THE TRUTH ABOUT POTATOES
I think we can all agree, that potatoes are absolutely divine! They are the most wanted vegetable of all time! Are they really fattening though? We all assume they are, but it would be nice to eat potatoes without thinking I’ve blown my healthy eating! Can you eat potatoes and still lose weight?
First of all, let’s all get clear about what a potato actually is. It is in fact classed as a vegetable. There are a number of different types including Kestrel, Pontiac, Sebago, Kipfler, Coliban and Desiree, to name a few!
Different types are better for cooking a certain way. It usually depends on their dry content and specific gravity (its density). Therefore some types may be better at being mashed and boiled while other types maybe better for roasting or frying. If you want to get into the real nitty-gritty about the humble potato click here.
Whilst potatoes are reasonably low in calories and have virtually no fat, they still have an effect on weight. The issue is they have a high carb content and register high on the glycaemic index scale. This means they can cause a spike in blood sugar and therefore insulin levels/requirements. Insulin is the hormone very much involved in causing fat storage.
Read more here and here about carbs and insulin. Because of this if you are trying to lose weight, limiting your potato intake may well be worth considering. Especially if you tend to eat potatoes at most meals, just in different ways.
Potatoes are definitely better for you if you eat them with the skin on. The peel contains mainly fibre, which we all know is good for digestive health and also helps minimise those blood sugar spikes.
They are also low in protein but apparently their protein quality is better than that of soybeans and other legumes!
They do contain a few vitamins and minerals and are especially a good source of potassium and vitamin C. You need to be aware though, that the way you cook potatoes affects the amount of these vitamins and minerals actually used by the body. Cooking them with the skin on appears to be more beneficial. If it interests you to know more exact vitamin and mineral content click here.
According to Dr Arnarson of Authority Nutrition, potatoes do seem to have a good satiety effect after meals. This means they can make you feel full and satisfied for longer and therefore decreasing the likeliness of overeating.
POTATO AS A FAST FOOD
It appears that the main problem with potatoes is when people consume them as potato crisps or French fries. Don’t you just love hot chips whenever you come across them??
Unfortunately consuming them as a fast processed food most definitely will not assist with you losing any weight. It will most likely be a cause of weight gain! Staying away from processed food cannot be stressed enough in the pursuit of health and healthy body weight in general especially packets of chips!!
It would be safe to say that eating a small baked potato (preferably skin on) 2 or 3 times a week is not going to sabotage your efforts in eating healthy and losing or maintaining weight. On the other hand if you wallop half a plate worth of mash potato or hot chips to every evening meal, that might be a different story! And hoeing into bags of potato crisps isn’t going to be doing you any favours. The trans fats alone in those packets should have you running for the hills!
So there you have it. Hopefully that makes it a little bit clearer of where potatoes should be in your weight loss goals. Phew! I personally love them too much to eliminate them from meals. I’m well aware that moderation is definitely the key with home cooked potatoes and I most definitely need to completely eliminate processed potato products altogether for maximum weight loss benefits. You know what happens with a packet of chips, you can’t stop at just one!
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