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Medical Potatoes and diabetes

  1. Jun 4, 2009 #1
    There's discussion in the popular media that potato consumption is related to the onset or aggravation of Type II diabetes. It's true that potatoes are metabolized to virtually pure glucose, but epidemiological studies appear inconclusive. The problem is that the major risk appears to be associated with French fries. At least one large study did not find a risk with boiled or baked potatoes (without butter or cream?). (Hodge AM, Dallas ER, O Dea K, Giles GG; American Journal of Epidemiology 2007 165(6):603-610)

    Does anyone have any other information on this?

    EDIT: URL links to a search box. type Hodge AM AJE 2007 165(6) and click on links to get the complete paper
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 4, 2009 #2


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    People who already have, or are predisposed to developing diabetes do need to be careful about their diet.

    A big risk factor for developing type II diabetes is obesity. So, if someone is eating a lot of french fries, it's probably less about the actual potato and more about the fats and total calories and obesity. Some studies I've run across in the past talk about the number of potatoes you can eat in a week (like other studies tell you if you eat over a certain number of eggs you'll have other health risks), but I don't remember details anymore. Of course, the size of the potato also matters. Some of the smaller potatoes sold for boiling are a decent serving size. On the other hand, there are going to be a lot of calories in one of those huge baked potatoes sold in steak houses, especially if also loaded with butter or sour cream or cheese.

    One general theme to keep in mind with any food is moderation and variety. Eating a lot of any one thing is rarely part of a good diet.
  4. Jun 5, 2009 #3
    People with uncontrolled Type II diabetes that eat starches (especially late at night) are prone to having the starch metabolised into sugar and then into a alcohol derivative under certain conditions.

    The guidelines for proper diet can be found on the diabetesamerica.org
  5. Jun 5, 2009 #4
    Thanks Moonbear and getitright. I'm not diabetic or overweight now but Type II is in the family. I stopped eating potatoes about year ago when I first heard of this issue. Potatoes are a great source of potassium and help round out a meal, so I do miss them. I now substitute avacados, but like you say, everything in moderation.
  6. Jun 5, 2009 #5
    Eat bananas for Potassium. My best to you on your continued good health.
  7. Jun 5, 2009 #6

    jim mcnamara

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    This is one of the papers that relates glycemic load, glycemic index, to onset of Type II

    Willett W, Manson J, Liu S.,
    Glycemic index, glycemic load, and risk of type 2 diabetes
    Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Jul;76(1):274S-80S

    It basically suggests that products containing white flour and potatoes be minimized in the diet of people who are at risk of type II.
  8. Jun 5, 2009 #7
    Thanks jim mcnamara. I was hoping that those nasty french fries were skewing the data regarding overall potato consumption. The study I cited disaggregated the data somewhat although I found just one sentence regarding this. (The potato lobby jumped right on it though.) It looks like I will be staying potato abstinent and recommending others do so if there's a family history of Type II. (At least until more studies come out absolving non-fried unadorned potatoes.) What about all those farmers in Maine and Idaho?
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2009
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