A simple potato extract may limit weight gain from a diet that is high in fat and refined carbohydrates, according to scientists at McGill University. The results of their recent study were so surprising that the investigators said they repeated the experiment just to be sure. Investigators fed mice an obesity-inducing diet for 10 weeks. […]
A simple potato extract may limit weight gain from a diet that is high in fat and refined carbohydrates, according to scientists at McGill University.
The results of their recent study were so surprising that the investigators said they repeated the experiment just to be sure.
Investigators fed mice an obesity-inducing diet for 10 weeks. The results soon appeared on the scale: mice that started out weighing on average 25 grams put on about 16 grams. But mice that consumed the same diet but with a potato extract gained much less weight: only 7 more grams. The benefits of the extract are due to its high concentration of polyphenols, a beneficial chemical component from fruits and vegetables.
“We were astonished by the results,” said Prof. Luis Agellon, one of the study’s authors. “We thought this can’t be right – in fact, we ran the experiment again using a different batch of extract prepared from potatoes grown in another season, just to be certain.”
The rate of obesity due to over-eating continues to rise in Canada, affecting one in every four adults.
“The daily dose of extract comes from 30 potatoes, but of course we don’t advise anyone to eat 30 potatoes a day,” said Stan Kubow, principal author of the study, “as that would be an enormous number of calories.” What the investigators envisage instead is making the extract available as a dietary supplement or simply as a cooking ingredient to be added in the kitchen.
Popularly known for its carbohydrate content, the potato is also a source of polyphenols. “In the famous French diet, considered to be very healthy, potatoes – not red wine – are the primary source of polyphenols,” said Kubow. “In North America, potatoes come third as a source of polyphenols – before the popular blueberries.”
“Potatoes have the advantage of being cheap to produce, and they’re already part of the basic diet in many countries,” Kubow said. “We chose a cultivated variety that is consumed in Canada and especially rich in polyphenols.”
The team hopes to patent the potato extract, and is currently seeking partners, mainly from the food industry, to contribute to funding clinical trials.
This study was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canada Foundation for Innovation. It appeared in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.