White potatoes

White potatoes have a bad reputation. They are linked to numerous diseases. But a new study reveals that not all potatoes are bad. A lot depends on how to cook them. And it also varies depending on what are it’s co-ingredients.

White potatoes and their bad reputation

White potatoes has become a much-maligned vegetable. This starchy vegetable has been linked to type 2 diabetes. It is a carbohydrate and hence people with diabetes are told to avoid it. Various past studies have also shown the strong association of potatoes with diabetes.

White potatoes
White potatoes (Source: Diabetes self management)

But a new study from Australia has tried to clear the stigma associated with this vegetable with a relatively high glycemic index. And the researchers found that the potatoes alone might be a culprit in pushing people into a diabetic stage or worsening blood sugar levels. But it depends on how they are cooked. And a lot also depends on with which other ingredient you are preparing it.

The Australian study on potatoes

Diabetes Care is a reputed peer-reviewed journal of the American Diabetes Association for health care providers. It published this new study that researchers from the Edith Cowan University’s Nutrition and Health Innovation Research Institute did. Dr. Nicola Bondonno and her team tried to find the type of association that exists between vegetable intake and type 2 diabetes. And they particularly tried to find the link between potatoes intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes.

White potatoes
White potatoes and diabetes (Source: Pinterest)

The research team recruited 54000 participants in the age range of 50 to 64 years into the study. These were part of the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health cohort. The cohort was trying to find relationship between diet components and cancer and such chronic diseases. At the start of the study the recruits filled a questionnaire on food frequency that had 192 items on the list. The frequency was in the last 12 months. The co author, Pratik Pokharel said:

The intake of foods and nutrients were then estimated using standard recipes and the software FoodCalc,”

The salient results of the study

The study showed that higher vegetable intake led to 21% lower risk of type 2 diabetes. This was after demographic and lifestyle confounding variables were adjusted. But not many people consume enough vegetables these days. Pratik explained:

“When we separated boiled potatoes from mashed potatoes, fries or crisps, boiled potatoes were no longer associated with a higher risk of diabetes. They had a null effect,”

White potatoes
Boiled potatoes (Source: The love of spice)

The potato eaters also had higher intake of soft drinks, red meat and butter. Even after adjustment, boiled potatoes did not increase risk for type 2 diabetes. Further, he rationalized:

It’s only fries and mashed potatoes, the latter likely because [they’re] usually made with butter, cream and the like.”

Pratik advises:

It is good to replace white rice and pasta with boiled potatoes, as potatoes have fiber, vitamin C and other nutrients — and potato is still a vegetable,”

Also read here: Potatoes: the versatile tubers with health benefits

Potatoes form part of a nutritious diet. Consuming them boiled is healthy. Moreover, can can add them with lentils, beans for a balanced and wholesome meal.