Potatoes Can Be Bad for the Health, Experts Say

July 2, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. excessive / ɪkˈsɛs ɪv / (adj.) – beyond the normal amount
Example: Her excessive drinking of coffee affects her sleep pattern.

2. heighten / ˈhaɪt n / (v.) – to increase the level of something
Example: Eating too much fat heightens the risk of heart diseases.

3. consumption / kənˈsʌmp ʃən / (n.) – the act of eating or drinking something
Example: Alcohol consumption among teenagers is prohibited by the government.

4. culprit / ˈkʌl prɪt / (n.) – the cause of something
Example: Poor diet is the main culprit in hypertension.

5. sufficiently / səˈfɪʃ ənt li / (adv.) – in a way that is enough
Example: The study sufficiently supports the claim that regular exercise improves brain health.


Read the text below.
Consuming excessive amounts of potatoes a week can cause hypertension, a study says.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that eating too much potatoes can heighten the risk of hypertension. They published their findings in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

The experts based their findings on data tracked for 20 years from three large US projects involving 187,000 men and women. After taking other factors into consideration, the researchers found that consumption of four or more servings of potatoes a week increases the risk of high blood pressure in women, but not in men. However, eating too much fried potatoes can trigger hypertension in both men and women. Surprisingly, they found that eating potato chips—thin slices of fried potato—has no link to hypertension in either men or women.

The researchers believe that the high glycemic index of potatoes may explain why those who reported eating too much of the starchy crop also had increased blood pressure. According to them, as consumption of potatoes increases, blood sugar rises—a culprit of increased blood pressure.

Some health and nutrition experts, however, do not recommend discouraging people from eating potatoes only because of the study. A senior dietician at the British Heart Foundation, Victoria Taylor, said that the study’s findings cannot sufficiently conclude that potatoes cause high blood pressure.

Dr. Louis Levy, Public Health England’s Head of Nutrition Science, believes that people should be more mindful about the way potatoes are cooked instead of lessening the amount of potatoes they eat.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Would you still eat potatoes after reading this article? Why or why not?
·         Do you think potatoes can be banned in your country once proven bad for the heart? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What food do you usually avoid because of its health effects?
Do you think it is possible for people to stay healthy while eating whatever food they want?

July 2, 2016