Soft-cen­tred po­tato ‘killers’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

much of a stretch to brand fried pota­toes, or any other form of po­tato, as un­healthy,” Keel­ing said. “The food con­sump­tion re­ported in the study may not have re­flected usage over the course of the lifetime, fur­ther il­lus­trat­ing the dan­ger of brand­ing pota­toes (or any other food item) as being un­healthy or healthy in the con­text of this study.”

Keel­ing went on to pro­mote the nu­tri­tional value of pota­toes, which, of course, is his job.

Veronese did not dis­pute some of Keel­ing’s charges, agree­ing that the re­search sub­jects were taken from a study on os­teoarthri­tis and that the one-time ques­tion­naire does have “some lim­i­ta­tions”.

But Veronese said such one-off ques­tion­naires are “com­mon” to long-term stud­ies. What’s more, the re­searcher added, os­teoarthri­tis sub­jects share sim­i­lar char­ac­ter­is­tics with the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion in the US.

Mar­ion Nes­tle, pro­fes­sor of nu­tri­tion, food stud­ies and pub­lic health at New York Univer­sity, wasn’t so alarmed by the study’s re­sults.

“First, this is an as­so­ci­a­tion,” Nes­tle said. “Fried pota­toes are associated with some­what higher mor­tal­ity, but this does not mean that they cause death. Peo­ple who eat a lot of fried pota­toes might have other un­healthy life­style prac­tices.

“Sec­ond,” Nes­tle added, “the as­so­ci­a­tion is not strictly dose-re­lated. At lower lev­els of in­take, the as­so­ci­a­tion is not sta­tis­ti­cally sig­nif­i­cant. The moral here is mod­er­a­tion. If you love French fries, make them a once-in-a-while treat.” – Wash­ing­ton Post

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