Tuesday, July 5, 2011

CPC challenges study

OTTAWA – The Canadian Potato Council (CPC) is challenging the conclusions of a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on potatoes and potato consumption, which wrongly depicts potatoes as a hindrance to weight loss and maintaining a healthy body weight.

The majority of the scientific nutrition community states that potatoes are nutrient-dense, meaning many nutrients are obtained for the amount of calories.

According to leading nutritionists such as Dr. Katherine Beals, R.D., Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and a nutrition consultant to the United States Potato Board, “the study calls into question the long-validated idea that the ultimate determinate of weight gain and weight loss is calories in and calories out…but the study says ‘total energy intake was not included as a co-variable.’ This means calories weren’t included in the analyses. So it’s disingenuous for the researchers to say calories aren’t important because their study didn’t control for them.”

Both the CPC and the United States Potato Board point to the following scientifically validated facts about potatoes which will allow people to make a better informed decision when choosing whether or not to eat potatoes:

• Potatoes are vegetables. In fact, they are one of the most naturally nutrient-dense vegetables available. One medium-size (5.3 ounce) skin-on potato contains just 110 calories per serving, has more potassium (620g) than a banana, provides almost half the daily value of vitamin C (45 per cent), and contains no fat, sodium or cholesterol.

• One baked potato offers about 20 per cent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin B6, which is good news for your heart. They are a good source of iron and copper. In fact, a potato a day is good for your heart, promoting normal blood-pressure levels. As it turns out, the bad rap belongs to the toppings. The health-conscious will want to bake, not fry, and be conscious of the nutritional value of the oils, toppings, and condiments that touch our spuds.

• You can lose the weight, without losing the potatoes. Research released by the University of California, Davis and the National Center for Food Safety and Technology, Illinois Institute of Technology in October 2010 demonstrates that people can include potatoes in their diet and still lose weight.

• Dr. Britt Burton-Freeman, PhD, MS and Director at the National Center for Food Safety and Technology (NCFST), Illinois Institute of Technology stated “there is no evidence that potatoes, when prepared in a healthful manner, contribute to weight gain. In fact, we are seeing that they can be part of a weight loss program.”

• Research released in April 2011 using data from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008 demonstrates that meals including potatoes contain more servings of other vegetables, and are significantly higher in potassium, fibre and vitamin C.
“The (New England Journal of Medicine) study is confusing, as it fails to quantify how an extra serving of any food or beverage will affect your weight. Potatoes are Canada’s number one vegetable, and an extremely healthy, versatile part of our diet,” said CPC Chair Keith Kuhl.

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