Potatoes for Healthy Weight Loss

 | Articles, Health, Nutrition  | 28 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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28 comments on “Potatoes for Healthy Weight Loss”

  1. private avatar image
    Private

    Private  |  Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

    I still eat them but as with a lot of things in my diet over the past while, I just try to eat less of them and less often. Tough not to put butter on them though….so I do 😊

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    Private

    Private  |  Minsk, Belarus

    Potatoes is a very common food in my country. I love potatoes , but try to eat them once or twice a week. I know that boiled or baked potatoes are full of nutrients. And if I should choose between potatoes or grain, I would eat potato.

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    Private

    Private  |  LIMASSOL, CYPRUS

    when i posted a photo on my facebook of a baked potato with melted chease and 3 black olives, a nutritionist made a comment that i should not eat a potato/carbs after my workout, but protein instead. also when i posted a salad with eggs and almonds she said that almonds should not be eaten after my workout, because almonds are slowly digested and i need fast disgestion protein. what is your opinion about that Zuzka ?

    • private avatar image
      Private

      Private  | 

      The best recovery is supposed to be a combination of carbs and protein. It is correct that quickly digested protein will help you recover more quickly, for example, whey protein is very quickly digested. However, your nutritionist should be asking you how YOU feel after trying out these meals/snacks after exercising and seeing how your body and mind are responding. Don’t always rely on one thing that is supposed to work for everyone. We are all individuals and our bodies have individual needs that change throughout time depending on many factors. The most important thing you can do is listen to your body, and eat things you enjoy!

      • private avatar image
        Private

        Private  |  LIMASSOL, CYPRUS

        Thank you Jenny. I agree with you 🙂

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          Private

          Private  | 

          Hope you’re feeling great!

  4. private avatar image
    Private

    Private  | 

    I found interesting that often potatoes get credit for vitamin C but vitamin C destroyes with heat and not many of us like to eat raw potatoes 🙂 But I’ve also come across that the starch in boiled and then cooled potato turns into resistant starch that is good for your gut bacteria. Sometimes I make potato salad, but not with mayo, just a table spoon of olive oil as a fat source.

  5. private avatar image
    Private

    Private  | 

    I started to modify my diet around may 2016, with the help of a nutritionist who is helping me balance my diet not only in order to lose weight but mostly to be more healthy on several levels (regular blood tests etc.). Of course, the first thing she told me to do is cut way back on sugars and unhealthy processed carbs. Also, if I want to eat carbs, it has to be between 11am and 6pm, in order to control blood sugar levels and prevent the spikes and downs (which will happen more if you eat too much sugar in the morning, apparently – I’m still allowed certain fruits like pears or apples though), but also to help me get a better rest at night (because if you eat sweets in the evening, your sleep will not be as efficient). So anyway, she told me about potatoes’ high glycemic index and it made me so sad because POTATOES COME ON. Since then, and because I have a goal to lose that persistant belly fat, I’ve totally stopped eating them. Reading this might get me back to a potato or two once in a while, obviously at lunch rather than diner ! Yay !

  6. private avatar image
    Private

    Private  | 

    Hi Zuzka! Will you ever come out with more power yoga dvd’s? I love them and want to do more but can’t join your zgym yet. I wasn’t sure where to ask my question, sorry 😄

    Thank you!!

    • private avatar image
      Private

      Private  |  Los Angeles, CA, USA

      HI Ellie, I will not be doing any more DVD’s. ZGYM is now my main focus and I have already over 50 power yoga workouts in the ZGYM.

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    Private

    Private  | 

    Hi Z, I guess yes you’re right about people’s perception of potatos due to various low Carb diets. I myself have almost restricted them but that was since i also ate too much pasta…so it was a big halt to carbs but now since I was on Keto for couple months I am off that now and just doing healthy carbs around 30-90grams and fats 60-100grams so yeah I’m probably gaining weight again since the fat intake is still similar to Keto. So I’ve totally put fattening products on things like Mini potato which as per your diet is less desirable. Once i started eating fat-it is my new delicious addiction!

  8. private avatar image
    Private

    Private  |  Tempe, AZ, USA

    My naturopathic physician recommends eating them boiled, then cooked off in the refrigerator. Then they turn into resistant starch and won’t spike blood sugars. I will toss them with herbs, olive oil and lemons. They are great as a prebiotic in this cold form.

  9. private avatar image
    Private

    Private  | 

    I replaced white potatoes with sweet potatoes. Yum!!

  10. private avatar image
    Private

    Private  | 

    I always eat potatoes, whether it’s sweet potatoes or the regular basic ones.

    After every workout I add potatoes to my post-workout meal. That keeps me away from too much processed food.

    Loved to hear I’m on the right track,

    Thanks Zuzka

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