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Glycemic index of potatoes commonly consumed in North America



      To determine the effect of variety and cooking method on glycemic response and glycemic index of common North American potatoes.


      Study 1: subjects consumed 200 g Russet or white potatoes that were either (a) precooked, refrigerated, and reheated (precooked) or (b) cooked and consumed immediately (day-cooked). Incremental area under the curve was determined. Study 2: subjects consumed 50 g carbohydrate portions of white bread or potatoes (six different varieties and two different cooking methods). Glycemic index values were calculated. In both studies meals were consumed after a 10- to 12-hour overnight fast and finger-prick capillary-blood glucose was measured before and at intervals for 2 hours after consumption.


      The study groups were as follows: Study 1 comprised four men and six women, aged 20 to 44 and Study 2 comprised 11 men and one woman, aged 18 to 50.

      Statistical analyses

      Repeated measures analysis of variance with Newman-Kuels to protect for multiple comparisons (criterion of significance two-tailed P<.05).


      Study 1: Precooked Russet potatoes elicited lower area under the curve than day-cooked (P<.05), while precooking had no effect on boiled white potatoes. Study 2: The glycemic index values of potatoes varied significantly, depending on the variety and cooking method used (P=.003) ranging from intermediate (boiled red potatoes consumed cold: 56) to moderately high (roasted California white potatoes: 72; baked US Russet potatoes: 77) to high (instant mashed potatoes: 88; boiled red potatoes: 89).


      The glycemic index of potatoes is influenced by variety and method of cooking and US Russet potatoes have only a moderately high glycemic index. Individuals who wish to minimize dietary glycemic index can be advised to precook potatoes and consume them cold or reheated.
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      G. Fernandes is a dental student at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


      Amogh Velangi is a dental student at New York University, New York.


      Thomas Wolever is a professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, and President of Glycaemic Index Testing, Inc, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.