Dietitians mash potato diet

Brad Arnott of Farmer Lous with some potatoes.
Brad Arnott of Farmer Lous with some potatoes. Adam Hourigan

DIETITIANS have declared war on the potato, with a national body declaring Australia adults should cut their spud intake by 40%.

A draft report from the National Health and Medical Research Council has recommended the drop in potato consumption along with a 54% cut in high-fat dairy products.

The good news was a recommendation for a big increase in the consumption of greens, carrots, beans, nuts, fruit and fish to prevent the diseases of affluence, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

The attack on potatoes was startling news to Grafton green grocer Lou Felice, who said potatoes were the top-selling vegetable at his Farmer Lou's outlets.

"It's something we will have to take into consideration when we are buying in veges," he said.

"We've always had a selection of potatoes. We based our selection on the different cooking properties they had."

Mr Felice said he would look into properties of potatoes, such as carisma, which produced a low figure (55) on the glycaemic index (GI).

The GI number of food represents the speed at which the body is able to convert carbohydrates in food into sugars.

A high number, above 70, means a quick conversion into sugar, which creates a spike in blood- sugar levels.

Dietitians say this leads to heightened insulin production, which in turn encourages the body to break down carbohydrates rather than fat.

The failure to break down fat is responsible for weight gain.

However, there could be a snag for greengrocers sourcing healthier varieties of spud.

Causley Fresh owner Karl Causley said the Coles Supermarket chain owned the carisma variety, which could only be sold in its outlets.

"A better solution to the (obesity) problem could be that people get off their arses and move around a bit," Mr Causley said.

"And I'm sure that too much of any one thing can't be good for you, whatever it is."


Views on a healthy lifestyle

The revised Australian Dietary Guidelines have been updated with recent scientific evidence about the relationships between food, dietary patterns and health outcomes.

The evidence base has strengthened for:

  • The association between the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and the risk of excessive weight gain in both children and adults
  • The health benefits of breastfeeding
  • The association between the consumption of milk and decreased risk of heart disease and some cancers
  • The association between the consumption of fruit and decreased risk of heart disease
  • The association between the consumption of non-starchy vegetables and decreased risk of some cancers
  • The association between the consumption of whole- grain cereals and decreased risk of heart disease and excessive weight gain.

We need to eat more:

  • Vegetables and legumes/beans
  • Fruits
  • Wholegrain cereals
  • Low-fat milk, yoghurt, cheese

Topics:  health national health and medical research council potato

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