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Cold Potatoes

By David Mendosa

Posted On: January 19, 2006

Potatoes are one of the most nutritious of all foods. The USDA’s “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” says that they are one of the best sources of vitamin C and potassium. Another U.S. Government site shows that they are also “a rich source of fiber.”

What do cold and vinegar have in common?

Boiled potatoes are more than three times as satisfying as white bread. They are easily the most satisfying food ever tested in “satiety index” studies.

Yet potatoes are scorned for being so high glycemic. It is true that baked Russet Burbank potatoes have a GI of about 85, which is considerably higher than that of table sugar.

But there are many other varieties of potato. Among potatoes, new and some white potatoes have the lowest indexes. The reason that new potatoes have a lower GI is probably because most of the amylopectin is less branched — it is more like amylose at this immature stage.

New research is even more promising to potato lovers. A recent study reported in Nutrition Research concluded that cooled potato resulted in a significantly lower postprandial [after meal] blood glucose and area under the glucose curve than hot potatoes.

An even more recent study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that the potato’s high GI can be reduced by use of vinegar dressing and/or by serving cold potato products.

A great way to take advantage of this, according to Professor Jennie Brand-Miller, is to make a potato salad the day before and toss it a vinaigrette dressing. “There are a couple of simple reasons for this,” she writes. “The cold storage increases the potatoes’ resistant starch content by more than a third and the acid in the vinaigrette — whether you make it with lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar — will slow stomach emptying.”

You can keep your blood glucose under control and still enjoy potatoes. Just enjoy the right type of potatoes prepared the right way. 

This article originally appeared on on January 19, 2006.

    David Mendosa is a freelance journalist and consultant specializing in diabetes and lives in Boulder, Colorado. When he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in February 1994, he began to write entirely about that condition. His articles and columns have appeared in many of the major diabetes magazines and websites. His own website, David Mendosa’s Diabetes Directory, established in 1995, was one of the first and is now one of the largest with that focus. Every month he also publishes an online newsletter called “Diabetes Update.” He is a co-author of What Makes My Blood Glucose Go Up...And Down? (New York: Marlowe & Co., August 2003).

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