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Is It Time to Rethink Potatoes?

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Potatoes may not seem like a great source of protein, but researchers have released another study hailing potatoes as the next sustainable source of protein.  Though, in order to fully understand why it’s such a viable source of protein, you’ll have to forget everything you know about potatoes versus milk.

                The protein most notably used from milk products is whey, and you can find it in pretty much any type of food from snack bars to protein shakes; basically, anywhere food is fortified with extra protein.  It’s one of the top sources of protein other than soy, and its low estrogenic content has made it a more popular choice for those seeking extra protein.

                The newest information about whey protein versus potato protein turns most of what you’d expect to think about these two protein sources on its head.  In a study carried out by the University of Westminster, potato and rice protein was not only a great source of protein comparable to whey—but they also reduced blood glucose levels.  The real winner was potato protein which also kept insulin from spiking.

                For those of us who have been told that eating a potato with all of the starch and carbohydrates will spike glucose because of its many starchy simple carbohydrates, this is a remarkable finding.  The study also investigated if one was more filling or reduced appetite better than the other: even though an appetite regulating hormone increased more after the whey protein, it didn’t make the participants who drank the whey feel any fuller than those who drank potato or rice shakes.

                Controlling blood glucose spikes is an important part of managing diabetes or preventing diabetes, and this finding supports the use of vegan protein shakes in people who need maximum protein for minimal effect.

                The potato protein is touted as a wise economic and environmental choice because it’s the result of a byproduct of potato starch which is already being processed.  Further studies will compare how metabolism is affected and are expected to bolster the green impact of plant protein over animal protein. If potato protein sounds like something that might work for you, discuss it with your doctor.


Helena Tiekou Lorinczova, Sanjoy Deb, Gulshanara Begum, et al. Comparative Assessment of the Acute Effects of Whey, Rice and Potato Protein Isolate Intake on Markers of Glycaemic Regulation and Appetite in Healthy Males Using a Randomised Study Design. Nutrients, 2021; 13 (7): 2157 DOI: 10.3390/nu13072157


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