Avoiding potatoes seems to be high up on the list of just about everyone who’s trying to lose weight. Is this a legitimate weight loss hack? Or are you avoiding that delicious potato salad for no good reason?
Are you avoiding potatoes of all kinds? Just the white ones? Confused about sweet potatoes? (Can something that sweet actually be healthy?)
Let’s have a closer look…
As it turns out, there actually is some nutritional value in white potatoes. I kid you not! You can get a whopping 45% of your daily vitamin C requirement from just one medium sized potato (with the skin on). Just make sure it’s a medium sized potato, and not a medium sized packet of fries!
Yes, white potatoes are a starch, but they are a resistant starch. To put it simply, when white potatoes are digested, good bacteria are produced in the gut. This is particularly the case when potatoes are cooked and then cooled down. (Yes, that does mean potato salad!)
But before you help yourself to a second serving, remember that white potatoes are high GI. (This is probably why you were avoiding potatoes in the first place). High GI foods raise your blood sugar levels very quickly. To counteract this, when you do indulge in a spud, pair it with lean protein and veggies that are high in fibre. Plan to treat yourself with a tasty spud after a hard training session to replenish your energy, rather than the go-to for any old meal.
But what about sweet potatoes?
Just in case you’re in denial, let’s make one thing clear here: sweet potatoes are sweet because the contain sugar. Fructose, to be exact. However, sweet potatoes are eaten as whole foods so your liver isn’t overburdened with all the sugar at once. Plus, they’re really filling so you probably won’t be loading your plate with a second helping.
Although they’re not a resistant starch, there are benefits to sweet potatoes. They’re great for your immune system because they contain high levels of vitamins A and C, manganese, and potassium.
The good news? You don’t have to carry on avoiding potatoes.
The better news? Sweeter potatoes may be sweeter and have a better taste, but with more nutrients, they are the healthier option!