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Humble spud could be harming your health

Humble spud could be harming your health

Eating frequent servings of potato, be they boiled, baked, mashed or made into french fries can lead to high blood pressure in adults, according to a study published by The BMJ.

The US-based researchers suggest replacing one serving a day of potatoes with a non-starchy vegetable to lower the risk of developing high blood pressure.

Potatoes are one of the world’s most commonly consumed foods – and have recently been included as vegetables in US government healthy meals programs, due to their high potassium content.

But the association of potato intake with hypertension has not been studied. So 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 chips (crisps) was associated with incident hypertension.

They followed more than 187,000 men and women from three large US studies for more than 20 years.

After taking account of several other risk factors for hypertension, the researchers found that four or more servings a week of baked, boiled, or mashed potatoes was associated with an increased risk of hypertension compared with less than one serving a month in women, but not in men.

Researchers say the findings could “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.”

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