Potatoes aren’t always bad for you — it’s all in the preparation, a new study suggestsThank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
A new study shares some sympathy for a much maligned vegetable: the potato.
It has been found that the way the potato is prepared – including what people add to it – is what is associated with Type 2 diabetesand not the “humble” vegetable itself.
The study was published in Diabetes Care, a peer-reviewed journal from the American Diabetes Association for Healthcare Providers.
Previous research has shown a link between diabetes and total potato intake.
A team of Australian researchers led by Dr Nicola Bondono from Edith Cowan University’s Research Institute for Innovation in Nutrition and Health investigated the link between vegetable intake and the incidence of type 2 diabetes.
The researchers also examined the relationship between potato consumption and the incidence of type 2 diabetes.
Over 54,000 participants aged 50-64 were recruited from the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health Cohort, which investigated the relationship between dietary components and cancer incidence and other chronic diseases.
Participants completed a 192-item “food frequency questionnaire” at the start of the study.
Those who participated noted how often they had eaten a particular food in the past 12 months, said co-author Pratik Pokarel, a doctoral candidate who worked on the analysis for the paper.
“Food and nutrient intakes were then assessed using standard recipes and the FoodCalc software,” Pocarel told Fox News Digital.
Eating more vegetables may equate to a lower risk of diabetes
The researchers found that those with the highest total vegetable intake had a 21 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes — compared to the group with the lowest vegetable intake — after adjusting for lifestyle and demographic confounding variables.
They also found that participants with the highest consumption of potatoes had a 9% higher risk of type 2 diabetes than the group that ate the least amount per day.
Boiled potatoes are key
“When we separated boiled potatoes from mashed potatoes, French fries or chips, boiled potatoes were no longer associated with a higher risk of diabetes. They had zero effect,” Pokharel said in a press release.
The study found that those who ate the most potatoes also consumed more butter, red meat and soft drinks, which are known to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
“When you consider this, boiled potatoes are no longer associated with diabetes,” Pokarel added in the press release.
“Just fries and mashed potatoes, the latter probably because [they’re] usually made with butter, cream and the like.”
Most people don’t eat enough vegetables
Approximately 90% of adults do not date fruit and vegetable recommendationsaccording to the latest United States Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines.
The guidelines recommend that most adults consume two “cup equivalents” of fruit and two and a half “cup equivalents” of vegetables daily.
Experts suggest aiming for four half-cup servings of fruit and five half-cup servings of vegetables each day to put these recommendations into practice.
The American Heart Association suggests that fruits and vegetables fill half the plate at each meal to meet these goals.
“One cup of raw leafy greens or a baked potato should be the size of a baseball or a medium fist,” the association added on its website.
We need to diversify our diet
Pokharel recommends eating a varied diet.
“It’s good to replace white rice and pasta with boiled potatoes because potatoes have fiber, vitamin C and other nutrients – and potatoes are still a vegetable,” he said.
“We get other nutrients from potatoes that we don’t find in white rice or pasta,” he added.
Refined grains are low in certain nutrients, such as fiber, so they can lead to nutritional deficiencies, he said.
Be aware of the limitations of the study
The study has certain limitations, including that the participants’ diets were self-reported and that the researchers only measured their diets at one point in time.
Pokarel said repeated measurements of dietary intake would provide a more accurate estimate of a complete diet.
He also said the study was only a prospective study — so it couldn’t establish a cause-and-effect relationship between vegetable intake and diabetes, such as noting that eating fewer vegetables actually causes diabetes.
Don’t blame certain foods – understand the context
“People rarely eat food in isolation,” Pocarel said.
“We need to look at the bigger picture as we assess the relationship between dietary intake and disease incidence,” he added.
“It is critical to look at the underlying dietary pattern and the method of food processing to see what other culprits are, rather than blaming one food,” he added.
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