Does a baked potato contain the equivalent of 19 cubes of sugar? According to information presented during a BBC1 program which aired in early June, it does. But the information has since been debunked as misleading. The information presented in this program however led to several dubious news stories published by major news outlets, such as this one by the Daily Mail in the UK which reads: “Why potatoes could be fuelling the nation’s obesity crisis: A baked spud contains the equivalent of 19 lumps of sugar – almost three times the amount in a can of Coca-Cola”. Potatoes and rice were singled out in the program as two foods containing more than double the amount of “sugar” as say a chocolate muffin. Two days ago though, another program aired on BBC Worldservice (‘More or Less‘) in which experts point out that the information presented in the BBC! program need to be presented in context.
The starch in potatoes and rice is broken down to glucose – broken down very efficiently and used by the body for energy, and does not create excess fat around the liver. A muffin contains sugar in the form of fructose, which is far more problematic than the glucose contained in potatoes and rice, since fructose is converted into fats around the liver.
“To present potatoes and rice as an unhealthier choice of food than muffins, is misleading,” says one of he experts in the latest BBC program. Listen to the 9 minute program here