Background: Potatoes, a high glycemic form of carbohydrate, are hypothesized to increase insulin resistance and risk of type 2 diabetes.
Objective: The objective was to examine prospectively the relation between potato consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Design: We conducted a prospective study of 84,555 women in the Nurses' Health Study. At baseline, the women were aged 34-59 y, had no history of chronic disease, and completed a validated food-frequency questionnaire. The participants were followed for 20 y with repeated assessment of diet.
Results: We documented 4496 new cases of type 2 diabetes. Potato and french fry consumption were both positively associated with risk of type 2 diabetes after adjustment for age and dietary and nondietary factors. The multivariate relative risk (RR) in a comparison between the highest and the lowest quintile of potato intake was 1.14 (95% CI: 1.02, 1.26; P for trend = 0.009). The multivariate RR in a comparison between the highest and the lowest quintile of french fry intake was 1.21 (95% CI: 1.09, 1.33; P for trend < 0.0001). The RR of type 2 diabetes was 1.18 (95% CI: 1.03, 1.35) for 1 daily serving of potatoes and 1.16 (95% CI: 1.05, 1.29) for 2 weekly servings of french fries. The RR of type 2 diabetes for substituting 1 serving potatoes/d for 1 serving whole grains/d was 1.30 (95% CI: 1.08, 1.57). The association between potato consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes was more pronounced in obese women.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest a modest positive association between the consumption of potatoes and the risk of type 2 diabetes in women. This association was more pronounced when potatoes were substituted for whole grains.