USDA needs to back off anti-starch campaign
The USDA is being a grumpy Mr. Potato Head, trying to limit starchy vegetables — corn, peas, lima beans and potatoes — in school lunches to two servings a week.
But what the USDA fails to realize is that it’s not the potato — or the other starchy veggies for that matter — that is unhealthy; it’s how the vegetable is cooked. Of course deep-frying a potato in a vat of oil or baking it and smothering on butter, sour cream, cheese and bacon bits is going to be unhealthy. Delicious, but unhealthy. The potato itself is not the problem.
So in defense of the super spud, I give you exhibit A: The flavonoids in potatoes can protect against cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems and certain cancers.
Exhibit B: Potatoes have the potential to lower blood pressure. Certain potatoes contain high levels of quercetin and kukoamines, which are big fancy science terms for compounds that have blood pressure lowering potential.
Exhibit C: Potatoes have a high concentration of vitamin B6. One cup of baked potato contains 21 percent of the recommended daily value of B6. To build protein and create new cells, your body needs B6. B6 also helps create amines, which is a type of molecule that the brain relies on to transmit messages from one nerve to the next. In addition to helping your brain, B6 is vital in supporting heart health and preventing cancer.
So, come on USDA, don’t attack the potato. Attack french fries, vending machines and prepackaged and processed foods. I’m no scientist, but I’m pretty sure a potato doesn’t come out of the ground containing high fructose corn syrup — but those chips in the vending machine have them.
Are you really going to keep the chips and ditch the potatoes?
Don’t be such a grumpy Mr. Potato Head and ban the healthy spud. And for heaven’s sake, pop out the plastic mustache. It looks creepy.