How long have potatoes been a staple of nearly every country in the developed world? Well I don’t know either, but I do know that during the Irish Potato Famine (1845-1852) also known as Gorta Mór or the Great Hunger approximately 1 million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland to escape the famine which had devastated the Irish economy.
The humble spud has become an important component of most dinner tables, but is it really all that healthy?
Potatoes are very high in long carbohydrates and starches. Eventually every single digestible starch is eventually broken down into simple sugars in the body. The sugar is then assimilated into the blood, raising the blood glucose levels. And this in turn increases the secretion and production of insulin, which is our fat storing hormone.
Insulin is secreted in the pancreas in large amounts. It prevents fat burning and stores numerous nutrients in fat cells. After some time, this may bring about an apparent deficiency of supplements in the blood, and this brings about building up of hunger, and a yearning for something sweet. At this point people eat again, and the process will starts all over again, therefore, this vicious cycle brings about weight gain.
Then again, a low consumption of carbs gives you a lower, steadier blood glucose, and reduces the amounts of insulin produced by the pancreas. This triggers the release of fat from your fat stores and also increases fat burning. This naturally brings about fat loss, particularly around the belly in abdominally obese people.
Unfortunately, what we all need to face up to, is the fact is that we live in a nation of growing obesity. Statistics indicate that obesity has doubled since 1980. The latest figures from the CDC show that more than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese. Obesity has been cited as a contributing factor to between 100,000-400,000 deaths in the United States per year costing society an estimated $117 billion in direct costs, and accounts for 6% to 12% of national health care expenditures in the United States.
Currently our fitness level is estimated using a calculation known as BMI (Body/Mass Index) BMI is defined as the body mass divided by the square of the body height, and is universally expressed in units of kg/m2, resulting from mass in kilograms and height in metres.
Of, late there has been some discussion within the medical fraternity around the accuracy of the BMI test. Given the fact that we all carry different amounts of muscle and fat, and they both have different densities and weight the measurement must logically become inaccurate.