Research Proves Potatoes Toxic! Should ‘Potato Lovers’ Give Them Up?

Rumor has it eating starchy food makes us gain weight. Not true at all. There is so much misinformation out there, no wonder everyone (including me) gets confused. Yes, if you slather butter and sour cream on, of course it will add on the pounds not to mention dairy products are not health food.

It has been said that the molecular structure of the refined oil changes under high heat. This is why I don’t fry potatoes in oil or don’t eat greasy potato chips.

‘In our assessment, we found the majority of studies on potatoes conducted to date have either been confounded by inclusion of other nonpotato foods, or have focused on specific forms of potatoes (e.g., potato chips). For example, only one study has been conducted associating daily consumption of a large quantity of potato chips with risk of developing atherosclerosis, but this study does not definitively prove a link between potato consumption and cardiovascular disease [1]’.

I read ‘high-glycemic index foods fuel the production of advanced glycation end (AGE) products that stimulate inflammation’. Furthermore, acrylamide and ‘Maillard reaction’ are created by baking or frying at high temperatures. Safest bet is microwaving and boiling potatoes, not baking and frying with oil [1].

‘Our results demonstrate that consumption of potato skins containing glycoalkaloids can significantly aggravate intestinal inflammation in predisposed individuals [2]’.

Potatoes are nightshade variety known to cause inflammation in those susceptible. I ‘pressure cook’ a small batch of potatoes (3 medium) and fry them as I need them without oil. Yet, I always pressure cook rice, beans and other nightshades like tomatoes and their sauce lowering potency of their lectins.

‘Our results do not support an association of potato intake with all-cause or cause-specific mortality. Potatoes have a high glycemic index and a high glycemic load. Consumption of high glycemic load foods may increase the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, independent of body weight change []. However, they are a good source of potassium, vitamin C, and polyphenols [], and this may counterbalance the association of other potato components with mortality’.

I peel (most of the solanine, a glycoalkaloid is in the potato skin) and pan fry oil-less potatoes because I like that crunchy crust flavor. We all can ‘skip’ frying anything with unhealthy refined oils using a ‘non-stick’ frying pan. Keep in mind that when you remove the potato skins, you do lose nutrients.

‘Concentrations of glycoalkaloids normally available while eating potatoes can adversely affect the mammalian intestine and can aggravate IBD [4]’.

So, now we know potatoes have toxins called glycoalkaloids. Unfortunately, cooking does not eliminate solanine. And, I wouldn’t use green potatoes. Keep all your potatoes stored in a dark place discarding damaged ones.

‘A product of global importance, the potato tuber contains toxic glycoalkaloids (GAs) that cause sporadic outbreaks of poisoning in humans, as well as many livestock deaths [5]’.

You might consider eating purple potatoes (Solanum tuberosum cv Vitelotte noire.)

‘Vitelotte consumption might bring tangible benefits for human health [6]’.

Yet, eating 80-90% plant based whole food will likely bring overall improved health, weight loss and longer life than our typical American diet which often includes French fries.

‘Pigmented potato consumption reduced inflammation and DNA damage in healthy adult males. This offers consumers an improved nutritional choice in potato consumption [7]’.

Apparently, pigmented potatoes like the red and purple are healthier than the poor maligned white or russet potato. Fortunately, I love eating them all. Nevertheless, be mindful we must take the toxicity of potatoes seriously.

Therefore, why not try colored potatoes, especially purple (Peruvian, Congo, Vitilette, Purple Majesty and more varieties.) At the same time, you might want to cook a purple sweet potato that’s in the traditional Okinawan diet.

‘Purple and other pigmented potatoes may reduce likelihood of heart disease and stroke in those with high blood pressure, possibly even reducing inflammation and potential DNA damage [7] [8]’.

I love my white russet potatoes, but want to be certain I am eating plant based whole foods that are safe. I have learned ‘pressure cooking’ is the better method than boiling, frying and baking. 

‘Poisonous Ingredient

The poisonous ingredient is:

  • Solanine (very toxic even in small amounts)
Where Found

The poison is found throughout the plant, but particularly in green potatoes and new sprouts. Never eat potatoes that are spoiled or green below the skin. Always throw away the sprouts.

Potatoes that are not green and have had any sprouts removed are safe to eat [9]’.

In conclusion, you might want to read an article written by Andrew Montario, Cornell University. The last paragraph on the page suggests the glycoalkaloid in question is poorly absorbed in the intestinal tract and our bodies dispel solanine within a 12 hour window [10].

Source- 1 Liska, DeAnn J, et al. “Maillard Reaction Products and Potatoes: Have the Benefits Been Clearly Assessed?” Food Science & Nutrition, John Wiley and Sons Inc., 17 Sept. 2015, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4779479/.

2 Iablokov V;Sydora BC;Foshaug R;Meddings J;Driedger D;Churchill T;Fedorak RN; “Naturally Occurring Glycoalkaloids in Potatoes Aggravate Intestinal Inflammation in Two Mouse Models of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.” Digestive Diseases and Sciences, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20198430/.

3 & 14 Hashemian, Maryam, et al. “Potato Consumption and the Risk of Overall and Cause Specific Mortality in the NIH-AARP Study.” PloS One, Public Library of Science, 7 May 2019, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6504095/.

4 Patel B;Schutte R;Sporns P;Doyle J;Jewel L;Fedorak RN; “Potato Glycoalkaloids Adversely Affect Intestinal Permeability and Aggravate Inflammatory Bowel Disease.” Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12479649/.

5 Korpan YI;Nazarenko EA;Skryshevskaya IV;Martelet C;Jaffrezic-Renault N;El’skaya AV; “Potato Glycoalkaloids: True Safety or False Sense of Security?” Trends in Biotechnology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15036866/.

6 Ombra MN;Fratianni F;Granese T;Cardinale F;Cozzolino A;Nazzaro F; “In Vitro Antioxidant, Antimicrobial and Anti-Proliferative Activities of Purple Potato Extracts (Solanum Tuberosum Cv Vitelotte Noire) Following Simulated Gastro-Intestinal Digestion.” Natural Product Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25420792/.

7 Kaspar KL;Park JS;Brown CR;Mathison BD;Navarre DA;Chew BP; “Pigmented Potato Consumption Alters Oxidative Stress and Inflammatory Damage in Men.” The Journal of Nutrition, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21106930/.

8 MA;, Vinson JA;Demkosky CA;Navarre DA;Smyda. “High-Antioxidant Potatoes: Acute in Vivo Antioxidant Source and Hypotensive Agent in Humans after Supplementation to Hypertensive Subjects.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22224463/.

9 “Potato Plant Poisoning – Green Tubers and Sprouts: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002875.htm.

10 Potato Glycoalkaloid Toxicity: Solanine, www.safespectrum.com/articles/potato-toxicity-solanine.php.

*Further readings on Potato toxin Solanine https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanine

Note- before you change your diet consult your doctor.

4 thoughts on “Research Proves Potatoes Toxic! Should ‘Potato Lovers’ Give Them Up?

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