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Stay slim with…spuds?

Scientists see potential for polyphenols from potatoes to be made available as a supplement or cooking ingredient for weight management.

If you had to pick a vegetable as a potent source of fat-fighting mojo, it probably wouldn’t be potatoes, right? After all, the “couch potato” doesn’t exactly bring to mind a sleek specimen of humanity. But new research by Canadian scientists suggests that a simple potato extract may limit weight gain from a diet packed with fat and refined carbs. Yeah, they were surprised too.

“We were astonished by the results,” said Luis Agellon, one of the authors of the study, which appeared in the Molecular Nutrition & Food Research and was noted on “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.”

Researchers fed mice an obesity-inducing diet for 10 weeks. Some mice were also given a potato extract. Tiny rodent scales revealed a big difference in weight gain between the two groups of mice. Mice that started out weighing about 25 grams gained about 16 grams. Mice that also consumed the extract gained just seven grams.

What’s the story with the spuds?

It’s the polyphenols that help prevent weight gain, according to the researchers.

“The daily dose of extract comes from 30 potatoes, but of course we don’t advise anyone to eat 30 potatoes a day,” said Stan Kubow, principal author of the study, “as that would be an enormous number of calories.”

Instead, the scientists hope to make the extract available as a supplement or cooking ingredient.

In other spud news, not everyone is applauding McDonald’s recent rejection of GMO potatoes.

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