POTATOES Can Help You Lose Weight
Potatoes are the greatest ‘down to earth’ food; apart from the nutrients, they seem to put you back in place, especially after a juice fast or a hectic day in the high rise office. However, this refers only to the full potato, not the pretty packet chips found in every store around town. The oversupply and consumption of packet chips and takeaway fries needs to be mentioned first, as they are detrimental foods. They provide no health benefits, plus they rob the pockets of parents and children while robbing the body of the chance to eat proper food. Apart from those problems, the free radicals in the cooking oil used for fried chips is a major factor in the development of cancer and the added salt also contributes to heart disease.
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Chips and French fries supply 500 calories compared to baked potatoes with no oil and 1 calorie. That’s a huge difference. The reason why chips are popular is the fat content together with the additives which make them taste good and provide quick, crunchy energy. They’re also ‘cheap as chips’. Children like the energy, but next time you’re at the store hand out some honey cashews or a sesame bar and get real food value.
Back to the original topic! Potatoes are a fair carbohydrate food (17g), and depending on their preparation, they can be good or bad. The fact that baked potatoes have a very high glycemic index of 93, on their own, is cause for concern. The way to decrease this problem is to serve baked potatoes with mushrooms, onions, broccoli, cabbage and a dab of butter, sour cream or a cheese sauce. As meat supplies no carbohydrate content and potatoes supply a fair amount, it is okay to have a serve of lean meat and vegies with the baked potatoes. To lower the GI of potatoes, you can also try mashed potatoes but they are still moderately high so it is best to add the vegies mentioned above for a balanced meal and GI level. Potatoes absorb fat, so it’s best to have the chips or wedges as big as possible and to use the oil only once. Use safflower, sunflower or olive oil for frying, to reduce the free radical problem. The thin French fries absorb the most oil and have a GI of 75; potato chips have a moderate GI of 54, due to the abundance of oil. Potatoes supply low amounts of complete protein but it adds up considerably when fish or cheese is added to make a fulfilling meal. The fish and chip meal is ideal on holidays, as long as the children eat a good serve of fish before filling up on fizzy drinks and chips.
The potato has very few nutrient benefits apart from a good supply of potassium (400-500mg), fair amounts of sulphur (289mg), chlorine (155mg), silicon (88mg), phosphorus (53mg), iron (0. 06mg) and that’s all folks, but it was enough to keep a generation of people from starving in the early 19th century in Ireland! The numerous varieties of potatoes are worth discovering for their unique variations in flavour and texture and their use in specific recipes. All around the world, the potato is used in local recipes; it’s the food of nations. It supplies a little of this, a little of that and great quantities can be consumed to provide a storehouse of energy. In Ireland, an average 3.5kg a day were eaten ‘alone’ for years! Potatoes supply no vitamin A, so if you can find a carrot, we’ll all be better off; a small amount of vitamin C (10-20mg), so add a slice of capsicum; and not many B vitamins, so add a yeast extract gravy and you’re nearly home. Enjoy the ‘apple of the earth’!
NOTE: All amounts in this blog are measured in milligrams (mg) per 100 grams, unless stated otherwise.
GLYCEMIC CALORIES – total: 26 kcal. Per 100 grams.
INDEX: 75 Calories from: Carb: 23 Protein: 2 Fat: 1