Breeding, Health/Nutrition/Food Safety, North America, Research, Studies/Reports, Varieties

US researchers identify potato cultivars with a low glycemic index

A team of researchers at Montana State University and North Dakota State University recently reported on results of a study into potato varieties thought to have a low glycemic index (GI). The results were published in an unrefereed preprint on August 9 by bioRxiv.

In the abstract, the research team points out that potatoes provide valuable carbohydrates and vitamins with minimal fat to a significant portion of the world population. However, most commercially produced potatoes have a high content of highly branched amylopectin starch, which generally results in a high glycemic index (GI). Consumption of foods with high levels of amylopectin elicit a rapid spike in blood glucose levels, which is undesirable for individuals who are pre-diabetic, diabetic, or obese.

According to the researchers, some cultivars of potatoes with lower rapidly digestible amylopectin levels have previously been identified and are commercially available in niche markets in some countries, but are relatively unavailable in the United States and Latin America.

The research team evaluated 60 potato cultivars to identify cultivars with low amylopectin – that are thought to have low GI potential. Although differences were detected among the cultivars, the most promising are Huckleberry Gold, Muru, Multa, Green Mountain, and an October Blue x Colorado Rose cross.

The scientists say further work is necessary to document the ability of these low amylopectin cultivars to reduce blood glucose spike levels in human subjects.

Source: bioRxiv. Preprint published here
Research team: Rocio Rivas, Edward Dratz, Thomas Wagner, Gary Secor, Amanda D Leckband, David Sands
For correspondence: David Sands –
Cover photo: Lemon & Sophia

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