Is Potato Bad for Blood Pressure?

New study, presented recently in The British Medical Journal, places a worrying new slant on a worldwide staple – the humble potato. Investigators have been able to link higher potato consumption to high blood pressure in adults. The research is only observational, but the results are most likely to spark debate123

Potatoes are produced in 125 nations and in all U.S. states. There are 4,000 types, and the global crop is higher than three hundred million metric tons.

There are some nutritional advantages to the potato, but, as latest study seems to show, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

U.S. government food programs in the beginning limited starchy vegetables, like as potato, to one cup a week, but in more recent years, the potato has come back to U.S. government healthy meals programs.

The justified reason for their inclusion is based on their high potassium content, which is connected with reduced blood pressure.

In spite of the well noted effect of potassium on blood pressure, the long-term results of a potato heavy diet on blood pressure has not formerly been examined.

A fresh look at potatoes and health:

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, examined association among potato intake and blood pressure for the first time.

The research team looked at potatoes in all their forms. Data were obtained from 3 large American studies, comprising over 20 years and charting the diets of 187,453 people.

The team controlled for several factors, which includes weight, smoking status, level of physical exercise, and present dietary habits.

After accounting for these aspects, the team identified that consuming 4 or more servings of mashed, baked, or boiled potatoes each week was connected with an enhanced threat of high blood pressure, or hypertension, in comparison to less than one serving per week. The effect was not identified in men.

On additional research, the study team identified that changing one serving of potatoes each week with a part of non-starchy vegetables was connected with a considerable drop in blood pressure.

Also, an enhanced consumption of French fries was connected with elevated hypertension in both men as well as women. More amazingly, those who taken greater amounts of potato chips did not show an enhanced risk for hypertension and, actually, the men who consumed more chips demonstrated a decreased hypertension risk.

How might potatoes raise blood pressure?

Potatoes have a greater glycemic index than other veggies, and this can lead to a raise in blood sugar after a meal. Higher sugar in the blood – well-known as hyperglycemia – has formerly been related with oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction, and inflammation, all of which support could explain a higher hypertension threat.

It is worth noting that the present study was observational, so causation cannot be confirmed at this stage. In addition, self-reporting of diet is often open to errors – no one has best recall. And, obviously, not everybody is completely truthful when it comes to a diet-based survey.

However, if the outcomes are backed up by upcoming studies, the investigators consider they “have possibly significant public health ramifications” due to the fact “they do not support a possible benefit from the addition of potatoes as vegetables in government food programs.”

The research is associated by an editorial, written by Prof. M. F. Harris and R. A. Laws, named “Dietary patterns matter more than isolated food items, and that’s what we should be studying.”

The authors put focus on the significance of the whole diet, instead of particular food kinds. For instance, the glycemic index of a potato differs between types and also relies upon on how it is prepared – fried potatoes are not all equal, the duration of time they are cooked for and the kind of oil they are used for cooking can make a change.

Additionally, the quantity of protein and fiber consumed at the same sitting impact the entire glycemic index of the whole meal. The authors of the editorial conclude:

“We will keep on to depend on prospective cohort studies, but those that analyze connections between different dietary patterns and risk of disease offer more helpful insights for both policy makers and practitioners than does a focus on individual foods or nutrients.”

Simply because hypertension raises the possibility of heart disease and stroke and impacts about 70 million American adults, no question, the potato blood pressure discussion will continue.