Over the past few years, people have come to think of potatoes as an unhealthy vegetable, but new research suggests that they can be part of a healthy diet.
With the trend of diets such as paleo and keto, potatoes have been tossed to the side and developed a reputation for causing weight gain and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes. However, this new study from Pennington Biomedical Research Center suggests that potatoes do not increase the risks and are actually filled with key nutrients and packed with health benefits.
The Journal of Medicinal Food study involved 36 participants between 18 and 60 who were obese, overweight, or had insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin. As a result, the body needs more insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control. It is thought to be the result of a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors and is often seen in people who are overweight or have type 2 diabetes. It has also been linked to high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
All participants were fed controlled diets of common foods, including peas, beans, fish or meat, or white potatoes with meat or fish. Both diets were high in fruits and vegetables and substituted approximately 40% of typical meat consumption with either beans and peas or potatoes.
The potatoes were prepared in a way that would maximize their fiber content. When compared with beans and peas, a diet with potatoes was found to be equal in terms of health benefits.
Co-investigator of the study, Candida Rebello, Ph.D., explained, “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 could have varied options for individuals striving to eat healthily. In addition, potatoes are a fairly inexpensive vegetable to incorporate into a diet.”
This research helps to understand the complex disease of obesity and provides information on how and why the body reacts to diet and physical activity. The study concluded that potatoes do not negatively impact blood glucose levels contrary to popular belief. In fact, the participants in the study who consumed potatoes lost weight.
The key to this study was that portion size was not reduced. However, the caloric content was reduced by including potatoes. Many participants found themselves fuller and often did not even finish their meals. This sheds potatoes in a new light and provides evidence that they may not deserve the bad reputation they have been getting in the past.
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