Washington: You may want to cut down on your potato consumption as a new study has suggested that they can raise your risk for having high blood pressure.
The study found that higher intakes of boiled, baked or mashed potatoes and French fries is associated with an increased risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension) in adult women and men.
The US-based researchers suggest that replacing one serving a day of boiled, baked or mashed potatoes with one serving of a non-starchy vegetable is associated with a lower risk of developing hypertension.
But a linked editorial argues that studying overall dietary patterns and risk of disease is more useful than a focus on individual foods or nutrients.
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School followed over 187,000 men and women from three large US studies for more than 20 years. Dietary intake, including frequency of potato consumption, was assessed using a questionnaire. Hypertension was reported by participants based on diagnosis by a health professional.
The authors point out that potatoes have a high glycaemic index compared with other vegetables and so, can trigger a sharp rise in blood sugar levels and this could be one explanation for the findings.
They also acknowledge some study limitations and say that, as with any observational study, no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect.
Nevertheless, they say their findings “have potentially important public health ramifications, as they do not support a potential benefit from the inclusion of potatoes as vegetables in government food programs but instead support a harmful effect that is consistent with adverse effects of high carbohydrate intakes seen in controlled feeding studies.”