Eating potatoes may increase high blood pressure risk

New York, May 18 (IANS) Love to binge on potatoes and French fries? If yes, you may be at an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, warns a new study.

Potatoes are one of the world’s most commonly consumed foods — and are a high source of potassium.

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The findings showed that participants who consumed four or more than four servings a week of boiled, baked or mashed potatoes, are at an 11 percent increased risk of hypertension.

Also, a higher consumption of French fries was associated with a 17 percent increased risk of hypertension in both women and men.

However, consumption of potato chips (crisps) was associated with no increased risk.

In addition, potatoes have a high glycaemic index compared with other vegetables, thus it can also trigger a sharp rise in blood sugar levels.

“In the study, participants who did not have high blood pressure at baseline, and consumed four or more servings a week of potatoes (boiled, baked or mashed) later had a higher risk of developing hypertension compared to those who consumed one or less than one serving a month,” said lead author Lea Borgi, physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the US.

Replacing one serving a day of boiled, baked, or mashed potatoes with one serving of a non-starchy vegetable can lower the risk of developing hypertension, the researchers suggested.

For the study, published online in the British Medical Journal, the team 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.

The results “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,” the researchers concluded.

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