So often when we begin weight loss programs, or better yet, life style changes which promulgate weight loss and physical fitness, we will here utter non-sense such as “Do not eat potatoes”. This statement, no matter the source of who utters it, is not grounded in reality when it comes to baked or mashed potatoes you made at home. The caveat of do not eat potatoes I will agree with is do not eat french fries or fried potatoes cooked in vegetable or canola oils. As for a good old fashioned baked potato loaded with goodies such as butter, sour cream and bacon bits, chow down. Just ensure that you use butter and not margarine. Olive oil is also a good, actually a better choice, to drizzle on a baked potato. If you like full fat sour cream, go for it. If you like bacon bits, use real bacon and not those bacon bits made from some kind of processed soy protein with artificial flavors. As long as you watch your caloric and macro-nutrient intake, there is no reason on earth why you should not enjoy potatoes while on your journey of weight loss.
I know that someone out there is thinking this is contrary to all you have been taught about nutrition and dieting. Guess what? It probably is contrary to what you think you know, just the same as we have been told to not eat eggs because of their cholesterol content. This is outdated thinking which needs to be placed far into the past. There is a vast array of nutritional information that floats around that is complete hooey. An exception that I do concede to and totally agree with though, is if you are diabetic, you have to watch your total carb intake whether they are simple or complex carbs. But for the healthy individual, eating potatoes in moderation is quite good for you.
A baked potato is delicious as a stand alone meal, or as a side to a good steak etc. A potato is satiating and a healthy choice as a part of a meal. We often hear that we should skip them because they are starchy foods. Well yes, they do contain starch, but here is the real deal on potatoes; Most nutrient-rich complex carbohydrates like potatoes have a welcome role in a healthy diet.
- A single medium white potato contains about 150 calories
- A single medium white potato contains about 40g of carbohydrate
- A single medium white potato contains about 5 grams of protein
- A single medium white potato contains almost no fat
Lets dispel this myth; Potatoes contain starch and starch is bad for you.
In order to digest the starch in potatoes, your body breaks down this starch and releases it as free glucose in your blood. This process takes time and a significant amount of digestive energy.
Fiber is a key player that helps slow the rate at which starch is broken down into glucose. But not all that starch gets converted to glucose.
A medium sized spud contains about 79% water and 4 grams of fiber, which is enough to significantly slow the process and reduce the rate at which glucose enters your blood.
Fiber from whole, unprocessed foods helps aid in satiation, especially when combined with water. That’s why you get full when eating high fiber foods – the fiber expands when interacting with water.
Foods that are high in starch like potatoes, squash and corn are actually very healthy for you and provide a long lasting drip-release of glucose into your bloodstream to provide a constant energy supply for tissues all throughout your body. (1)
Another myth to dispel; Potatoes are low in micro-nutrients.
Potatoes are high in:
The best way to get all of these nutrients from food is to eat whole, unprocessed foods.
Potatoes have a large vitamin and mineral content. They contain vitamins A, C and E, and these vitamins protect against aging, aid in skin repair, maintain optimal liver health, and flood your blood with essential antioxidant compounds.
Antioxidants are potent chemicals in plants that help control oxidative damage (hence anti-oxidants) in your body. They also help regulate your immune system, protect you against viruses and reduce inflammation in tissues all throughout your body. (1)
Friends, do not let family and or friends tell you that you can not eat potatoes when you are trying to lose weight. Potatoes are a quite healthy choice to include in a meal. If you are diabetic or pre-diabetic, then of course you have to watch your total carbohydrate intake. At David’s Way, we advocate watching and keeping your intake of carbs low anyhow as a part of a high protein diet which does not contain any sugar or simple carbs which can throw your blood sugar and insulin out of whack. There are many great nutritional benefits from eating your potatoes, and as long as you are watching your caloric and macro-nutrient intake, you can enjoy them with the fatty goodies and still lose weight or maintain the losses you have already achieved.
Now, eat your damned Tater! 🙂