All large populations of trim, healthy people throughout verifiable human history, have obtained the bulk of their calories from starch – Dr. John McDougall, MD
I grew up in Indiana – meaning I was a Meat & Potatoes kinda guy.
Now that I’m a Brand New Vegan – the meat and cheese had to go, but thankfully I can still have my potatoes! And practicing a Starch Based Vegan Diet means I can have all the potatoes I can eat!
- But potatoes are bad for you
- Potatoes have a high glycemic value
- Potatoes make my blood sugar spike
- Potatoes are carbs!
- But I’m Diabetic!
Heard these before? These seem to be the standard opinions from many different sources.
I was browsing the internet one morning and ran across this particular statement on a website (blog) ironically called Strange But True:
Potatoes are pure starch and have almost no nutritional value. Add in bacon bits, sour cream, butter, etc and they quickly become one of the worst possible things you could eat.
No wonder potatoes have such a bad wrap!
Allow me to enlighten you, dear readers, on the BENEFITS of the wondrous tubers we call spuds.
Contrary to popular belief, potatoes are an extremely nutrient-rich vegetable and very healthy for you. They contain no fat, no sodium, and no cholesterol.
It’s not the Potato that is so bad for us – it’s all the unhealthy bacon, sour cream, and butter we usually top them with that makes them so bad. Or the fact that the majority of potatoes we eat are deep-fried in the form of French Fries or Potato Chips.
THAT’S what makes them so unhealthy.
Fortunately we can fix that by changing our tactics.
Like making baked French Fries without any oil, like these Crispy Oven Baked French Fries (which happens to be my most popular recipe to date.)
Or top your potatoes with healthier fixin’s like soups, salsa, or fat-free gravy instead.
Potatoes are full of vitamins and nutrients we need. Don’t let anyone tell you they are unhealthy. As Dr McDougall says, people have thrived on starches for thousands of years. They fill us up, give us energy, and provide virtually every nutrient we need, even Protein.
One large baked russet potato has 8 grams of protein, or 14 percent of men’s and 17 percent of women’s daily allowances. A cup of steamed spinach or cooked corn on the side will add even more.
There are many ways to get enough protein on a Plant-based diet.
Even from Potatoes.
Potassium is a mineral that is part of every body cell and is a powerful dietary factor that may help lower blood pressure. Unfortunately, few Americans are getting the recommended 4700 milligrams per day of potassium they need.
One medium potato with skin provides 18% of the recommended daily value (DV) per serving of Potassium. Potatoes rank highest for potassium content among the top 20 most frequently consumed raw vegetables and fruits .
In fact, potatoes provide one of the most affordable and concentrated sources of potassium – more than bananas, tomatoes, broccoli and oranges.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant stabilizing free radicals, thus helping prevent cellular damage. It aids in collagen production; assists with iron absorption; and helps heal wounds and keep your gums healthy. Vitamin C may also help support the body’s immune system.
Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C (45% of the DV), which is more vitamin C than one medium tomato (40% DV) or sweet potato (30% DV). Most of the vitamin C and potassium in potatoes are found in the flesh. The fiber is found in the skin.
Dietary fiber is a complex carbohydrate and is the part of the plant that cannot be digested and absorbed in the bloodstream. This insoluble Fiber is what keeps your bowels moving properly – and as we all know – pooping is a good thing .
The soluble portion of the fiber may help with weight loss as it makes you feel full longer. Research has shown it may also help lower blood cholesterol.
One medium potato with the skin provides 8% of the daily value per serving . Just remember the fiber is in the skin – so scrub away to clean the skin, but don’t peel it or you’re losing out on all the fiber.
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that plays important roles in carbohydrate and protein metabolism. It helps the body make nonessential amino acids needed to make various body proteins; it is a cofactor for several co-enzymes involved in energy metabolism; and is required for the synthesis of hemoglobin – an essential component of red blood cells.
One medium potato provides 10% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin B6.
Still Think Potatoes Are Bad?
In 2010, a man in Washington State went on an ALL POTATO diet for 60 days straight.
He ate nothing else but potatoes, 20 of them a day. Why you ask?
He was the executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission and wanted to educate the public about the nutritional value of potatoes.
No toppings, no sour cream, no cheese, no bacon – just potatoes – and maybe some seasonings or herbs for flavoring.
The results? Look at his numbers:
And even though his intention was not to lose weight, he still did.
He also significantly reduced his cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, glucose, TC/HDL ratio, and LDL/HDL ratio.
In the end, he just significantly reduced his risk for heart disease and diabetes, not by taking drugs, but by eating potatoes.
And he did it all in just 60 days!
Now don’t be crazy and go off and turn yourself into a potato because I said so . But clearly, if nothing else, this tells you that in spite of all the bad press, potatoes are a nutritious and healthy food.
Now please pass the taters 🙂