Your average American puts away 110 pounds of potatoes a year. It’s not quite what Europe manages, but that’s still a lot of spuds. Despite what you may have heard, the potato is fairly healthy for you, but there’s always room for improvement. And researchers in Colorado might have genetically engineered the perfect potato.
Colorado State University has created a spud packed with antioxidants, and with higher levels of vitamin C, folic acid, minerals, potassium, iron, zinc and phenolic compounds than you find in regular taters. Another advantage is that it’s low in acrylamide, a potential carcinogen. That’s particularly important because when a potato is put in temperatures below 39° F, its starch turns into sugar, raising the levels of acrylamide when you bake it or fry it. Also the butter and sour cream are probably not helping matters. So, uh, yeah, we’re eating potatoes in about the worst way possible, and this newly designed tuber will help us stop eating so many carcinogens. And yes, you can fry it if you want.
As we said, the potato gets a bum rap. The whole “don’t eat white foods” fad was, like most food fads, ultimately more about flash than substance. While it’s true that sweet potatoes and purple potatoes have more vitamins, even the plain old white potato is fairly good for you. And, as we’ve noted before, improving the health value of staple crops will be a net good for the human race. Besides, purple fries would offer a nice splash of color to a fast food meal. Hey, presentation matters.