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Potatoes & Anxiety

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❝My other half considers potatoes a wonder food, except when fried. I don’t. I find, when I am eating potatoes I put on weight; and, when I’m not eating them, I lose it. Also, although I can’t swear to it, potatoes also make me feel a little anxious (someone once told me it could have something to do with where they are on the “glycemic index”). What does the science say?❞

The glycemic index of potatoes depends on the kind of potato (obviously) and also, less obviously, how it’s prepared. For a given white potato, boiling (which removes a lot of starch) might produce a GI of around 60, while instant mash (basically: potato starch) can be more like 80. For reference, pure glucose is 100. And you probably wouldn’t take that in the same quantity you’d take potato, and expect to feel good!

So: as for anxiety, it could be, since spiked blood sugars can cause mood swings, including anxiety.

Outside of the matter of blood sugars, the only reference we could find for potatoes causing anxiety was fried potatoes specifically:

❝frequent fried food consumption, especially fried potato consumption, is strongly associated with 12% and 7% higher risk of anxiety and depression, respectively❞

Source: High fried food consumption impacts anxiety and depression due to lipid metabolism disturbance and neuroinflammation

…which heavily puts the blame not on the potatoes themselves, but on acrylamide (the orange/brown stuff that is made by the Maillard reaction of cooking starches in the absence of water, e.g. by frying, roasting, etc).

Here’s a very good overview of that, by the way:

A Review on Acrylamide in Food: Occurrence, Toxicity, and Mitigation Strategies

Back on the core topic of potatoes and GI and blood sugar spikes and anxiety, you might benefit from a few tweaks that will allow you to enjoy potatoes without spiking blood sugars:

10 Ways To Balance Blood Sugars


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