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Potatoes' healthy reputation fighting fit

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Potatoes' healthy reputation fighting fit

Potatoes have shaken off their inaccurate reputation promoted by 'fad diets' in that the glycaemic index for a meal containing potato was not as high as anticipated, a new University of Otago study has revealed.

The University of Otago study released findings this week, concluding that it is hard to predict the glycaemic index (GI) levels of mixed meals for individuals. The GI measures the effects of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels.

"I don't think people should be too afraid of putting high-GI foods into their meals - our work suggests that having a medium sized potato (170g) with a meal every day isn't going to drive your blood sugar crazy," lead researcher Dr Bernard Venn says.

The study, of 30 healthy adults aged from 18 to 50, by Dr Bernard Venn and colleagues at the University of Otago's Department of Human Nutrition, found that it was difficult to predict the actual GI values of mixed meals for individuals eating them, even if the GI values of the individual parts of the meal were known. They found that the GI for each meal was not as high as initially anticipated.

"Therefore, although a potato is a high-GI food, a meal containing potato is not necessarily so," Dr Venn says.

Glenda Gourley, food and education consultant for Potatoes New Zealand believes, this is a very positive result for potatoes. "These findings along with many other positive reports simply reinforce the message that potatoes are packed with essential vitamins and minerals.

"I hope that New Zealand's health and weight conscious consumers understand eating potatoes every day is good for them and their families."

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