Are Potatoes Good for Weight Loss?

Are Potatoes Good for Weight Loss? featured image

When it comes to weight loss, most exercisers/dieters want to know the best foods to eat. This suggests that there are “good” diet foods, and “bad” diet foods. The truth is that any food can help you lose weight, and that same food can cause weight gain; it all depends on how much you eat.

In a lot of cases, the way a food is prepared can determine whether it will help you lose or gain weight. Adding fats like butter and oil-based dressings invariably increase the calories in even a low-calorie vegetable dish that would otherwise be almost calorie-free.

One of the most contentious weight loss foods are potatoes. On the one hand, the humble spud is a vegetable that is high in nutrients and fiber, which means it’s good for you.

On the other hand, it’s a starchy vegetable that’s relatively high in carbs and calories, and if often cooked in such a way that it becomes unhealthy and fattening, such as potato chips and French fries.

Because of this, a lot of people avoid potatoes or constantly ask the question, are potatoes good for weight loss?

It turns out that, when eaten in sensible amounts and prepared healthily, potatoes can help you lose weight. However, because potatoes are high in carbs, they are not compatible with the ketogenic diet.

In this article, we reveal how potatoes can help you lose weight, and benefits of eating this common vegetable.

Are Potatoes Good for Weight Loss

What Are Potatoes?

fries potatoes with vegetablesPotatoes are a type of vegetable called a tuber. They grow underground on the roots of the potato plant.

Potatoes are native to South America and were first brought to Europe in the 16th century.

They’re now grown all round the world and are a nutritional staple for billions of people.

Potatoes can be prepared and cooked in a variety of ways, including:

  • Boiled
  • Baked
  • Roasted
  • Fried
  • Mashed

They are usually served as a side dish but are also made into processed and snack foods (potato chips, potato croquets, hash browns, etc.,) and can be used to make potato flour, which can be used in place of wheat flour.

There are lots of different potato varieties, and they can be eaten when they’re very young (AKA “new potatoes”) or as they grow larger and are more mature. The skins are edible, but some people prefer to peel them. The skins are very high in insoluble fiber.

Nutritional Information

Potatoes are a high-carb vegetable, and that means they contain more calories than things like broccoli, cabbage, and other greens.

That said, they’re not so high in calories that they’ll automatically cause weight gain; that’s a complete myth! In fact, compared to things like, bread, rice, and pasta, potatoes are relatively low in calories.

100 grams (3.5 ounces) of boiled potatoes cooked in their skins contains:

  • Calories: 87
  • Water: 77%
  • Protein: 1.9 grams
  • Carbs: 20.1 grams
  • Sugar: 0.9 grams
  • Fiber: 1.8 grams
  • Fat: 0.1 grams

As well as these values, potatoes contain meaningful amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial plant compounds, including:

  • Potassium
  • Manganese
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorous
  • Vitamin C
  • Folate
  • Niacin
  • Vitamin B6

Potatoes are also high in health-boosting compounds such as flavonoids, carotenoids and phenolic acids.

The Benefits of Eating Potatoes

Potatoes are a very nutritious vegetable that is cheap, easy to prepare, and offers a range of valuable benefits, including:

healthy womanWeight Loss

Providing you don’t fry them or add lots of butter, potatoes are both low in calories and very filling.

High in fiber and water, a serving of potatoes can help ward off hunger, and stop you eating between meals.

With less calories than rice, pasta, and bread, you can enjoy a good-sized portion of potatoes without derailing your diet.

High in Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are the sparkplugs that sustain life.

All fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals, and that includes potatoes.

The humble spud does contain more calories than most non-starchy vegetables, but their nutritional density means they still deserve to be part of your diet and eating them could be good for your health.

Protection From Free Radicals

Free radicals are rogue molecules that, when they accumulate, increase your risk of things like heart disease and cancer, and may also accelerate the aging process.

The antioxidants in potatoes help control and disarm free radicals, providing protection from a wide range of chronic diseases and health conditions.

Lower, More Stable Blood Glucose

Potatoes are high in something called resistant starch. This is a type of starch that your body cannot break down. Instead of being digested, resistant starch ferments in the large intestine, where it helps feed and increase your levels of good gut bacteria.

Increases in good gut bacteria can have a number of benefits, including better digestion, improved immunity, and more stable blood glucose.

Lower, more stable blood glucose levels can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes, and also leads to more stable energy levels. Best of all, low, stable blood glucose is the perfect environment for fat burning.

Naturally Gluten-Free

A lot of people are gluten intolerant, and the gluten-free diet is one of the most popular eating plans.

Going Gluten

Free means giving up most wheat-based products. Potatoes are a gluten-free food that you can eat in place of things like bread and pasta. Potato flour is also for making gluten-free baked goods.

Very Versatile

There are lots of ways to prepare potatoes, and they’re part of a huge number of recipes. As such, you could eat potatoes every day and never get bored.

There are also lots of different varieties to try, all of which taste a little different. Because potatoes don’t have a strong taste, they are easy to season and take on the flavor of the other ingredients they’re cooked with.

Downsides

fried and boiled potatoesPotatoes are mostly healthy, and, eaten in moderation, can help you lose weight.

However, there are a few downsides you should consider before you start adding potatoes to your diet.

Weight Gain

While there is no direct correlation between potatoes and weight gain, eating too many could lead to an increase in weight and body fat.

Because if this, if you are dieting for weight loss, you should take care not to eat too many potatoes.

More importantly, do not add extra calories to your potatoes in the form of oil, sour cream, or butter, as this will definitely make them fattening.

Toxicity

Potatoes contain a type of chemical called glycoalkaloids, which are present in most nightshades. Eating green potatoes can make you ill and could even be poisonous.

Symptoms of glycoalkaloid toxicity include drowsiness, rashes, and digestive upsets. Discard green potatoes and do not cook or eat them. Store potatoes in cool, dark cupboards to stop them going green in the first place.

Bottom Line

Potatoes are a controversial weight loss food because some people actually view them as fattening.

And while potatoes ARE higher in calories than many vegetables, that doesn’t mean that eating them will automatically lead to weight gain. In fact, as part of a calorie-controlled diet, potatoes could help you lose weight.

A standard serving of potatoes contains about 87 calories, which is significantly less than the same amount of rice, bread, or pasta.

In addition, potatoes are high satiating fiber, and contain resistant starches, which have been shown to improve gut health, leading to lower blood glucose while promoting fat burning.

In addition, the humble potato is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and a host of other beneficial nutrients; they’re very good for you!

Potatoes are rich in calories and carbs, but the real issue is how they’re usually prepared and served. A lot of people deep fry their potatoes or slather them in butter or sour cream. That’s what makes potatoes fattening, rather than the potato itself.

If you want to lose weight, you probably shouldn’t go overboard on potatoes, and definitely need to avoid things like French fries and potato chips.

But, as part of a calorie-controlled diet, potatoes can help you lose weight and improve your general health. And, best of all, they’re cheap and easy to cook.

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