Potatoes may actually help you LOSE weight

red and yellow potatoesWeight-watching women, rejoice! Often maligned by nutritionists and weight loss experts, potatoes could soon redeem themselves thanks to an experiment conducted by researchers at McGill University, which revealed that Irish potato extract could actually play a key role in the fight against obesity. That is awesome news for those of us who love ourselves some papas!

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As part of an experiment, mice were fed obesity-inducing diets that were high in fats and refined carbohydrates for 10 weeks. To the scientists' surprise, mice that consumed the same exact diet along with a potato extract gained less than half the weight piled on by their potato-free counterparts. Shocked by the findings, the scientists repeated the study once again, unearthing the same results. These findings suggest that potato extract could help humans in the the fight against obesity and type 2 diabetes.

In the initial study, mice that started out weighing 25 grams gained 16 grams after 10 weeks of consuming the investigator's fatty diet, while those mice who had the same diet along with the aforementioned potato extract gained only 7 grams over the same period of time. Stan Kubow and Luis Agellon, two of the study's authors, attribute these results to the high polyphenol content found in potatoes.

Though previously published studies revealed that potatoes are rich in potassium, along with vitamins B and C, and that they could help lower blood pressure, research also linked these root vegetables to weight gain. A Harvard University study that tracked the diet choices of 120,000 participants over a 12-year span found that, an extra serving of potatoes--whether fried, mashed, baked, or puréed--resulted in an average weight gain of 1.3 pounds. It's important to note, then, that the McGill University study revealed potato extract could have beneficial results for those whose diets are already sending them careening toward obesity as opposed to those making educated and disciplined food choices. 

The McGill University researchers are suggesting that perhaps it might be beneficial to make a potato extract like the one they used in their study available as a dietary supplement or cooking ingredient. This would allow people to benefit from the potato-derived polyphenols without increasing their spud intake and risking weight gain.

So will potatoes become the next quinoa? Probably not. But they might no longer be considered villains in the battle of the bulge.

Image via Thinkstock

Topics: diet  food  healthy eating  losing weight  study  weight loss  obesity  nutrition