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Health Risks of Eating Conventionally-Grown Potatoes

 Growing potatoes in the modern world of agribusiness implies a clockwork schedule of pesticide application. Before the crop is even planted, the soil is treated with insecticides to kill wireworms. Potato “seeds” (actually tubers) are routinely drenched with fungicide immediately after cutting to prevent the spread of blight. Systemic insecticides, which penetrate the entire potato plant, are generally applied at “hilling” time, when the young potato plants are covered with dirt.

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Potatoes are popularly regarded as a “comfort food”, and with good reason. Researcher Judith Wurtman of MIT says that potatoes raise the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, decreasing the likelihood of depression, binge eating, and insomnia. Kathleen Des Maisons, a nutritionist and author of the book “Potatoes, not Prozac,” claims potatoes protect against overeating and addictions such as alcoholism. French researchers declared potatoes a “diet food” because they make people feel full. Australian researchers developed a “satiety index” that rates potatoes as the most “satisfying” food around, outranking bread and ice cream. And, as any cook knows, potatoes are extremely versatile. They can be baked, fried, mashed, scalloped, made into salads, used as an ingredient in soups or stews, and matched with a worldwide variety of complementary seasonings.

Since potatoes are such a simple and inexpensive food the tendency is to buy conventionally grown ones, even if one buys other, more flamboyant, vegetables organically. After all, a potato, is a potato, is a potato, right? Think again.

Growing potatoes in the modern world of agribusiness implies a clockwork schedule of pesticide application. Before the crop is even planted, the soil is treated with insecticides to kill wireworms. Potato “seeds” (actually tubers) are routinely drenched with fungicide immediately after cutting to prevent the spread of blight. Systemic insecticides, which penetrate the entire potato plant, are generally applied at “hilling” time, when the young potato plants are covered with dirt.

Check out little girl named Elise that performed an age-old science experiment:

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