In search of lower GI potatoes
Let's face it, most people like potatoes – they can be prepared in so many different ways, are highly nutritious, and taste great (hold the fries)! But the potato's healthy image has taken a bit of a battering in recent years, due to their generally very high GI values and a resurgence of interest in low(er) carbohydrate diets.
GI Ltd and SUGiRS in collaboration with the Australian Potato Growers Association are on a bit of a mission to find and develop lower GI potatoes and bring them to market. Our first success was the Nicola (GI 58) and you can read all about this in a back issue of GI News (April 2007). The good news for January is that SUGiRS has just tested the Almera potato which has a GI of 65. So, there's another potato to look for in the supermarket or fresh produce store and enjoy in moderation as part of a low GI eating plan. Although a food has to be GI 55 or under to be classified as 'low', remember that most of the health benefits of low GI eating are based on lowering the average GI of your diet. So, eating a potato with a GI of 58 or 65 instead of 80 or 90 may lead to a significant drop in the average GI of your diet, and as such still delivers substantial health benefits. Of course you need to be choosing those low GI breads and breakfast cereals too!
As there are literally thousands of varieties of potatoes around the world, it's very likely there are quite a few more lower GI ones out there. We'll keep you posted, and if all goes well expect to find a broad range of healthier lower GI potatoes in your local fresh vegetable or supermarket over the next few years.
Alan Barclay, CEO, Glycemic Index Ltd
Phone: +61 2 9785 1037
Fax: +61 2 9785 1037