Simple and inexpensive way to fight against obesity

Obesity has been officially recognized as a disease by several Medical Associations around the globe.  This is because obesity increases the risk of diseases like diabetes mellitus type 2, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, high triglyceride level, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Furthermore it is considered to be one of the leading preventable causes of death worldwide. The rate of obesity is rising day-by-day due to over-eating and thereby increasing the risk of related health hazards.

However a novel study offers solution to this emerging problem. The study demonstrates that potato extracts could be used to prevent obesity. Though potato is popularly known for its carbohydrate content, it is also a rich source of polyphenols, which are naturally occurring compounds found in fruits, and vegetables. Long term consumption of polyphenol-rich diet is the secret of healthy living, as they protect from several life threatening illnesses, experts say.

The exciting study led by researchers from McGill University, Canada suggests that extract of Irish potatoes, reduces weight gain to an unexpected extent. 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. Mice consumed the same diet but with a polyphenolic-rich potato extract (PRPE) gained much less weight: only 7 more grams. The benefits of the extract were due to its high concentration of polyphenols.

However the daily dose of extract comes from 30 potatoes, which no doubt is an enormous amount of calories. Thus the investigators are planning to make the extract available as a dietary supplement or simply as a cooking ingredient to be added in the kitchen.

The experts think that this is a low-cost solution to tackle obesity. Potatoes are cheap to produce, and they are already a part of the basic diet in many countries.

Although humans and mice metabolize foods in similar ways, clinical trials are absolutely necessary to validate beneficial effects in humans. Moreover the optimal dose for men and women needs to be determined, since their metabolisms differ.

The team hopes to patent the potato extract, and is currently seeking partners, mainly from the food industry, to contribute to funding clinical trials.

Further Reading:

Extract of Irish potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) decreases body weight gain and adiposity and improves glucose control in the mouse model of diet-induced obesity. Stan Kubow, Luc Hobson, Michèle M. Iskandar, Kebba Sabally, Danielle J. Donnelly and Luis B. Agellon. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, November 2014

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Arunima Maiti

Arunima Maiti

Biomedical scientist with special interest in reproductive biology.

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