Study Shows That Potatoes Aren’t Bad… It’s Just Their Unfair Reputation


Potatoes have gotten a bad rap for many years, mostly by Westerners who believe that they are more harmful than they are healthy. But according to a study done in Denmark, their reputation for being too carbohydrate heavy diabetes risk is completely baseless.

Because there are a number of ways to prep and cook potatoes, the data also shows that’s this is actually the reason why they are seen as an unhealthy choice, when in reality, they’re really a great source of many minerals, vitamins and nutrients.

According to Ph.D. candidate from Edith Cowan University, Pratik Pokharel, “In previous studies, potatoes have been positively linked to incidence of diabetes, regardless of how they’re prepared—but we found that’s not true.”

In order to further study these findings, Pokharel studied self-reported data from 54,000 people that participated in the long term study, the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health, in order to get a dataset that could be looked at for patterns and trends.

According to Pokharel, “In Denmark, people consume potatoes prepared in many different ways; in our study, we could distinguish between the different preparation methods, and when we separated boiled potatoes from mashed potatoes, fries, or [chips], boiled potatoes were no longer associated with a higher risk of diabetes: they had a null effect.”

Most French fries and chips are deep fried in ultra-processed vegetable oils, which also happen to be one of the unhealthiest types of calorie sources in the American diet. In addition, mashed potatoes are normally chockfull of cream, butter or cheese, all of which are overloaded with calories. Plus, these additional food sources are also usually processed more than once, meaning these milk sources are processed again and made into butter, which are then folded into the potatoes, making them full of calories and not keeping anyone full or satiated the way other whole foods will.

As for roasted or boiled potatoes, they tend to remain in their natural food forms, which also means that they keep their resistant starch, keeping the important fiber in the potatoes. As a result, a person’s blood sugar levels remain low when eating them.

As for another portion of the data, Pokheral determined what eating processed potatoes meant for its participants.

He shared, “In our study, people who ate the most potatoes also consumed more butter, red meat and soft drink—foods known to increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.”

Notably, looking into the biggest meta-analysis on red meat consumption ever done found that there was zero health benefits found from removing red meat from one’s diet. After the results were released worldwide, they were surprising to so many, which was to be expected since so many other articles claim red meat is bad for many. But what the meta-analysis found is that much like potatoes, red meat also suffers from the same type of “guilt-by-association” type of mentality.

In conclusion, when potatoes are prepared without the add-ons, which are normally full of fat, there’s actually no reason why they shouldn’t be eaten and enjoyed. One way to eat them without the guilt is to roast them in the oven with their skins on, placing some rosemary and salt over them, drizzled with some cold olive oil – yes cold – as this is one favorite way that Italians tend to enjoy this delicious spud. Not only do potatoes have loads of fiber, they even have more potassium than a banana, which is ironic since that’s what bananas are known for.

So the next time you decide to overlook the potatoes in the grocery, reconsider your decision and buy the potatoes. Just be mindful about the way you decide to prepare and cook them to get the most of this amazing and humble spud.

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