Maillard reaction products and potatoes: have the benefits been clearly assessed?

Food Sci Nutr. 2015 Sep 17;4(2):234-49. doi: 10.1002/fsn3.283. eCollection 2016 Mar.


Cooking foods affords numerous food safety benefits. During heating, Maillard reaction products (MRPs) are formed. MRPs contribute sensory aspects to food, including color, taste, and texture. One MRP, acrylamide, has been implicated in negative health outcomes; however, emerging data suggests MRPs may also deliver certain health benefits. The food industry has taken steps to decrease acrylamide formation, but the perception that high levels of acrylamide compromise the nutritional benefit of certain foods has continued. Potatoes are susceptible to MRP formation during cooking but also are considered an affordable, high nutrient content food. In particular, potatoes contribute significantly to fiber and potassium intakes in the U.S. population, two nutrients of need. How, then, should potatoes be judged for effects on health? A structured evidence assessment was conducted to identify literature, specifically clinical trials, on MRPs from potatoes and health, as well as nutritional contribution of potatoes. The results indicate limited human clinical data are available on negative health outcomes of potato-based MRPs, whereas potatoes are important contributors of key nutrients, such as fiber and potassium. Therefore, a balanced benefit-risk approach is warranted in order to assure that decreasing consumption of certain foods, like potatoes, does not lead to unintended consequences of nutrition inadequacies.

Keywords: Advanced glycation end products; Solanum tuberosum; browning reaction; fiber; potassium.

Publication types

  • Review