Are Potatoes Good For The Diet?

March 12, 2020
Potatoes are an excellent food surrounded by myths and falsities. They provides many nutrients and can benefit our diets, the question is how to cook them.

Do you want to know the benefits of potatoes for our usual diet? Is it true that they don’t provide us with important nutrients? Or can they make us overweight if we eat them regularly?

These are only some of the doubts surrounding this food. Here we’ll explain everything about potatoes and how they can benefit your health.

Myths about potatoes

In principle, you need to know about the various myths about potatoes. Among the most common is that they’ll make you gain weight because they’re mainly made up of sugars.

However, potatoes contain complex carbohydrates, that are more easily absorbed, reduce spikes in blood sugar and improve intestinal transit by providing fiber.

Having potatoes in the diet is not just healthy but also easy to incorporate into our existing diet. If you’re trying to lose weight, a properly cooked potato will help you with it.

The truth about potatoes

Potatoes in a basket.
Another myth about potatoes is that they do not provide important nutrients.

Potatoes are a type of herbaceous plant that belongs to the Solanaceae family. There are countless myths about this tuber. One of these is that they don’t provide the body with essential nutrients.

However, the following percentages show the nutrients that potatoes provide for the daily recommended allowance for an adult. In every 100 g (4 oz) of potato you can find:

  • Magnesium (6 %)
  • Calcium (1 %)
  • Phosphorus (8 %)
  • Iron (14 %)
  • Potassium (9 %)
  • Vitamin B1 (6 %), B2 (2 %), B3 (7 %), B6 (19 %)
  • Vitamin C (33 %)

Discover: Daily vitamins you need in your 20s, 30s and 40s

Preparation is key

The potato only has 15 g (0.5oz) of carbohydrates. This is a very low figure when compared with other foods such as lentils  – 48 g (2 oz), pasta – 70 g (3 oz), chickpeas – 49 g (2 oz), brown rice – 81 g (3.2 oz), beans – 41 g (1.8 oz) and bread – 47 g (2 oz).

Having said that, it’s normal to wonder why potatoes are so fatty if they contain so few carbohydrates. The problem isn’t with this food as such, but in the way you prepare it.

If we choose an unhealthy way to cook them, then we’re only adding calories. Pay attention to the numbers: 100 grams (4 oz) of raw potato provide 73 calories, roasted provide 100 and steamed or boiled, only 75.

Instead, 100 grams(4 oz) of frozen pre-fried potatoes contain 270 calories, while the same amount of homemade fries has 290 cal and a bag of fries has 538 cal.

Why is the change in calories so drastic? Cooking methods drastically change the nutritional value of potatoes. Frying potatoes can reduce the water content of the potato, meaning it will absorb more oil; the more oil absorbed, the more calories will be added.

You may be interested: Which Oil Is Healthiest for Frying?

Healthy ways of using potatoes in the diet

Potatoes in baskets.
When cooked properly, potatoes can bring great benefits to your diet

If cooked properly, potatoes can greatly benefit your diet.

In a healthy diet, the benefits of potatoes can be numerous. As we’ve seen, they provide essential nutrients, fiber and complex sugars that improve our health. Intestinal flora, blood glucose, and vitamin enrichment are just some of the benefits of potatoes.

Therefore, including this food into a healthy diet is highly recommended.

Avoid frying, which increases calorie intake and reduces the benefits of the potato.

You can enjoy this food in many ways. Whether it’s the main part of the dish or an accompaniment, potatoes are an essential part of our diet. In any case, if you have any doubts, consult your professional nutritionist about whether or not it can bring benefits for your health.

  • Zhang Z., Venn BJ., Monro J., Mishra S., Subjective satiety following meals incroporating rice, pasta and potato. Nutrients, 2018.
  • Shah B., Thadani U., Trans fatty acids linked to myocardial infarction and stroke: what is the evidence? Trends Cardiovasc Med, 2019. 29 (5): 306-310.