This Week's Question: Will Potatoes Make Me Fat?
Since time immemorial, potatoes are considered to be a meal for obese people. Not only this, there are many rumours, which support the fact that potatoes are not a vegetable, they are simple fattening, contain simple carbohydrates - lots of carbohydrates and nothing else. Today, we're telling you that this might just be one big conspiracy against the humble potato.
Potatoes, by themselves, are NOT fattening. Mentioned below is a quick rundown of 5 crucial points, which will hopefully answer the question of whether or not potatoes will make you fat.
Myth: Potatoes spike blood sugar levels.
Fact: Unlike the general perception of high glycemic index food, potatoes have a medium glycemic index and they do not raise the blood sugar levels to crazy. Their glycemic index is a decent 56. However, the forms in which they are consumed make them fattening such as deep fried, shallow fried and so on.
Myth: One should eat potatoes only once in a month.
Fact: The moderate amount recommended is 1 medium-sized potato a day. Of course this depends on your overall diet, nutrition and level of activity - as is the case when determining any kind of food intake.
Myth: Potatoes have truckloads of calories.
Fact: 1 large potato (260gms) will have 278 calories and 63 grams i.e. 21% of carbohydrates. But you have to understand that at 260gms that is a very large potato, not the regular medium to small sized potato we usually get in Indian grocery stores. Calories from potatoes result in weight gain only if taken regularly in large amounts. Also, the form in which they are consumed matters. The best preparations are baked (without extra cream and butter) and steamed.
Myth: Potato is not a vegetable.
Fact: Even though it is a tuberous root, potatoes are vegetables on the Food Guide Pyramid.
Myth: Eating potatoes is suicidal for any weight loss program.
Fact: Eating potatoes prepared in healthy ways - baked, mashed (without extra cream and butter), boiled, roasted, steamed or stewed - will not add to your weight. However, if you team them up with cream, additional butter topping or cheese or serve them as French fries, then they will surely contribute to weight gain.
Myth: Potatoes contain simple carbohydrate.
Fact: Potatoes contain complex carbohydrates, which provide the body much needed energy. By providing instant calories, potatoes maintain instant replenished levels of glucose in the blood - a primary reason why mountain climbers and endurance athletes load up on potatoes just before hectic events.
Myth: Potatoes only taste good when paired with cream-based toppings.
Fact: Well, if this were true, then the humble Indian potato curry would not have so many fans. If you are not into Asian cuisine, try a baked potato with low-fat cheese, salsa or a hint of garlic and herbs mixed in tomato sauce.
The trick lies in the way you prepare the potatoes. If the end result is a healthy recipe dish that suits your body's fat and carb requirement, then the potatoes - by themselves - will not harm you. Here's a quick tip - cook the potatoes with their skins on and your dish will be rich in fiber, potassium, vitamin C and iron. Besides, cooking potatoes with their skins on will also seal the nutrients.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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