Spuds are now linked to higher blood pressure
Published 18/05/2016 | 02:30
It remains our favourite dinner staple - but the latest advice is to cut down on the spuds.
We will eat around 180,000 tonnes of spuds in Ireland this year.
New research, however, is suggesting higher intakes of boiled, baked, mashed potatoes and French fries is associated with increased risk of developing high blood pressure.
The advice is to replace one serving a day of boiled, baked or mashed potatoes with a non-starchy vegetable.
The guideline is contained in a new study published in the 'British Medical Journal' today.
High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
It affects around half of people in Ireland over the age of 50.
Potatoes have a high glycemic index compared with other vegetables, so can trigger a sharp rise in blood sugar levels, and this could be one explanation for the findings.
Researchers based at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School set out to determine whether higher long-term intake of baked, boiled or mashed potatoes, French fries, and potato crisps was associated with higher incidents of hypertension.
They 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.
High blood pressure was reported by participants based on diagnosis by a health professional.
After taking account of several other risk factors for hypertension, the researchers found that four or more servings a week of potatoes cooked in various ways was associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure compared with less than one serving a month in women, but not in men.
Higher consumption of French fries was also associated with an increased risk of hypertension in both women and men.
However, consumption of potato crisps was associated with no increased risk.
People can reduce blood pressure by losing weight, reducing their intake of salt, exercising regularly, cutting back on alcohol and stopping smoking.