Potatoes are one of the most commonly consumed starches in the United States. You’ll find they’re present in nearly every household around the country, and they’re certainly among the most popular meal items on most menus. From French fries to baked potatoes to mashed potatoes, they’re a staple that is as versatile as they are delicious. But the real question should be: how good are they for your diet? Are they a good option or better avoided? Read on to find out the truth…
The Downside of Potatoes
If you take potatoes at face value, you’ll find they don’t look all that nourishing. They contain a lot of carbohydrates, which means they’ll contribute to high blood sugar, weight gain, and increased fat intake. After all, your body turns carbs into fats, so when you eat a lot of potatoes, you run the risk of your body turning all the carbs in potatoes (and there are a lot!) into stored fats. There is also the high blood sugar levels that result from eating potatoes. You’ll notice an increase in blood glycogen shortly after your potato-heavy meal. All in all, this makes potatoes less than an “awesome” food.
But did you know that potatoes are actually surprisingly filling? Studies have indicated that they’re actually one of the most filling foods you can eat, which means they’re more likely to keep you from feeling hungry after your meals. You’ll find it’s easier to stick with your diet when you add a potato to your meals, simply because the fiber in the potatoes fills you up quickly. Potatoes also contain compounds that will quench your hunger, which means they will help to combat appetite rather than encourage it like other high-carb foods.
Great Source of Fiber
Potatoes are also an excellent source of dietary fiber. Though they contain a lot of carbohydrates, the carbs are cancelled out by the fiber in the potatoes—meaning potatoes actually have fairly low net carbs compared to most other grains and high-carb foods. If you mix potatoes with high-fiber foods like vegetables, you’ll find the added fiber works to cancel out the carbs in your meals. With seven grams of fiber per serving of potatoes, you’ll find that they’re one of the best options to get more fiber in your meals while still enjoying a delicious source of carbs.
Rich in Nutrients
And don’t let anyone tell you potatoes aren’t good for your health! Aside from all the awesome fiber, potatoes are an amazing source of a broad range of minerals. They contain more potassium than bananas, which will help to regulate your body’s fluid intake and storage, as well as encourage better muscle function. A potato also contains roughly half of the Vitamin B6 your body needs, and you’ll find they help to break down the carbs stored in your muscles and liver. Their high nutritional value makes them one of the best sources of carbs on the planet!
Great on Your Stomach
Best of all, potatoes are very easy on your digestive system. Thanks to all the soluble and insoluble fiber contained in potatoes, you’ll find your stomach actually works more effectively to break down the food you eat. And potatoes can be good as a quick source of energy, and the fact that they’re easily digested means they’re available for anyone with gluten intolerance or digestive issues. And though they are high in carbs, there are a number of types of potatoes—such as fingerling or red potatoes—that won’t raise your blood sugar levels.