One of the biggest questions that I come across is whether or not white potatoes are good for you. Another question that I see around the web is whether or not white potatoes are good for losing weight? or is it better than sweet potatoes?
Yes it’s true, white potatoes gets a bad rep from french fries, potato chips, curly fries etc., but it’s also not as bad as people say it is. In this article, I’ll go through the nutrition value of potato and do some comparisons to answer some common questions.
White Potatoes are filled with carbs
Yes, no doubt white potatoes are carby and filled with starch, but if you’re someone that is lean, active, and can tolerate a decent amount of carbs, then it’s still a better solution than grains. There isn’t a single diet or eating pattern that works for everyone. If you’re somebody that cannot tolerate carbs well, then you should avoid potatoes, but for all the others, it’s fine to consume them.
One thing that people have to understand is that carbs don’t necessary make you fat. It’s over consumption of calories in general that does. Carbohydrates as a macronutrient aren’t dangerous at all, matter of fact most of us actually needs carbs. The real problem with carbs is the toxins that often come packaged with them, like the gluten in wheat which makes it hard for us to digest certain foods.
So when it comes to choosing your carbs, potatoes is actually a safe and good option. Potatoes do not contain any of those toxins. As I mentioned above, everyone reacts to different foods differently. If you’re on a keto diet or if you have diabetes, then it is necessary to avoid them. Personally I love potatoes, but I can’t have them everyday.
Another thing that I hear a lot is that potatoes is pure starch and empty calories, which is also untrue. There are a lot more to potato than just the starch content. Let’s take a look at the nutrition value behind a normal white potato without the skin:
Carbs: 43 g
Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 4 g
Fat: 0.2 g
Vitamin C: 20 mg
Magnesium: 50 mg
Potassium: 782 mg
Copper: 0.43 mg
That doesn’t seem bad at all. It is carby, but again it’s still a lot healthier than baked goods which is truly empty calories. Potatoes actually can help keep you full for longer due to the carb content that it contains and it’s a great way to replenish your glycogen stones after a hard workout. It makes a good post workout meal.
Potatoes itself contains a good amount of potassium which is necessary for your organs, heart, and blood to function correctly.
One medium-sized baked potato that includes the skin contains approximately 163 calories, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database. Leaving off the skin lowers the calorie count to 145. Potatoes and carbs itself won’t make you gain weight. Usually it’s what you add with the potato that makes it higher in calories. This includes adding sour cream, deep frying, adding butter etc. A plain baked potato isn’t a bad option and it’s a good complex carb to consume. Here’s a picture showcasing the different calorie value in white potatoes depending on how you cook it.
Sweet potatoes are more healthy than white potatoes
I love my sweet potatoes and I personally tend to choose sweet potatoes over white potatoes, but that isn’t because white potatoes are anymore nutritious than sweet potatoes. The main reason why I choose sweet potatoes over white potatoes is because it taste pretty darn good. I hear this argument a lot but sometime this is like comparing apple and oranges. At the end of the day both of these foods can be cooked in junkie ways that make it bad for your body. Let’s compare both of them in their plain forms without adding oil and other stuff that makes it junkie.
This chart pretty much breaks down the nutrition value behind both sweet potatoes and white potatoes. Here are the highlights that we can learn from the chart:
- White potatoes win for Vitamin C, but the real standout is the sweet potato’s unquestioned dominance of Vitamin A. This is why a lot of people say that sweet potatoes are more healthy than white potatoes.
- Sweet potatoes actually have more carbs than white potatoes.
- White potatoes have more protein than sweet potatoes, but I would never use white potatoes as a way to fill up my protein macros. It’s just not enough for the portion.
- Sweet potatoes have more sugar than white potatoes – Now, one thing to note about this is that the sugar in sweet potatoes are fructose and the ratio of fructose:glucose is higher in sweet potatoes. This is important because glucose is easily absorbed into the blood stream for instant energy.
Now outside of this chart there are a lot more comparison data that we can dive into. White potatoes have around double the content of magnesium and potassium. Going by the NHMRC nutrient reference values, 100g of potato (about 1 large new potato) provides ~27% of your daily requirements for potassium. This will help you with your sodium and potassium balance. A lot of people that wonder why they’re eating well and staying lean but have a puffy face. This could be because of an imbalance in potassium/sodium.
But white potatoes have a high glycemic index (GI)…
When comparing white and sweet potatoes, many people also like to point out that white potatoes have a very high glycemic index. Glycemic index is a measure of how much a food increases blood glucose. Boiled white potatoes had a GI of 78, while boiled sweet potatoes had a GI of 63, but this goes back to the fructose:glucose ratio that I mentioned above in the highlights.
One more thing I wanted to mention is that sweet potatoes have a higher calcium content than white potatoes. Most people only think that they can get calcium from milk and dairy product, now this is a good alternative :).
The conclusion is that sweet potatoes aren’t actually decisively more nutritious than their white counterparts. Both are good carb sources as long as you don’t add extra stuff to it.
Can I lose weight while eating white potatoes?
Oh man, the holy grail question. The answer is yes. Yes, you can lose weight while eating white potatoes. What most people need to understand is that weight loss is all about calories in vs calories out. If you’re eating white potatoes in moderation, then yes you can lose weight with it. I was looking around the web and came across this video of a man named Andrew Taylor who lost 94 pounds by only eating potatoes.
How can I lose weight while eating so many carbs?
Carbs itself doesn’t make you fat. It’s the over consumption of calories and carbs in general that will make you fat. Eating a low-carb and high-fat diet is clearly not the only way lose weight, just a very effective and often pleasurable way to do it. At the end of the day, low carb is just another way of a calorie deflect. By consuming more fat, you will feel full for longer which helps you cut back on all the calories that you will normally consume from starch.
Remember, no matter what you’re eating keep it in moderation and the weight loss will kick in. No need to overthink it.
Here’s another discussion that was posted on Paleo Hacks from a guy who was struggling to lose weight for the longest time, but after only consuming potatoes, he was able to drop 10 pounds. The conclusion from that article is that he was able to lose weight because he ate fewer calories than he did before by cutting out fats. Don’t be confused though, fats aren’t bad for you either. That is a myth, matter of fact fats is necessary for the body to function, but i’ll go over that in a future article.
The biggest problem with me and consuming potatoes is that I cannot eat white potatoes without any type of seasoning. I like to keep the condiments low by just adding some basic salt and pepper. If I load it up with butter, sour cream, and ketchup then it might go over my calorie limit.
White potatoes are considered a safe food to eat and it’s always good to consume them in moderation. They are considered to be a healthy food to eat as long as it is not in junk food form. In fact, they are one of the “complete protein” foods which are foods that contain protein outside of animal meat. White potatoes can give you the energy to bypass your day and push through your workouts. Just remember everything in moderation. I would also never recommend eating just potatoes alone. Always try to mix in some fats and protein on your dish for a well balanced and healthy meal.
That ends it. What about you guys? Do you consume white potatoes? What are your experience with it? Would love to hear from ya!
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