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Solanine and Apoptosis
August 27, 2011
6:20 am
Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
August 27, 2011

I just read about this diet briefly on my gym's website.  Must admit I haven't read the book yet, but one thing mentioned really stood out. The article I read said to always peel potatoes as that is where all of the solanine is and solanine is a cause of apoptosis.  Apoptosis, or cell death, sounds really scary. Who wants their cells to die?  Apoptosis is a normal and very necessary cell process.  It is responsible for us being born with 10 seperate digits instead of paws or webbed hands or feet.  It also keeps damaged cells from reproducing.  Without apoptosis, tumors would grow unchecked.  Actually, this process is one of the most promising areas of cancer research.                                                         

Having said all this, I am skeptical of the science behind the entire diet.  A LITTLE BIT OF KNOWLEDGE CAN BE A DANGEROUS THING.

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August 27, 2011
11:16 am
Forum Posts: 2105
Member Since:
February 22, 2010


I refer to peeling potatoes because of the solanine and chaconine, but I don't specifically call out apoptosis as a scary thing...all I do is link to the Wikipedia article about solanine.  Perhaps you're referring to some other article?

Solanine is a defense mechanism for the potato.  It's a pesticide, a fungicide, and it's poisonous to humans in sufficiently large doses. 

That being said, it's difficult to produce acute solanine poisoning without eating lots of improperly stored potatoes (or the leaves and stems of the potato plant), and the commonly eaten varieties of potato, such as Russets, are quite low in solanine.  (The worst offender is generally the Snowden, often found in potato chips!)  But since solanine and chaconine have no known nutritional benefit, I figure it's smarter to simply peel my potatoes.

Keep in mind that there are many "paleo" sources that claim we shouldn't eat potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, or other nightshade-family fruits and tubers at all!  But as a functional paleo eater and proponent, I see no reason to exclude them except for allergies or other sensitivities.


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