Potatoes for Healthy Weight Loss

 | Articles, Health, Nutrition  | 23 Comments

potatoes

We all know that processed carbs like white flour cookies, frozen pizza, fast food burger buns, and donuts (just to name a few) aren’t good choices when we’re trying to lose weight. Those kinds of carbohydrates are chock full of empty calories (high calorie count with little to no useful nutritional content) and cause inflammation and unhealthy spikes in blood sugar.

The reason food like this makes us gain weight is because they usually contain more calories than we are able to burn in a day. Excess calories are stored in the body as fat. Additionally, because these kinds of foods contain so little nutrition, most people find themselves craving additional meals to fill the body’s requirements and even more calories are ingested. Eating junk food doesn’t set us up for successful workouts either. Blood sugar spikes and subsequent crashes leave you feeling exhausted and miserable. And chronic inflammation causes illnesses, fatigue, even heart attacks and strokes.

Ok, so carbs are bad. Right? Not necessarily! Let’s talk about potatoes.

In this post-Atkins world, lots of us think of anything containing a high amount of carbohydrates as bad. And potatoes are mostly all carbs, which, when consumed, can cause a spike in blood sugar (they’re high on the glycemic index). But there’s a big difference between potato carbs and white flour carbs. Let’s take a look at the nutritional profile and health benefits of a potato.

  • A baked or boiled potato is anywhere from 100-200 calories per potato, depending on the size and kind. Compare that to one small Krispy Kreme, which comes in at right around 170 calories, or one cup of semolina flour pasta, which is around 180 calories.
  • “Potatoes are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including potassium, vitamin C, folate, and vitamin B6.”
  • Potatoes contain antioxidants (mostly in the skin) and may reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • A medium sized potato contains “4 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein. In fact, you could eat only potatoes and still meet your basic protein needs”.
So, potatoes, although high in starchy carbohydrates and high on the glycemic index, are lower in calories than processed grains and sugars and much more filling. Additionally, they contain lots of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, making them a good meal choice when it comes to carbs. When we eat a boiled fresh potato we feel full and energized, not cranky and sluggish.

So, how does that factor into weight loss?

First off, whether a potato is a good meal choice when you’re trying to lose weight mostly depends on the coking method. Steaming, baking, or boiling are all good choices because you’re not adding any additional calories, fat, sugar, etc. You’ll want to avoid frying your potatoes in lots of oil or adding dairy (cheese, sour cream, butter) after the potato is cooked. Obviously processed potatoes should be avoided at all costs. Chips, french fries, tater tots, etc. are almost always saturated with oil, salt, and additional chemical preservatives. None of those are helpful when we’re considering weight loss or feeling our best.

A good example of a solid weight loss meal that includes potatoes would be a medium sized boiled fresh potato, salmon fillet, and lots of delicious green veggies. That combo is bursting with nutrients, protein, fiber, good carbs, healthy fats, lower in calories, and incredibly filling and satisfying. And that can help us to exercise longer, harder, and better, so we’re gaining muscle and burning more calories.

Now, if your meal plan is mostly made up of “meats and greens” and you’re already meeting your weight, muscle, and fitness level goals AND you feel satisfied, healthy, and full of energy, I’m not suggesting that you start eating a bunch of potatoes. But I do think that potatoes can be a good option someone for who’s trying to makeover their unhealthy diet and lose weight.

What do you think about potatoes? Have you considered them an enemy? Has this information changed your mind? Are you someone who regularly eats potatoes and feels they’re a good staple to have in your diet? As always, I’d love to hear about your experiences. Let me know how you feel about potatoes in the comments.

In good health,

Sources: AuthorityNutritionPrecision NutritionCalorie King,

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Comments



23 comments on “Potatoes for Healthy Weight Loss”

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    Private  |  MD, USA

    Hey, all. I have read that post-workout, you want to stay away from foods that are high in fat and also foods that are high in fiber. Again, this is directly post-workout. What do you suggest immediately post-workout as a recommended meal, Zuzka? I often make a protein shake (with Jay Robb’s protein powder) 1/4 cup of mixed frozen berries, a cup of almond milk and sometimes a scoop of almond butter or sometimes peanut butter. Is that a good post-workout smoothie?

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    Private  |  Felgueiras, Porto, Portugal

    Thank’s to bring Potatoes as a subject content for us, Zuzka! I eat potatoes normally when I do squats, deadlifts or in general when I do lower body workouts, because I want to fuel my body with energy to do more (endurance) and better routines. Normally I eat sweet potatoes because of the quantity of vitamins and minerals, also to eat something sweet and avoid cravings other foods. I baking them without fat or sugar and storage at the fridge. I love prepare them with cinnamon and coconut oil, this is my favorite way to eat sweet potatoes.

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    Private  |  Nancy, France

    I switched regular potatoes with sweet potatoes, but I miss potatoes. So I have been eating them again. I am so glad to read this article. I live in France, but in Germany they eat boiled potatoes with every meal and they do not have a weight problem so that is enough proof for me! Thank you Zuzka 🙂

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    Private  | 

    I love potatoes! I bake regular potatoes and spray on a little olive oil and sprinkle Bragg’s salt free herb seasoning and top with fat free Greek yogurt, and yum! Sometimes I add some nutritional yeast too. As a side dish, I also roast red potatoes (love when I get an heirloom colorful mix), with olive oil and Bragg’s salt free herb seasoning, and add shredded smoked goat cheddar cheese right before serving….sooo good. If I don’t want dairy, I use nutritional yeast instead of the cheese. I also love sweet potatoes and bake them, then top with cinnamon and low fat cottage cheese – it really satisfies a sweet tooth. I also like them topped with coconut butter when I don’t want dairy. Coconut butter is also great on brown rice cakes, for anyone that hasn’t tried it yet 🙂

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      Private  |  Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada

      Wow you know how to cook… OK that sounds flippant and fake I mean it though and, I am so very excited…! I love your comment. I will be hopefully trying one of those ways you’ve mentioned in preparing our potatoes, thanx.
      Tammy.

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      Private  |  Texas, USA

      Jenny, those are great recipes ideas. Thanks. I’ll have to try them all except the goats cheese which it don’t like. I’ll try gouda, I love that cheese. 😊

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    Private  |  Texas, USA

    I grew up eating potatoes because they are an inexpensive staple and easy to grow. When I was a scrawny little college kid on my own, would have probably starved to death if it weren’t for cheap bag of potatoes. I tried giving them up when I tried the paleo diet couple years ago but I just couldn’t do it. I only eat them around 4-5 times a month so I think that’s pretty okay. My grandmother made the best mashed potatoes ever and taught me her recipe. I make them once a month or so. I love different types potatoes so there’s always a variety not just your plain old baked russet.

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    Private  | 

    Great news, I love potatoes! I am about to try purple potatoes and share my thoughts at my website.

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    Private  | 

    The picture is probably for illustration purpose only but it shows skinned potatoes, taking away some nutrition and fiber packed in the skin.

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    Private  |  Colorado Springs, CO

    If you previously eat a green salad (iceberg, romaine, spinach….a green veggie ) as an appetizer, then followed by steamed potatoes with protein, it will reduce the Glycemic index of the potato from high to medium ( like a sweet potato ) !!!! So go for it….always with moderation though 🙂

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    Private  |  San Diego, CA, USA

    Oh this makes me so happy 🙂

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