Be it baked, boiled or mashed, eating potatoes four times a week could cause high blood pressure, a recent study suggests.
A U.S. study has cautioned against having potatoes four times a week, after findings showed that such consumption increases blood pressure and risk of strokes and heart attacks.
The study, published in the BMJ, found that the dangers of overconsumption stretched beyond the category of potato chips. Baked, boiled or mashed, excessive intake of potatoes could result in hypertension, also known as high blood pressure.
“We found independent prospective associations of higher intake of baked, boiled or mashed potatoes and french fries with an increased risk of hypertension,” researchers wrote.
“These findings have potentially important public health ramifications, as they do not support a potential benefit from the inclusion of potatoes as vegetables in government food programmes, but instead support a harmful effect that is consistent with adverse effects of high carbohydrate intakes,” they added.
Researchers drew conclusions after analysing three large studies in the U.S, involving over 187,000 men and women in total. In particular, the health of those who ate potatoes once a month was compared with others who consumed it four or more times in a week.
They found that the latter group had a higher risk of hypertension across all three studies. The latest findings has challenged official dietary advice in the United Kingdom, where citizens have been taught to anchor meals on a main carbohydrate that includes potatoes. Potatoes are not a mainstay in the Asian diet of countries like Singapore.
Experts have challenged the study’s findings. Senior dietician Victoria Taylor of the British Heart Foundation said the study is inconclusive.
“Although a higher consumption of potatoes… was associated with high blood pressure, it is still possible that other factors in the diet or lifestyle are also affecting the results, especially as both the blood pressure and food frequency were self-reported,” she said.
Read The Guardian for the full report.