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Potatoes Can Fight Obesity?!

Dec 09, 2014 03:06 PM EST

Potatoes, often laden with butter, sour cream, cheese, or bacon, are likely the last thing you'd think to eat when dieting. However, new research has revealed that raw potato extract may be able to reduce weight gain to a surprising extent, especially with a diet that is high in fat and carbohydrates.

That's at least according to a new study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.

In the study, researchers fed lab mice an obesity-inducing high-fat, high carb diet for 10 consecutive weeks. Of course, these mice gained a lot of weight, putting on an average of 16 grams after only weighing about 25 grams at the start of the study. However, not every mouse nearly doubled its weight.

Mice that consumed the same diet, but with the addition of pure potato extract, gained only about seven grams in the same 10 weeks.

"We were astonished by the results," Luis Agellon, one of the study's authors, said in a statement. "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."

They saw the same results in this second experimental run.

Agellon and his colleagues suspect that the benefits of the extract are due to its high concentration of polyphenols, a 'good' chemical component that can be found in most of the fruits and vegetables we eat.

According to the American Cancer Society, polyphenols have been tied to a great many health benefits, as they can help rid the body of free radicals (as antioxidants), and prevent high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and even tumor growth. However, why exactly these chemicals are beneficial remains a mystery, and very little conclusive evidence can back these nutritional claims.

It's also important to note that another overlooked chemical or a combination of factors could be the true driver of these weight control results.

Additionally, the daily dose of extract used in the study was the equivalent of 30 potatoes.

"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."

Instead the researchers hope to make an extract that could function as a dietary supplement or cooking ingredient for humans.

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).

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