CAN POTATO CHIPS BE MADE HEALTHIER?

Published online: Jan 25, 2012 Potato Storage, Potato Harvesting, Seed Potatoes
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CALS food scientist Kerry Huber's innovative work with potatoes has yielded a discovery that may make fans of some tasty foods rejoice: a starch that resists quick conversion to blood sugar.

The new way to process potatoes and a new product promise to become valuable new additions for Idaho's thriving food processing industry-ldaho's largest manufacturing sector. Huber's process won for early stage innovation of 2011 at the Idaho Innovation Awards program in October at Boise.

For lovers of potato chips and french fries, Huber's discovery promises potato ingredients with high amounts of resistant starch that can help lower a person's glycemic index response, improve insulin levels, and lower fat and cholesterol levels. For those with type 2 diabetes or allergies to corn or wheat products, resistant starch from potatoes could open a wider world of eating choices.

The patent-pending discovery already has food companies, including Simplot, lining up to expand Huber's laboratory-scale tests to larger, more exhaustive testing that will open doors to supermarket trials.

Also, Solanux, a team of University of Idaho and Washington State University students, placed third among 104 entries in the University of Washington Business Plan competition-the only finalist from beyond the Seattle area. The team won $5,000 for outlining how a business could produce patented potato-based food ingredients that improve insulin levels and lower fat and cholesterol levels.
 
Contact Kerry Huber at
huberk@uidaho.edu.

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