Wednesday, 18 May 2016

With a Pinch of Salt?


A study, on over 180k people in the USA, has suggested that eating potato, in any form, up to 4 times a week can elevate blood pressure and increase the risks of both coronary heart disease and stroke (www.theguardian.com/society/2016/may/17/potato-blight-eating-spuds-four-times-a-week-could-be-harmful). The study didn't measure the salt content of the diet and surprisingly found no link between crisp ('chip') consumption and elevated blood pressure. The author's main concern was that the starch in the potatoes presented a large glycaemic load. The polysaccharide starch certain has to be digested to its basic building blocks of glucose before the body can absorb it but the 'sugar load' when occur more slowly than, for example, taking on board sugars (especially glucose) in cakes and drinks. Perhaps there are other factors associated with high potato consumption (how many fries and mash is in a portion anyhow?) including the salt (although you would expect crisps to be high in this). What about exercise, smoking and tendencies to eat out? I am more relaxed about modest potato consumption (especially with the skins) than by high energy drinks.

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Pat Bateson

I have just noted the obituary of Sir Patrick Bateson 1938-2017 ( https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/aug/14/sir-patrick-bateson-ob...