Baking, Boiling Potatoes May Lower Sodium Retention

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Baked french fries
Photo: M W from Pixabay

New research is showing reduced sodium retention in people who ate baked/boiled potatoes, a study from the Alliance for Potato Research and Education says. Participants in the study were fed a 330-calorie serving of baked french fries with no negative effects on blood pressure or blood vessel activity being observed.

“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,” Connie Weaver, the primary investigator says in a news release about the study. “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.”

Participants in the study were randomly assigned to one of four 16-day dietary potassium interventions including:

  • Control diet including 2,300 mg potassium/day (representing typical intake, thought to be ‘low potassium’)
  • Control diet of 1,000 mg of potassium from potatoes (baked, boiled, or pan-heated with no additional fat)
  • Control diet of 1,000 mg from baked french fries
  • Control diet of 1,000 mg from a potassium-gluconate supplement

The diets were tailored to participants’ specific calorie needs with other nutrients kept constant, the release says. Blood pressure was monitored, and daily urine/stool samples were collected to monitor potassium and sodium excretion and retention.

Eating one medium potato meets approximately 10 percent of an adult’s daily potassium requirements, the release notes. Potassium is an essential nutrient, with the mineral linked to improvements in cardiovascular and other metabolic health outcomes.

“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 explains.

This is one of the first controlled trials of this kind and evidence is extremely limited, the release notes. Weaver notes clinical trials must happen to show these results in more detail.

The findings of the study were published in Nutrients. Authors on the report include Michael Stone, Berdine Martin and Weaver from Purdue University, with funding provided by the Alliance for Potato Research and Education.

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