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Are Potatoes Good or Bad for Weight Loss?

Are Potatoes Good or Bad for Weight Loss?

August 09, 2020 / Patrick Zavorskas

Potatoes are probably the great equalizer when it comes to food - found in almost every cuisine, potatoes have become a staple food group. Coming in a variety of different preparations, such as roasted, mashed, baked, au gratin, smashed - what have you, they have become the perfect pairing for almost any meal. When it comes to picking the perfect potato, we obviously know that there are as many different varieties of potatoes as there are ways of preparing them. For the sake of this article today, we will be examining two kinds of potatoes: white russet potatoes and sweet potatoes

With the many different ways to eat potatoes, we may have never really thought about how good they may be for our dietsHowever, when prepared properly and eaten with other nutritious foods, both regular and sweet potatoes can be part of a healthy diet. Curious as to how? Here is the rundown:

The Nutritional Content of Russet Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes

While white russet and sweet potatoes are nutritionally similar, there are some variations in nutrients when you compare them side by side. Here’s how they compare per 100 grams:

White Russet Potatoes : 

  • Calories : 69
  • Protein : 2 grams
  • Carbs : 16 grams
  • Fiber : 2 grams
  • Sugar : 1 Gram
  • Calcium : 9 Milligrams
  • Sodium : 16 Milligrams 
  • Magnesium : 21 Milligrams
  • Potassium : 407 Milligrams

Sweet Potatoes : 

  • Calories : 86
  • Protein : 2 grams
  • Carbs : 20 grams
  • Fiber : 3 grams
  • Sugar : 4 Gram
  • Calcium : 30 Milligrams
  • Sodium : 55 Milligrams 
  • Magnesium : 25 Milligrams
  • Potassium : 337 Milligrams

Sweet potatoes contain more vitamin A, calcium and folate and are higher in sugar. White potatoes offer similar vitamins and minerals, but are slightly higher in potassium. Compared to sweet potatoes, they’re also a great source of vitamins and minerals which helps maintain eye health.

Debunking Health Myths Around Potatoes

When it comes to potatoes, they are often ostracized by the fitness community  for being too high in carbs. However, both sweet and white potatoes contain a type of naturally occurring carbohydrate called resistant starch, which cannot be processed by digestive enzymes, similar to dietary fiber, that can be quite essential to our health. These resistant starches are said to be linked to health improvements that aid in both the gastrointestinal tract and digestive system. Moreover, these carbs are needed to keep your body at its best.

Potatoes are also said to spike up your blood sugar once consumed. However, it should be noted that the glycemic index of potatoes depends on a variety of factors - processing and preparation, variety, origin, maturation, and the other foods with which they’re consumed. When adding lean proteins, healthy fats and fibers, and watching the portions consumed, potatoes make a great item for your diet and will not cause that dramatic of an increase. 

The Bottom-Line

In the end, many people consume potatoes in less-than-healthy processed forms, such as fries or tater-tots, that make them seem rather unhealthy. However, baking, broiling, roasting or steaming potatoes preserves more nutrients and is less likely to cause blood sugar to spike.

When eaten as part of a well-balanced diet, both white and sweet potatoes provide a variety of nutrients for a flavorful and satiating meal. What’s more, research has shown they can help with weight loss by lowering blood pressure and acting as a healthy source of carbs. Plus, potatoes are a low-cost item that can save you money when planning out meals for the week for your family. 

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