A study has revealed that higher intakes of boiled, baked, or mashed potatoes, and French fries is associated with an increased risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension) in adult women and men.
In order to study the association of potato intake with hypertension, researchers based at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School followed over 187,000 men and women from three large US studies for more than 20 years.
Dietary intake, including frequency of potato consumption, was assessed using a questionnaire. Hypertension was reported by participants based on diagnosis by a health professional.
After taking account of several other risk factors for hypertension, the researchers found that four or more servings a week of baked, boiled, or mashed potatoes was associated with an increased risk of hypertension compared with less than one serving a month in women, but not in men.
Higher consumption of French fries was also associated with an increased risk of hypertension in both women and men. However, consumption of potato chips (crisps) was associated with no increased risk.
The authors point out that potatoes have a high glycaemic index compared with other vegetables, so can trigger a sharp rise in blood sugar levels, and this could be one explanation for the findings.