Diet rich in vegetables vs risk of diabetes: what role do potatoes play?

Diet rich in vegetables vs risk of diabetes: what role do potatoes play?

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What do potatoes mean for diabetes risk and why is the cooking method important? Image credit: Crissy Mitchell/Stocksy.
  • Previous research has not conclusively shown that a diet high in vegetables reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, as might be expected.
  • A new study suggests this could be the result of including potatoes as a vegetable in studies. This confirms that vegetables without potatoes help a person avoid diabetes.
  • Plain, no-frills potatoes have little effect on diabetes risk, according to the study. Fried potatoes, potato chips and mashed potatoes increase the risk.

While it makes sense that a healthy diet that includes plenty of vegetables helps a person avoid type 2 diabetes, the research has been surprisingly inconclusive.

A new study by researchers at Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Perth, Australia, the results of which appear in Diabetic treatments maybe figured out why: potatoes.

The study found that vegetables in general reduce the risk of diabetes, with the exception of potatoes, which are often counted among vegetables in research.

In the study, participants who ate the most vegetables — minus the potatoes — had a 21% reduced risk of diabetes compared to those who didn’t eat substantial amounts of vegetables in their diet.

There was no added benefit for those who ate more than 150-250 grams of vegetables per day.

According to the study, depending on how potatoes are prepared, they may either have no effect on the risk of diabetes or increase it.

According to the study, plain boiled potatoes – and presumably baked potatoes, although they were not considered in the study – neither reduce nor increase the risk of diabetes. However, potatoes such as french fries, mashed potatoes cooked with butter and other ingredients, and potato chips increase the risk of diabetes.

The vegetables most closely associated with a reduced risk of diabetes were green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables.

The study authors drew their conclusions from a cross-sectional analysis of 54,793 participants in the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health Study which collected data on the health of individuals from 1993 to 1997.

All were residents of the Copenhagen and Aarhus areas of Denmark, and their ages at the start of the study ranged from 50 to 64 years old. Participants completed detailed dietary questionnaires and researchers recorded their weight, waist circumference and height.

Of these people, 7,695 had developed type 2 diabetes at the time of follow-up, an average of 16.3 years later.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Nicola P. Bondonno, a postdoctoral researcher at ECU’s School of Medical Health Sciences, recalled for Medical News Today how she and her colleagues were puzzled that vegetables hadn’t been more definitively linked to reduced diabetes risk.

“We dug deeper into the methods used in each individual study and found that many studies included potatoes in their estimate of vegetable intake and did not account for the method of preparation of the potatoes,” we said. she said.

Other studies have not always taken into account “the staple diet of people consuming large amounts of potatoes, which typically included large amounts of red meat, a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.”

Dr. Jason Ng, a clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, not involved in this study, explained that “French fries and potato chips are starchy foods with a higher carbohydrate count.”

“These types of foods,” he said, “trigger your body to produce more insulin to control blood sugar, and if eaten in larger amounts, they can cause you to gain weight in your body.” abdomen, which can cause insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes.

The new study assessed the effects of vegetables and potatoes separately. They concluded that the neutral or even negative effect of the potato on diabetes masked the true benefit of vegetable consumption.

The study authors acknowledge that it is unclear how vegetables might reduce the risk of diabetes.

“Vegetables,” Dr. Bondonno said, “contain nutrients and bioactive compounds, for example fiber, polyphenols, vitamin K and nitrate.” These nutrients can support metabolic health. “But,” she noted, “they’re also relatively low in calories.”

It may just be that a diet that includes lots of vegetables causes a reduction in BMI and weight loss. These are two protective measures against the development of diabetes.

Dr. Bondonno speculated that “[a]Although potatoes contain nutrients and fiber, they are not as rich a source as other vegetables and they have a comparatively higher energy density.

In the study, including all the forms in which people eat potatoes – excluding fries and crisps – the risk of diabetes increased by 9%.

That’s not to say potatoes don’t have a place in a healthy diet, Dr. Ng said:

“Yes, an appropriate amount of potato as part of a well-balanced meal of protein and vegetables can give you all the nutrients you need while making you feel healthier, which may lower your risk. diabetes Moderation and a balance between foods are the key to any good diet.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends maintaining a healthy weight to help reduce the risk of developing diabetes and offers a BMI measurement tool.

The UK’s National Health Service says a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is ideal, although a person should speak to their doctor to identify the most appropriate BMI for them.

A healthy diet, coupled with exercise, is obviously a key part of a healthy weight.

The ADA also offers the Diabetes Plate Method, a tool that can help plan preventive diabetes meals.

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