SAN DIEGO, Calif., April 25, 2012 – Preliminary Research presented today at The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Conference in San Diego demonstrates that habitual consumption of white potatoes (baked, boiled and mashed) is not associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes or levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of systemic inflammation once potential confounding factors are controlled for (e.g., age, gender, and education). Previous studies examining the association between potato consumption and disease states have failed to consider demographic factors that could potentially confound the relationships such as age, gender, race/ethnicity, and education. "One of the purposes of this study was that we hypothesized demographic factors – particularly socioeconomic status – might be associated with both potato consumption and the prevalence of obesity and diabetes. Therefore we controlled for these factors," said lead researcher Adam Drewnowski, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology and Director of the Nutritional Sciences Program at the University of Washington.
Dr. Drewnowski and colleagues examined dietary intake and health data in a representative sample of 5,800 adults using two cycles (2003-2004 and 2005-2006) of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). After controlling for demographic variables, the researchers found no association between the frequency of potato consumption and obesity, diabetes or C-reactive protein.
Dr. Drewnowski and colleagues further analyzed the NHANES survey data to look at different potato preparations in Americans' diet including French fries, home fries, tater tots, chips, baked, mashed, boiled and salad. They found that although Americans may eat fried potatoes at restaurants, relatively few Americans were preparing fried potatoes at home: only 26% of fried potato servings were sourced from the grocery store.