Monday, July 03, 2006

Chilling Potatoes Make Them Low-Glycemic?

Can potatoes be prepared so they don't effect your blood sugar?

I subscribe to an e-mail list from an online publication called RealAge which generally gives a lot of low-fat, watch your calories and portions, easy on the salt, yadda yadda yadda advice regarding healthy eating. But this article today about one of livin' la vida low-carb biggest enemies -- the potato -- especially caught my attention because it claimed to make this low-carb nemesis rank low on the glycemic index, which is just a kissing cousin of low-carb. Oh, this I HAVE to find out about!

With studies showing potato consumption linked to diabetes and the high-carb content found in spuds make them an unhealthy food for people to eat who want to control their weight, this article says there is a way to neutralize the impact on your blood sugar that potatoes have making them low-glycemic by following a simple cooking and preparation procedure.

Here's how the column suggests making potato salad low-glycemic:

1. Boil the potatoes one day before you want to use them.
2. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
3. Use vinegar and olive oil instead of mayonaisse for the dressing.

That's it! According to RealAge, following these steps will make potatoes a perfectly acceptable food for diabetics and low-carbers alike to enjoy. Are you buying it? NOT ME! I've never heard of such a thing and wonder if any of the food scientists and health experts who visit my blog would like to enlighten us on this phenomenon. It sounds bogus to me. Please share your comments using the link below or e-mail me your feedback about this to

With things like low-carb potatoes emerging over the past couple of years, the apparent need that people have to still include potatoes in their diet simply astounds me. I for one don't miss eating potatoes at all because there are so many other heathy and fulfilling options for delicious and nutritious vegetables to eat on my low-carb lifestyle.

If you want an amazing low-carb "potato" (made with cauliflower) salad, then check out this great-tasting recipe that one of my readers shared earlier this year. You DEFINITELY don't have to worry about this one raising your blood sugar levels and you even get to make it with real full-fat mayonaisse and mustard. Mmmmm! None of that low-fat crap, baby! Pile on the mayo and don't think twice about it!

While this RealAge article acknowledges the negative impact that high-glycemic foods like potatoes, doughnuts, ice cream, white bread, starchy vegetables and processed foods have on your blood sugar which can lead to heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, it still recommends people eat more whole grain breads, pastas, cereals, beans, low-fat dairy, and fruits and veggies -- all of which contain high amounts of sugar and carbohydrates. While those things might sound "healthy," they too can cause problems with raising your blood sugar and should be consumed lightly or not at all.

I suppose you can go ahead and cook up your potatoes, chill 'em, and mix them with vinegar and olive oil if you want to. As for me, though, I think I'll take a pass. It's not even worth taking the chance going on that blood sugar rollercoaster ride again. NO THANK YOU!

7-5-06 UPDATE: I'm getting a lot of feedback on this topic, many of whom are taking me to task for doubting this phenomenon. Look, I never said it DOESN'T happen, all I'm suggesting is that we all don't need to go out loading up our grocery carts with potatoes.

Here's what one of my readers shared about it:

"Don't know about the chilling but it is a known biochemical fact that vinegar has an effect upon the digestion of starch. Vinegar retards digestion. Experiments have shown that as small a portion of vinegar as one in 5,000 appreciably diminishes the digestion of starch by its inhibiting or destructive effect upon the salivary amylase. One part in 1,000 renders starch digestion very slow and twice this quantity arrests it altogether."

When I bring up topics like this, I am searching for answers so we can all learn something new. I did not know about this before, so we are all better educated as a result of the discussion. THANKS for the feedback!

7-8-06 UPDATE: One of my astute readers pointed out this study that seems to confirm this process with chilling and adding vinegar to potatoes.

See for yourself:

Vinegar dressing and cold storage of potatoes lowers postprandial glycaemic and
insulinaemic responses in healthy subjects. Leeman, M., Ostman, E., Bjorck, I.,
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2005 Nov;59(11):1266-1271.

I don't know about you, but this still doesn't make me want to run out to the store and buy big sacks of potatoes, though.


