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Dieting mums being misled

For years British mums have tried diet after diet, searching the world for the perfect solution to shift those extra pounds. But as new research* by Potato Council reveals that 75% of diets are doomed to fail, could myths surrounding potatoes be partly to blame? A survey of more than 1,500 mums reveals that many wrongly believe potatoes to be fattening, and are clueless about how low in calories they actually are**.

Nearly two thirds of those questioned did not know that a new potato contains just 26kcals. Nutritionist Fiona Hunter believes misunderstanding like this, coupled with misleading advice, plays a major part in mums’ failure to achieve their target weight loss: “Many of these diets are too restrictive, cutting out major foods and are actually quite boring.  The research shows that mums aren’t seeing these diets through, which really isn’t surprising - after all, who wants to eat a meal replacement drink or cabbage soup for most of the day?

“The beauty of potatoes is that they can be used in so many ways, from the traditional methods like boiled or mashed, right through to stir fries or salsa.  So instead of a boring repetitive diet that may not work, mums can actually manage their weight, and add to their meal repertoire at the same time.  Many diets reinforce the view that there is a need to reduce potato consumption.  In fact the opposite is true – potatoes can actually help with weight management. They are virtually fat free, low in calories and contain a range of vitamins and minerals in a nutrient dense form.”

The Potato Council research found that yo-yo dieting is common amongst mums – 29% diet once a year, 20% go on two diets and a quarter go on more than three diets a year. Only one in ten mums say they have stayed the full course to reach their target weight and most stick to their diet for less than three months***.

Fiona Hunter offers the following advice to mums wishing to manage their weight:

Three weight-watching ways to enjoy potatoes
1. Add a sprig of mint in the last few minutes when boiling fresh new potatoes
2. Fill a jacket with a low fat filling like tuna in spring water with lime and coriander
3. Mash potatoes with hot skimmed milk for a light fluffy mash without butter

How to spot a ‘fad’ diet

- It excludes a major food group like potatoes
- If it sounds too good to be true it probably is
- If it offers rapid weight loss – the ideal of rate of weight loss is 0.5-1kg /wk

For further information, recipes and nutritional information visit www.britishpotatoes.co.uk or contact:

David Gough 
Tel: 0118 947 5956  
M: 07884 353 474  
E: david.gough@ceres-pr.co.uk    

*Online survey with mums aged under 50 conducted by One Poll during June 2009 with 1,625 respondents

**More than a third of those who would avoid potatoes would do so because they think they are fattening and a fifth think they are high in calories.

***12% dieters say they stay on the diet for less than two weeks, 16.5% for less than a month and 20% for less than three months



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