Once prized to the point of worship by Peruvian Incans, Potatoes have a long history of consumption by humans. When Spanish explorers to the new world brought potatoes to Europe in 1536, it was not long before you could find them in the spanish gardens of sailors. By a hundred years later they had spread across Europe and had even become a staple of the European diet, especially in places like Great Britain and Ireland.
By the 1840’s the Irish had become so dependent on the potato, a major failure of the potato crop lead to the starvation of over 1 million Irish and forced another million to immigrate to places like the US and Canada. In the United States, potato consumption has also proliferated. In the 1970’s, the average American ate 61 pounds of potatoes per year (mostly fresh potatoes). by 2014, the average American consumed about 112 pounds of potatoes per year. However, of those 112 pounds, only about 33 pounds are fresh potatoes, with the remaining 78 pounds consisting of processed potatoes (such as french fries and potato chips).
Fresh Potatoes, even at their best, have a mixed bag of nutritional value. While on one hand they are high in starch, potassium (they actually have more than bananas), and vitamins C and B6. However, they also contain very high levels of carbohydrates (one medium size potato has about 2/3 of they daily recommended intake of carbs). Potatoes also have very high levels of sugar. One cup of chopped potatoes has the sugar equivalency of a can of coke.
A study that tracked 4,400 American adults noticed an alarming pattern among those who consumed processed and fried potatoes on a regular basis. Observations made by researchers indicate that the consumption of fried potatoes lead to almost twice the rate death due to heart disease and/or stroke. Those who consumed 4 or more servings per week of fried potatoes had a 11% increase in risk of high blood pressure and a 17% increase in cardiovascular disease and/or stroke.
McDonald’s Uses Living Toxic Pesticides on Potatoes
Unfortunately, places like McDonald’s have made billions upselling Americans french fries. “Would you like fries with that”? This phrase is mandatory at McDonalds and greatly increases the overall consumption of fired potatoes in America. Unfortunately, frying potatoes is not the only thing McDonalds does to hurt the health of their customers. McDonalds uses Russett Burbank Potatoes, and they require their farmers to grow them without blemishes. The blemishes on potatoes are caused by Aphids. In order to prevent these Aphids from living, toxic pesticides are used. These pesticides are so strong, farmers cannot enter their fields for 5 days after spraying.
Once harvested the potatoes must “gas off” for six weeks before they are safe for consumption.
As you can see, the best ways to prepare potatoes are to boil or bake them as this prevents the toxic side affects of fried potatoes. However, switching to Sweet Potatoes is the best way to increase your overall health and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Sweet potatoes have twice the fiber of regular potatoes and are rich in other vitamins and minerals as well.