Blogger 1Peter3 said...

That's odd... I'd read many years ago that storing raw potatoes in the fridge somehow increases the sugar content in them. (I'm still not sure I buy that one, either!)

I guess the fridge giveth and the fridge taketh away?


7/03/2006 8:06 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

A low-GI potato is very different from a low-carb potato. With low GI all the carbs are there and absorbed, it's just slower so there's no blood sugar spike. You still have to count all the carbs though, so no, it wouldn't work for low-carbers.

7/03/2006 9:24 PM  
Blogger detox said...

I think potatoes are a cultural thing. For my mother (who is of a tiny frame and has been the same weight for about 35 years now) a real meal isn't a meal without potatoes. She would never ever give up potatoes, because they are so 2healthy" (aka good carbs, fat free) and she's been growing tem all her life. Since it works for her...

My in-laws regard a meal without bread incomplete. On our last visit they were annyed at me because I just ate fresh mango and a little yogurt for breakfast - and my husband supported me. "But you _have_ to eat bread!" they insisted. It is just anotherw orld. Some people won't buy a 'diet' they can't have their staples on... they were told 4 decaeds that bread and potatoes are good for you (and they are cheap) so they won't let some wise-ass tell them they were wrong ;)

7/04/2006 5:40 AM  
Blogger aj said...

Being a type 2 diabetic, I don't think this would be an acceptable way to eat potatoes. The carbs would still be ingested, and a serving would almost be more than my daily allowance. But I have found a way to enjoy the occasional mashed potato serving. (Sorry, Jimmy, I don't like the mashed cauliflower). Here in Florida, they sell a low carb potato in the produce dept of Publix (and other places) called SunLite Gourmet Potatoes. They are 30% lower in carbs than russets. They are like a white or red potato, 18 gr. carbs w/4 gr fiber. This is still too much for me, but I have found a way of cooking them to make them more in line with my way of eating. I take, say 2 or 3 med. sized potatoes, diced, with an equal amount of chopped celery, cooked together until tender in chicken or boullion broth. Then drain well, add a drained can of artichokes, chopped, butter, garlic oil, or whatever. Using a hand-held blender, whip until it's as smooth as you like it. They are wonderful! My husband, not a low carber, and not an artichoke lover, is crazy about them. You will only taste potatoes, but I figure I'm getting less than 1/2 a potato in a serving, which would be less than 7 gr of carbs per serving. Even if you can't find the low carb potatoes, red potatoes could be used without too much of a carb count. This is for those people who MUST now & then, satisfy their potato taste, without going overboard. Other non starchy vegetables could also be used. This is definitely not for someone who is not on induction, or fairly new. But I have kept my weight off for a couple of years now, and allow myself these little treats now & then.

7/06/2006 1:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The people at realage were probably referring to "resistant starch". Here's an article:

And an excerpt from it:
By CARY ASPINWALL World Scene Writer
Published: 6/19/2008 2:05 AM
Last Modified: 6/19/2008 3:58 AM

Now that most Americans are over carbohydrate phobia, it's about which carbs are worth the calories — choosing high-fiber and whole-grain carbs over processed, empty-calorie versions.

But a certain class of carbs is getting new attention for what scientists say amounts to fat-burning power: resistant starches.

In simple terms, they're starches that aren't easily digested, and as a result, have fewer net calories than rapidly digested starches. Because their digestion takes longer, sugars from these starches take longer to enter your bloodstream — meaning they won't spike your blood sugar quickly and get socked away as body fat.

Potatoes, corn and rice — so maligned during the height of low-carb mania — all contain resistant starch when cooked and cooled. So those foods served chilled, as well as beans and legumes, partly milled grains and seeds and underripe bananas, can work to your advantage when it comes to healthy eating and cutting calories, according to several major studies.

"It's not like straight glucose going into your bloodstream," said Christina DeWitt, a food chemist at Oklahoma State University's Food & Agricultural Products Center. "There are good benefits to these carbohydrates — in moderation, of course."

1/23/2009 3:24 PM  

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