Health/Nutrition/Food Safety, Research, Studies/Reports

Potato-heavy diet linked to high blood pressure – but of course, it’s complicated

Potatoes are a popular staple of the American diet, but eating too many – whether boiled, baked, mashed, or fried – may raise the risk for high blood pressure, a new study suggests. Consuming four or more servings of potatoes a week was linked with an increased risk for high blood pressure—11 percent for baked, boiled, or mashed and 17 percent for fried—compared with eating less than one serving a month. Surprisingly, potato chips didn’t appear to increase the risk, the Harvard researchers reported. One nutrition expert said it’s not potatoes that are the problem as much as all the fixings people put on them. “The poor potato’s reputation gets dinged again with this study,” said Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at New York University Medical Center in New York City. Potatoes have been a staple in human diets for centuries, long before high blood pressure was the problem it is today, she said. And while potatoes are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, minerals, energy, and fiber (if not peeled), the reality is most Americans eat potatoes coated in salt, slathered in butter or loaded with sour cream, cheese and bacon bits, Heller said. “It is no wonder that researchers found that high consumption was associated with poor health,” she said. More

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