Falling Back in Love with Potatoes

As the daughter of an Irishwoman, potatoes have always held an esteemed position in my household. Buttery, creamy delicious mashed potatoes and especially Colcannon, a quintessentially Irish dish of mashed potatoes and, in our family, kale, plays a role in many of my favorite-feasts-of-childhood memories. Over the years, as potatoes became increasingly vilified for their starchy constitution (calories!) and high glycemic index (diabetics beware!), I bid them a pained farewell. No more mashies, no more spuds, no more lemon-drenched greek-style taters. Le sigh.

So you can imagine my delight when I came across a simple culinary sleight of hand that transforms potatoes into a low glycemic food whilst reading Jo Robinson’s excellent Eating on the Wild Side. By cooking potatoes and then chilling them for 24 hours before you eat them, you can transform potatoes into a more moderate glycemic food, reducing your blood sugar response by up to 25%.  This is true whether you eat them cold or reheat them, as is or prepared post-refrigeration.

Why is this a big deal?  Potatoes get a bad rap because their starches are rapidly digested by the body, creating a spike in blood sugar; this, in turn, creates an increased production of insulin. For those with diabetes, or prediabetes, this can be particularly harmful. Low glycemic foods are, conversely, composed of starches that are digested more slowly, making them easier on the body overall.

Robinson also mentions that adding fat to potatoes or cooking them with fats also slows down the digestive process, as does adding a dash of vinegar to the mix. (I know Ketchup is infinitely more American, but if you have not tried French fries with malt vinegar, you have yet to live.)

For more on the subject, pick up Robinson’s book or click the links below.



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