Attention dieters: Potatoes are good for you after all, study finds

330-calorie serving of baked French fries didn’t affect participants’ blood pressure, researchers said

Herb Roasted Potatoes (WPLG, INC.)

If you’re dieting, you probably haven’t had potatoes in quite some time. But that could change.

A new study says the starchy goodness that are potatoes may have gotten a bad rap.

Purdue University research says, “eating more potatoes can actually help keep blood pressure under control better than taking certain supplements,” according to

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The popular vegetable’s potassium is the key to its nutritional goodness, according to the study.

By eating more potatoes, in the bakes or boiled form, your dietary potassium will increase, helping to “reduce sodium retention in eaters consuming a typical American diet.” The study also showed a larger drop in systolic blood pressure than if someone was taking potassium supplements.

“While significant emphasis is often placed on reducing dietary sodium intakes to better control for blood pressure and cardiovascular disease risk, that’s only half of the story,” explains primary investigator Connie Weaver, PhD, in a news release. “Potassium plays just as an important role, and perhaps the ratio of potassium to sodium is most important in the context of the entire food matrix, as the potato meal resulted in a greater reduction of sodium retention than the potassium supplement alone.”

The study found that eating one medium-sized potato “provides about 10 percent of a person’s daily potassium needs,” and that the typical American isn’t “eating enough (potatoes) to reach recommended potassium goals.”

“Considering Americans fall significantly short in meeting daily potassium intakes, these findings show the importance of promoting, not restricting, whole food good-to-excellent sources of potassium in Americans’ diets, like potatoes,” Weaver said.

For the study, researchers had 30 volunteers and split them into four potassium intervention group over 16 days.

One of the four groups had a control diet that included 2,300 mg of potassium each day, while group 2 added 1,000 mg of potassium from baked, boiled or pan-heated potatoes, group 3 added 1,000 mg of potassium from baked French fries and the final group got 1,000 mg of potassium from a supplement.

The results from the study showed “the beneficial impact of eating potatoes on systolic blood pressure, the top or first number which shows how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats.”

This study revealed another piece of good news for potato lovers in that researchers said a 330-calorie serving of baked French fries added into a normal diet didn’t affect the participants’ blood pressure.