Objective: We aimed to elucidate whether potato consumption is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D).
Research design and methods: We analyzed data in three cohorts consisting of U.S. male and female health professionals without diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer at baseline: 70,773 women from the Nurses' Health Study (1984-2010), 87,739 women from Nurses' Health Study II (1991-2011), and 40,669 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-2010). Potato consumption was assessed quadrennially using validated food frequency questionnaires (FFQs), and we calculated 4-year change in potato consumption from consecutive FFQs. Self-reported T2D diagnosis was confirmed using a validated supplementary questionnaire.
Results: During 3,988,007 person-years of follow-up, 15,362 new cases of T2D were identified. Higher consumption of total potatoes (including baked, boiled, or mashed potatoes and french fries) was significantly associated with an elevated risk for T2D: the pooled hazard ratio (HR) of T2D compared with <1 serving/week was 1.07 (95% CI 0.97-1.18) for 2-4 servings/week and 1.33 (95% CI 1.17-1.52) for ≥7 servings/week after adjustment for demographic, lifestyle, and dietary factors. In addition, the pooled HRs of T2D for every 3 servings/week were 1.04 (95% CI 1.01-1.08) for baked, boiled, or mashed potatoes, and 1.19 (95% CI 1.13-1.25) for french fries. We further estimated that the HR of T2D was 0.88 (95% CI 0.84-0.91) for replacing 3 servings/week of total potatoes with the same amount of whole grains. Last, in comparison with stable potato consumption, every 3-servings/week increment of potato consumption in 4 years was associated with a 4% (95% CI 0-8%) higher T2D risk.
Conclusions: Greater consumption of potatoes, especially french fries, was associated with a higher T2D risk, independent of BMI and other risk factors. Replacement of potatoes with whole grains was associated with a lower T2D risk.
© 2016 by the American Diabetes Association. Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered.