Experts are split into two camps when it comes to potatoes. The pro-potato people like that it has some fiber, vitamin C and potassium. They point out that potatoes are salt and fat free and a 4 ounce serving has only 100 calories. Filling and bland, the pro-potato people maintain that their bad rep comes from the oil, butter, salt, cheese aand cream that are used prepare them. Its these other ingredients and cooking techniques that make potatoes such a bad actor. This means french fries, potato chips, mashed with cream and butter, au gratin with cheese and my personal favorite the “fully loaded” baked potato.
The anti-potato camp are concerned with potatoes’ high glycemic index. In a scale of 1-100, potatoes are about a 95. Just about the only food higher is a loaf of french bread. This means that potatoes spike blood sugar to unhealthy levels. This encourages the body to produce extra insulin that is stored as fat. At the same time, the swings in blood sugar levels increase appetite– one of the reasons you can devour an entire bag of chips or a mound of fries. And keep in mind that high blood sugar levels are linked to increased skin aging.
The anti-potato crowd got a big boost this summer from a new study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. Over 25 years this study looked at the eating patterns of 120,000 men and women to see which foods were associated with weight gain and which were associated with weight loss. And the one food with the highest link to obesity was, wait for it, the potato. When I first heard this, I thought of course, its those chips and fries. It turns out than even plain baked and boiled potatoes were associated with obesity. Not good news for Idaho.
Happily, this info packed study also identified the eight food that are associated with weight loss. And there were a few surprises in them that I will be posting about them in two weeks.