Potato intake and incidence of hypertension: results from three prospective US cohort studies

BMJ. 2016 May 17;353:i2351. doi: 10.1136/bmj.i2351.


Objective: To determine whether higher intake of baked or boiled potatoes, French fries, or potato chips is associated with incidence of hypertension.

Design: Prospective longitudinal cohort studies.

Setting: Healthcare providers in the United States.

Participants: 62 175 women in Nurses' Health Study, 88 475 women in Nurses' Health Study II, and 36 803 men in Health Professionals Follow-up Study who were non-hypertensive at baseline.

Main outcome measure: Incident cases of hypertension (self reported diagnosis by healthcare provider).

Results: Compared with consumption of less than one serving a month, the random effects pooled hazard ratios for four or more servings a week were 1.11 (95% confidence interval 0.96 to 1.28; P for trend=0.05) for baked, boiled, or mashed potatoes, 1.17 (1.07 to 1.27; P for trend=0.001) for French fries, and 0.97 (0.87 to 1.08; P for trend=0.98) for potato chips. In substitution analyses, replacing one serving a day of baked, boiled, or mashed potatoes with one serving a day of non-starchy vegetables was associated with decreased risk of hypertension (hazard ratio 0.93, 0.89 to 0.96).

Conclusion: Higher intake of baked, boiled, or mashed potatoes and French fries was independently and prospectively associated with an increased risk of developing hypertension in three large cohorts of adult men and women.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cooking / methods*
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Hypertension / etiology*
  • Hypertension / prevention & control
  • Incidence
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Solanum tuberosum* / chemistry
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Dietary Carbohydrates