These days the Irish are more likely to throw some pasta in the pot and serve it with a store bought sauce, but our ancestors knew better.
According to a report in the Irish Examiner this week, the Irish in the 1860s had just 9% fat in their daily diet, as opposed to the gut busting 35%-36% fat levels contained in today’s refined and highly processed meals.
Dietician Daniel McCartney presented the findings to the Irish Food Association (IFI) and Bord Bia (Food Board) to promote the humble spud. McCartney also acknowledged that potatoes contain more fibre, vitamins, and mineral content than rice or pasta.
McCartney said: 'The best advice for consumers is that they can take good amounts of potatoes or wholegrain cereals, as long as they take plenty of exercise to burn off the calories from starchy foods.'
It may come as a surprise that the Irish need a public relations campaign to remind them of the virtues of the easy tuber, but less of us actually eat them now. In 1999-2000, 95% of Irish adults consumed potatoes on a weekly basis, but by 2011 just 74% did so. In the same period, the numbers of Irish adults consuming rice, pasta, flour, grains and starches at least once per week rose from 44% to 49%.
Research has found that although most consumers in the 22-44 years age group eat potatoes, they generally view pasta and rice as more convenient to prepare. The volume of potatoes they buy is also driven by other factors like life-stage and by the arrival of children.