Potatoes Are Not Just Starch

Potatoes are often given a bad name and many people think potatoes are just starch that turns to sugar when digested. We are told to avoid potatoes when trying to lose weight. There is a lot of bad advice out there. However you do need to avoid potato products that are processed. All those frozen potato chips, patties, tatter tots, and the rest are off the menu. A real fresh potato baked or boiled is a whole different food that is good for you.

It’s a surprise for many to discover one medium potato (5.3 oz) with the skin contains:

  • 45 percent of the daily value for vitamin C
  • More potassium (620 mg) than even bananas, spinach, or broccoli;
  • 10 percent of the daily value of B6;
  • Trace amounts of thiamine, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, and zinc

…and all this for just 110 calories and no fat, sodium orcholesterol.

More surprising facts:

Overall diet quality can be improved when adults and children consume (non-fried) white potatoes. Research released in April 2011 using data from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008 demonstrates meals that contain potatoes contain more servings of other vegetables, and are significantly higher in potassium, fiber and vitamin C.

Potatoes are a complex carbohydrate.   The majority of carbohydrates in potatoes are complex carbohydrates, your body’s main energy source.

Only about 20% of the potato’s nutrition is found in the skin.  In fact, most of the vitamin C and potassium are found in the potato’s flesh, but that good for-you fiber is found in the skin.  That’s why it’s best to enjoy every part of the spud.

What you do with the potato is the critical issue. If you load it with butter and sour cream and bacon bits, it is not so healthy. If you top it with salsa, vegetarian chili and other yummy toppings, it can be a great addition to a meal. Mashed potatoes can be great but can also be off the list if you fill it with a lot of butter and milk. Usually mashed are made without the skins which reduces the fiber benefit and you tend to eat more because it doesn’t look like it is as much. Stick to roasting, baking, or boiling the potatoes and be sure you use organic so you can eat the skin and not worry about the growth retardant that is often sprayed on it.

Post inspired by Potato Nutrition

Image courtesy of Potato Nutrition.

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