immediately after a meal, and as you’d be aware increased sugar in the blood (more commonly known as hyperglycemia) has been tied to oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction and inflammation that all assist in explaining the increased high blood pressure risk.

While the study was merely observational, researchers believe that if the results can be backed up in future studies it might lead to the exclusion of potatoes as a vegetable from which you obtain health benefits.

Because high blood pressure can also increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, and affects approximately 30 per cent of adults aged 55-64 years, 38 per cent of adults aged 65-74 years and 48 per cent of adults aged older than 75 years, there is a good chance further debate on potatoes and blood pressure will occur.

Do you like potatoes? How many serves a week would you normally eat?

  1. Royce R. Baucke  

    I do enjoy potatoes – they have always been a big part of our diet – as kids we would always have potatoes pretty much at every evening meal – mainly boiled and mashed…we grew them ourselves so we always had them. And now in my senior years I still love potatoes and have them at least 5 times a week…but now cooked in a much more varied way than how we had them as kids. I read these articles about how they now find “this” and “that” could be dangerous to your health – and I say well too bad – if I stopped eating all the things they say are not good for me – then there wouldn’t be a lot left to eat. So go on – enjoy a good old roast spud – mashed with gravy – chips – or hash browns….I know I will….

  2. Judith  

    There are a lot of good vitamins and fibre in potatoes. One section of my family never eat them, only white rice and pasta. There is barely any nutrition in white rice, and while people rave about pasta these days, it is basically flour and water.

  3. Richard Barnes  

    One junk research finding after another!

  4. Sweet potatoes, which are not actually part of the potato family at all, are a wonderful alternative & I love them. There’s a few different varieties and they have a low GI, which makes them even better.

    White potatoes definitely spike blood sugar levels where-as the sweet potato doesn’t. Fortunately – that is not an opinion, but a proven fact and so it’s not going to change.

  5. Terri Rice  

    What a load of crap. Potatoes always have been & will continue to be part of all of our staple diet.Full of goodness, not badness.
    Decades ago the no hair, glasses wearing, no personality professors were trying to tell us that this vegetable was not good for you – then ( hoorah ! ) more research found that it is a great source of fibre & many vitamins. They are paid heaps to research all this crap – bet they go back home to a decent meal which contains potatoes.
    Also decades ago we were all told that eggs aren’t good for you – now it is a completely different story.
    Basically, at our ages, we are strong believers in enjoying your food as you want – but everything in moderation. We eat many dishes which contain cheese & cream. Most meals have potatoes included. We are strong & healthy.
    What a load of crock this is.

  6. Joan  

    This is research from USA where potatoes would be eaten with lashings of fat and salt. HA HA. Potatoes are full of nutrition: fibre, protein, vitamin C and loads of minerals. If you were forced to eat only one food, you would live longest on potatoes. I mostly eat a washed potato, cooked in the microwave without any flavouring added. Love it. But also boiled, mashed with low-fat milk, bakes with a minimum of unsaturated oil. Wonderful vegie.

    • Marguerite  

      Hi Joan, if you would like to ‘lash out’ sometime on beautiful mashed spuds, try this ……….
      Boil as usual, until tender.
      Add some normal Butter, Full Cream Milk, & Cream, enough to make them pliable, & tasty.
      If you wish, add very finely chopped Onion, & Parsley.

      A dish to ‘die for’!
      Oh, & it’s wonderful with hot Corned Silverside!
      Bon Appetit! !

  7. Marguerite  

    The poor ol’ spud’s copping it yet AGAIN!
    It’s been around since the year dot, & has many vitamins’, & minerals’ in it, which we NEED!

    The Irish Diaspora was caused by the Potato Famine, mid 19th Century, which was a terrible situation, for the poorest of poor people.

    The way these so-called ‘food experts’ garbagize-on about this food, & that food, we may all just as well fall off this mortal coil now.
    It’ll be a different food next week, & so it goes on. I suppose they’ve got to earn their big salaries’ somehow, even if they talk rot!

    How do they think human-kind got to the 21st Century? By not having to listen to ‘food fools’, that’s how, & by consuming multiple foods, INCLUDING the fantastic potato!

    Hot chips, anyone?

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