Remember the best-selling book Potatoes Not Prozac? Well, you know I have no love lost on antidepressants. But if you ask me, potatoes are just as bad. Especially given their role in the twin epidemics of diabetes and obesity.
Granted, they’re not exactly nutritionally devoid. (Though French fries and potato chips definitely scrape the bottom of the barrel in this department.) Potatoes do contain potassium and other nutrients. Still, generally speaking, chowing down on these carbohydrate bombs is just a bad idea, pure and simple.
And not only for your waistline and your blood sugar, either. New research shows that potatoes may also put you at higher risk of hypertension.
Scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School set out to determine whether eating a lot of potatoes might raise a person’s odds of high blood pressure. Their results appeared in the British Medical Journal.
And let’s just say they’re a pretty clear indictment of regular potato consumption.
This study pooled results from three different American studies, featuring more than 187,000 subjects and spanning more than two decades. Patients reported the frequency and variety of their potato consumption, with categories covering baked, boiled, and mashed, as well as chips and fries.
When the researchers compared the subjects’ potato consumption with rates of doctor-diagnosed high blood pressure, they a concerning correlation.
Subjects who reported eating four or more servings of potatoes a week — in any form — faced a significantly higher risk of hypertension than those who ate less than a single serving a month.
Not that anyone should be shocked by this. Potatoes are loaded with starch and deliver a significant spike to blood sugar when you eat them. Uncontrolled blood sugar sends your metabolic system into a tailspin — and blood pressure regulation is one of the first functions on the chopping block when this system is compromised.
Factor in the added effects of weight gain (and make no mistake, eating too many potatoes will make you fat) — and you’ve got a surefire recipe for high blood pressure. I’m just happy to see that word has finally gotten out.
Of course, you’re going to come across critics who say that we shouldn’t be singling out one single food as the culprit. But isn’t that exactly what they always do? And usually incorrectly, I might add.
After all, these same critics believe it’s perfectly okay to demonize salt… yet somehow, they think that potatoes should be spared that same logic.
Well, I don’t.
Despite the sad tendency to designate potatoes as a vegetable, your body simply doesn’t see them that way. Biologically, they’re pure starch — higher in sugar and carbs than just about any other ACTUAL vegetable you could be eating.
But, leave it to the U.S. government to throw science to the wind and categorize white potatoes alongside fruit and vegetables, simply because they contain a generous dose of potassium. (Though clearly, not enough to counteract their harmful effects on blood pressure.)
Bottom line here? If you want more potassium, get it from green leafy vegetables or a good multivitamin. And skip the side of potatoes.
For more information on what you should — and shouldn’t — be eating to keep your blood pressure in check and your heart operating at peak performance, check out my report The World’s Easiest Heart Disease Cure. You can learn more about it or order a copy by clicking here.