New Process May Put White Potatoes Back on Menu

For people with blood sugar concerns, there are some foods that they mostly swear off. We always say you should be able to enjoy almost anything within reason. But we understand that some foods impact blood sugar so much that they just aren’t worth it to folks.

Potatoes are one of those foods. People with blood sugar concerns and folks on low-carb diets are always trying to fill the potato void with mashed cauliflower and different tubers. And lots of vegetables do an excellent job standing in for the root vegetable. But, the fact remains, sometimes you want a real potato. Our usual advice is to plan ahead, keep your portion small and enjoy potatoes if you’re going to eat them!

Potatoes have antioxidants, potassium and vitamins B6 and C. Plus, their skin is high in fiber that can help gut health. However, their carbs have put them out of reach as an everyday food. But, researchers say they have cracked the problem, and a new processing method may be putting potatoes back into people’s regular rotation.

Scientists at the Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation have slowed how quickly the starch is released from potatoes into the body. By blanching diced potatoes with “a food-safe ingredient,” a protective layer is created on the veggie. This makes them par-cooked, so they should be frozen if they aren’t going to be cooked immediately. They can be roasted, added to soups or stir-fries, used for hash browns or other dishes. Taste testers have approved of the flavor and texture.  

There is a perception that potato foods are unhealthy because eating a large amount of some potato foods can cause a rapid increase in blood sugar,” said Dr. Amy Lim, the principal investigator. “Our team revealed that toggling the accessibility of two digestion enzymes — α-amylase and mucosal α-glucosidase — in the small intestine is a successful strategy to make dietary glucose slowly and continuously release from potatoes.”

The process doesn’t stop the body from digesting potatoes, so it doesn’t lower their calorie content. It simply slows it down. Dr. Lim’s team thinks they could tweak the process to make people feel fuller longer after eating potatoes. That could be a future study.  

Clinical trials are needed to see how their impact the digestive system. Right now, the processing method has only been used in a lab study.

We’re excited to learn more about this. If it proves accurate, safe and effective, we’ll be sure to write instructions for the method and share delicious potato dishes in the future!

Banner image: Rodrigo dos Reis via Unsplash

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