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Dutch Company Develops Low Carb Potato - 2004-06-24


A Dutch company, without really trying, has created a low carbohydrate potato. Dubbed Spud-U-Lite by the Florida farmers who are growing it, the new potato is expected to hit markets in the Southern United States next year. The plant's developers in Amsterdam are hoping to cash in on the low-carb craze.

Scientists at H.Z.P.C. Holland never meant to develop a low carbohydrate potato when they crossbred existing strains eight years ago. This was before the low-carbohydrate, high-protein Atkins Diet became hugely popular. What they were looking for instead was a good tasting, yellow-fleshed, smooth-skinned potato that would appeal to Europeans.

But after Florida researchers tested the new breed recently and discovered it has 30 percent less carbohydrates than the standard American variety, interest in the United States soared.

Company spokesman Jan Hoogenboom says, ?We have about 70 different varieties here in Holland. We did not measure every one of them. So it is possible we have another one that is even more low carb.?

Mr. Hoogenboom says they are now going to test them all.

The new spud has a short growing season, which means it has less starch and, consequently, less carbohydrates. Jan Hoogenboom says the as-of-yet unnamed dinner potato will not replace the much-loved American Russell Burbank variety, which is a white, starchy potato commonly used for French fries.

But he says potential U.S. sales could help hard-hit potato growers there, along with his company on the other side of the Atlantic.

?The Atkins hype is not yet here in Holland and not yet in Europe, but as everything comes from the United States we will probably have that in one-year's time also,? Mr. Hoogenboom said.

And when the low-carb craze does hit the Netherlands, Mr. Hoogenboom hopes it will make his spuds a best-seller, at least until a new diet fad comes around.

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