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Polyphenol-rich potato extract found to reduce weight gain

A simple potato extract may limit weight gain from a diet that is high in fat and refined carbohydrates, according to scientists at Montreal’s McGill University. The results of their recent study were so surprising that the investigators repeated the experiment just to be sure.

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. But mice that consumed the same diet but with a potato extract gained much less weight: only 7 more grams. The benefits of the extract are due to its high concentration of polyphenols, a beneficial chemical component from the fruits and vegetables we eat.

“We were astonished by the results,” said Prof Luis Agellon, one of the study’s authors. “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.”

Popularly known for its carbohydrate content, the potato is also a source of polyphenols. “In the famous French diet, considered to be very healthy, potatoes – not red wine – are the primary source of polyphenols,” says Kubow. “In North America, potatoes come third as a source of polyphenols – before the popular blueberries.

“Potatoes have the advantage of being cheap to produce, and they’re already part of the basic diet in many countries,” Kubow explains. “We chose a cultivated variety that is consumed in Canada and especially rich in polyphenols.”

What the investigators envisage is making the extract available as a dietary supplement or simply as a cooking ingredient to be added in the kitchen, and believe it may serve as part of a preventative dietary strategy against the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

En route to the airport one day to catch the same flight, Stan Kubow, Associate Professor in McGill’s School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition and an expert on polyphenols, and Danielle Donnelly, Associate Professor in the Department of Plant Science and an expert on potatoes, had the bright idea of crossing their research interests, and together with Prof Agellon, they carried out this study.

Although humans and mice metabolise foods in similar ways, clinical trials would be necessary to validate beneficial effects in humans. And 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.

This study was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Source: McGill University: Read more

Journal Reference:

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2014 Nov; 58 (11): 2235-8. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201400013. Epub 2014 Sep 16.

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.

Kubow S, Hobson L, Iskandar MM, Sabally K, Donnelly DJ, Agellon LB.

 

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