There is an unlikely new weapon in the war on obesity: the potato.
According to researchers from McGill University, potato extract may help limit weight gain from a diet that is high in fat and refined carbohydrate.
They fed mice an obesity-inducing diet for 10 weeks and the results soon appeared on the scale. Mice that started out weighing an average of 25 grams put on about 16 grams, but those that were fed the same diet with a potato extract gained much less weight; less than 7 grams, the study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research said.
"We were astonished by the results," said Dr. Luis Agellon, a McGill professor and one of the study's authors. "We thought this can't be right -- in fact, we ran the experiment again using a different batch of extract prepared from potatoes grown in another season, just to be certain."
Potatoes are high in polyphenols, a beneficial chemical also found in fruits and other vegetables.
The extract contained the human equivalent of 30 potatoes, an amount impossible for a person to consume in a day. But more research is needed to determine the optimal dose for humans would be, Dr. Agellon said.
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