When you think potatoes, would you think unhealthy? For chips and crisps sure, but surprisingly a paper published in the British Medical Journal found that potato prepared in many ways can lead to high blood pressure.
The researchers were interested to see if intake of potato, in whatever form, is correlated with high blood pressure, or hypertension.
To do this, they brought together the data from 3 large studies and compared potato intake to incidence of hypertension. The form the potato took was split into groups of (1) baked, boiled or mashed, (2) Chips (or French fries if you prefer) and (3) Crisps (or chips in some places if you want to get confusing).
They found that consumption of potato when baked, boiled, mashed or as chips were all associated with an increased risk of hypertension. Strangely, this association was not seen for crisps.
They suggest that the high glycemic index of potato (a measure of how quickly a food affects a person’s blood sugar level) could be responsible for the increase in hypertension. They also found that replacing one serving of potato a day with a non starchy vegetable was associated with a lower risk of developing hypertension. Or if you can’t live without your mash potato why not reduce it by substituting some of it for mashed carrot or squash.
As for the result with the crisps, well, perhaps that deserves a bit more investigation.