What foods are bad for your heart?
Answers to that question have filled many books and served as headlines for countless articles. (Trust me, I should know.) And most of the time, the wrong foods are being demonized, and for the wrong reasons.
For instance, twenty-five years ago, conventional doctors told their patients that eating meat would lead to heart disease. But as we now know, high-quality meat is good for your heart.
Same with saturated fats, which are heart-healthy in moderate amounts.
And of course, for decades, the classic “no-no” for the heart was salt, which we now know isn’t a high blood pressure culprit.
So while all these foods have been unfairly maligned for decades, another dinner plate staple has pretty much coasted along scot-free.
But not today. Today we put a spotlight on a food that science proves is a true heart-health disaster: potatoes.
Just say NO to this “healthy meal” blunder
Three years ago, the U.S. government included potatoes in the “healthy meals” program based on their high potassium content. And I’m sure this logic looked good on paper:
Potassium helps control high blood pressure. Therefore, since potatoes are high in this nutrient, it’s assumed that they’re good for your heart.
However, that same year our government deemed them healthy, researchers at Harvard Medical School proved that advice to be way off the mark.
As reported in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the Harvard team collected 20 years of health data from three large dietary studies involving more than 187,000 participants.
Analysis of the data showed that eating four or more servings of potatoes every week significantly boosted risk of developing high blood pressure compared to those who ate less than a single potato serving each month.
And they found that the cooking of a potato can make a big difference too.
Hypertension risk was 11 percent higher for those who ate baked, boiled, or mashed potatoes. But for regular French fry eaters, risk rose to 17 percent.
So whatever positive effect the potassium in potatoes might have, it clearly isn’t enough to curb blood pressure spikes. And as Dr. Fred Pescatore notes in his Ultimate Heart-Protection Protocol, that hypertension is a top risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and heart disease.
But he also points out that raising your blood pressure might not even be the worst effect that a potato has on your heart…
A recipe for cardio disaster
Dr. Pescatore explains why no one should be shocked that regular potato consumption damages your arteries…
“Potatoes are loaded with starch, and deliver a significant spike to blood sugar when you eat them. Uncontrolled blood sugar sends our metabolic system into a tailspin—and blood pressure regulation is one of the first functions on the chopping block when this system is compromised.”
And as bad as all that is, it’s only the beginning. He adds that when you factor in the added effects of weight gain and increased risk of type 2 diabetes, you’ve got a surefire recipe for disastrous cardiovascular outcomes.
Dr. Pescatore cautions against listening to so-called “experts” who say that we shouldn’t single out one food as the culprit of poor heart health.
He asks, “But isn’t that exactly what they always say? (And usually incorrectly, I might add…) Plus, these same experts think it’s perfectly okay to demonize salt—yet, somehow, they think potatoes should be spared the same logic?! Well, I don’t.”
A vegetable by any other name
Dr. Pescatore bluntly describes potatoes as nothing less than a poison for your heart.
But how is this possible? After all a potato is a vegetable!
That’s true. However—as Dr. Pescatore puts it—“Your body doesn’t see them that way.” He points out that, biologically, potatoes are pure starch, which makes them higher in sugar and carbs than just about any other vegetable.
And when it comes to choosing a side dish, that’s exactly what you should eat: just about any other vegetable (although we could put corn in a close second place behind potatoes on the list of starchy vegetables you should avoid).
Speaking of which, Dr. Pescatore cites a study where researchers determined that replacing just one serving of boiled, baked, or mashed potatoes with a non-starchy vegetable per day is associated with a lower risk of developing high blood pressure. A simple switch could make the difference in determining whether you cross the threshold to hypertension or not!
For Dr. Pescatore, this is the bottom line: “If you want more pressure-lowering potassium, get it from green leafy vegetables or a good multivitamin. And always skip the side of potatoes.”
You’ll find many more little-known but highly effective heart-health strategies like this in Dr. Pescatore’s Ultimate Heart-Protection Protocol. Click here to peruse a comprehensive overview of this important online learning tool, or to enroll right now.
“Potato intake and incidence of hypertension: results from three prospective US cohort studies” BMJ 2016; 353: i2351. doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i2351