There are pros and cons when it comes to white potatoes. Everyone is probably aware that sweet potatoes are great additions to any diet plan, even for weight loss programs. Most weight loss gurus warn against eating anything white, even the white potato. The pro side of the white potato is that it is very low in sodium, very low in cholesterol and very low in saturated fat. These are all great things. It is also a source of Manganese, Potassium and Vitamins B6 and C. This is also very great. The calorie count for one large potato is about 278 with only 3 from fat, zero trans fat and 26 percent fiber.
Is the white potato as good a source of vitamins and minerals as green vegetables or fruit?
The white potato is a tuber type of vegetable and will have either a yellow, white, brown or red exterior. With the skin intact the white potato can provide the recommended daily allowance or RDA of several minerals and vitamins. Everyone knows that the banana is a good source of Potassium that the body must have but the white potato has about 620 mg of Potassium which is much higher. Another must have mineral is iron which is also an ingredient in the white potato.
Besides the minerals that you would expect this vegetable to contain because it grows underground, it is also a good source of Vitamins B6 and C. There is almost no cholesterol, fat or sodium in potatoes. If that isn’t great enough they also have about 2 grams of vegetable protein that is easy to digest. The skin carries a lot of the natural fiber plus all the other nutritional benefits and lots of flavor. There is almost as much protein present as there is in four ounces of milk.
Comparison based on 5 oz white potato with the skin:
Provides 45% of daily recommendation for Vitamin C
Small quantities of riboflavin, magnesium, iron, zinc, thiamin, phosphorus and folate
About the same Potassium as spinach, broccoli and bananas
Is it true that all of the nutrients are in the skin?
No, actually this is not so. The nutrients and fiber are contained in the whole potato but the skin is flavorful and does help to keep the nutrients contained during the cooking process.
This all sounds really good but why are white potatoes considered a no-no food in diet plans?
Along with all the valuable components of the white potato is starch. Vegetables like the potato are considered sugar vegetables like corn, peas, carrots, rutabagas, turnips and beets. The starch of the potato turns into sugar which is not something you want to consume if you are trying to lose weight. Potatoes and corn have the highest sugar potential. This is why diet plans consider these vegetables a no-no.
Potatoes have something called a resistant starch which means the body’s enzymes are not able to break it down. The starch in potatoes is the same as found in baked goods and cereals because it will digest quickly. Beans, long grained brown rice or barley also have resistant starch but it will break down very slowly because it has an outer casing. Resistant starch cannot be digested in the small intestine so it acts much like fiber in the body.
Potatoes in the raw state are the highest in starch. The more the potato is cooked the more the starch breaks down. Newer potatoes have less starch than the older ones. Potatoes with less starch will break down quickly while cooking. New potatoes can be any variety and are harvested in the spring while the old potatoes are larger, have thicker skins, more starch and are harvested in the fall. The Idaho or Russet variety is high in starch as well as the long white but the small long white is lower in starch like the new potato. The round or red potatoes that are used for boiling have a thinner skin and less starch. Yukon Golds have medium starch level and lots of flavor and texture.
When cooking potatoes it is best to cook them with the skin intact, especially when boiling as it will prevent the water used in the cooking preparation from getting into the potato. To bake a potato the best way is cut in strips like home fries and tossed with some oil and seasoning salt. To fry potatoes the best method is to fry them twice. Fry them first at a low temperature and then again at a high temperature for a crunch outside and a soft inside. To make them better on a weight loss program, use organic, unrefined, virgin coconut oil. This is great at high temperatures, is loaded with health benefits and will break down and digest very quickly making it a weight loss aide. It also adds amazing flavor. Salt with seasoning salt to taste and you have an amazing treat.