'Overview of nutritional education needed'

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New report confirms potatoes can aid weight loss, and prompts call for a rewrite of Government advisory literature.

THE merits of eating potatoes as part of a healthy diet or weight loss plan have been further highlighted in a new study, and put a clear case as to why the UK needs to review how it is described within nutritional education sources, it has been claimed.

Staff at the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre in the United States carried out a study involving 36 participants between the ages of 18 and 60 who were overweight, had obesity, or insulin resistance.

Assistant Research Professor at Pennington, Dr Candida Rebello, said the individuals who participated in the study were able to lose weight.

She added: “People tend to eat the same weight of food regardless of calorie content in order to feel full. By eating foods with a heavier weight that are low in calories, you can easily reduce the number of calories you consume. The key aspect of our study is that we did not reduce the portion size of meals but lowered their caloric content by including potatoes.

“Each participant’s meal was tailored to their personalised caloric needs, yet by replacing some meat content with potato, participants found themselves fuller, quicker, and often did not even finish their meal. In effect, you can lose weight with little effort.”

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Participants in the trial were fed precisely-controlled diets of widely available common foods including either beans, peas, and meat or fish, or white potatoes with meat or fish.

Both diets were high in fruit and vegetable content and substituted an estimated 40% of typical meat consumption with either beans and peas or potatoes.

Lewis Cunningham , Managing Director at Wilson's Country Ltd, which buys and packs potatoes from growers in Northern Ireland, is amongst those campaigning for better recognition for potatoes within consumers' diets, and said the research is a significant factor in why better education about potatoes is needed.

The Eatwell nutritional principles within the National Health Service recommendations, which are taught in schools throughout the UK, describe potato as carbohydrate therefore not as healthy as other vegetables, and this is wrong, he said.

“We need to have the role of potatoes within a healthy diet fundamentally reviewed by health and education professionals and this must work must be carried out as matter of priority.”

Source: Belfast Telegraph

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