Research proving that the world's first low GI Carisma potato was developed in South Australia will be presented at an international nutrition conference in Spain this week.
The special low GI Carisma potato was developed using natural breeding processes by Virginia market gardener, Frank Mitolo, and Australia's Glycemic Index (GI) Foundation.
The GI Foundation's chief scientific officer, Alan Barclay, said Carisma is the first potato to be internationally certified low GI.
"We have undertaken exhaustive testing using the ISO testing standard and we are satisfied that Carisma is unique. Its Glycemic index of 55 is between 30 percent and 50 percent less than other mainstream potato varieties such as Desiree (74), Russet Burbank (82) and Bintje (94).
"But its other big advantage is its commercial availability. Coles has made it a convenient choice for consumers, and that means it will play a more important role in assisting in the management of diabetes and heart disease," he said.
GI researcher Kai Lin Ek, who works in the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment at the University of Sydney will present a paper on research surrounding the low GI potato at the International Congress of Nutrition in Granada, Spain, held from 15 to 20 September.
"Our research showed that Carisma not only ranked well alongside other potatoes it is also comparable with other low GI foods," Ek said.
"Potatoes tend to get bad press as they are generally classified as a high GI carbohydrate but our research has discovered that Carisma has half the blood glucose response compared to other potato varieties.
"It has a similar GI to pastas all of which are usually classified as low GI foods."
Frank Mitolo, managing director of The Mitolo Group, an onion and potato packing company in South Australia, said Carisma was naturally bred using a process where positive characteristics were selected and combined.
"We thought this new variety had less starch but was still a good all purpose potato for boiling, roasting and mashing," he said.
"The tests confirmed that we had something special and it then took a few years to build up the volumes so we could distribute it to a major supermarket chain.
"The partnership with Coles has been excellent. They can see the benefits of having a low GI alternative positioned alongside other potatoes and we have invested in the packaging to make it easy for the consumer to choose."