Hot Potato
Chester J. Zelasko, Ph.D. | April 3, 2008

A regular reader recently asked me if an eating tip given out by the Biggest Loser website was true. The tip said that eating hot potatoes raised blood sugar much higher than eating cold potatoes; people concerned about blood sugar or following a diet that focused on the Glycemic Index should avoid hot potatoes. True or false?

The answer is both. In the study that was the basis for the tip, researchers compared the blood sugar and insulin response from white bread to hot boiled potatoes, cold potatoes, and cold potatoes mixed with a vinaigrette dressing. The hot potatoes raised blood sugar more than the other two forms.

One of the reasons was that as the potatoes cooled, the starch content rose--that blunted the glucose response when eaten. But the reason the tip is irrelevant is that no one eats hot potatoes with nothing else. If you add sour cream or butter or eat meat with the potato--any kind of fat or protein--it will diminish the effect on blood sugar.

Potatoes with the skins are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Hot or cold, a medium baked potato is a healthy part of any meal.

Reference: Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005 Nov;59(11):1266-71.
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