Potatoes are one of the most popular foods on our planet. They’re tasty, cheap and easy to cook. The question is are potatoes healthy for you based on science? So, in this article we’ll find out if potatoes are also healthy for us. We’ll check out what does scientific research say about the health benefits of potatoes and their impact on the top 10 leading causes of death such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, etc. .
Potatoes and all cause mortality
A cohort study shows that total (42%), CVD (65%), cerebrovascular (26%) and cancer (52%) mortality risk was greater in individuals with higher potato consumption than those with the lowest intake . However, all these risks disappeared after adjustment for confounding factors (like dietary factors, BMI, HTN and T2DM) .
The results of pooling studies showed a non-significant association between potato intake and risk of total, CVD and stroke mortality. However, participants with higher potato consumption had a much less favorable profile of cardiovascular and cardiometabolic risk factors; these associations were independent of demographic, lifestyle and dietary factors .
One more cohort study found that, overall, white potato consumption was not associated with a higher risk of mortality after adjustment for pertinent confounders. However, the consumption of fried potatoes >2 times/wk was consistently associated with an increased mortality risk in this population of older adults .
A systematic review of 41 studies (28 reports) concluded that total potato consumption is not related to risk for many chronic diseases but could pose a small increase in risk for T2D (type 2 diabetes) if consumed boiled. A clear risk relation was found between French-fries consumption and risk of T2D and hypertension .
Potatoes and diabetes
Meta-analysis of 41 studies shows that French fries consumption increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and hypertension .
A systematic review of 13 studies shows that there is no evidence to suggest an association between intake of potatoes and risks of obesity, T2D, or CVD. French fries may be associated with increased risks of obesity and T2D although confounding may be present .
Meta-analyses of 9 studies say that potatoes in any form (boiled, fried, baked) significantly increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes [6, 7].
At the same time, studies note that replacing potatoes with whole grains can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes [6, 7].
Also, it’s noted that cooling and reheating potatoes, as well as adding vinegar or lemon juice, can reduce the glycemic index and thus reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes when eating potatoes  as several meta-analyses state that it is the glycemic index affects the risk of developing type 2 diabetes [8, 9].
Potatoes and cancer
A systematic review says that moderate evidence indicates that dietary patterns that are higher in red and processed meats, French fries, potatoes, and sources of sugars (e.g., sugar-sweetened beverages, sweets and dessert foods) are associated with a greater colon and rectal cancer risk .
So, are potatoes healthy for you? It looks like scientific research shows that in general potatoes do not increase the risk of diseases and mortality after adjustment for confounding factors. There are some exceptions though. For example, french fries are associated with the increased risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes and mortality.
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