Potatoes get a bit of a bad rap. Lately, I’ve come to realize how much I love a baked potato now and again as a satisfying side dish to a lean protein and tossed salad. But, in a post-Atkins world, that would seem like a diet taboo. Not so, says a new study.
“When it comes to weight loss, it is not about eliminating a certain food or food groups. Rather, it is reducing calories that count,” said study leader Britt Burton-Freeman of the University of California, Davis.
The study’s leader went on to say that not only is there no evidence that a healthfully prepared potato is bad for your diet, it can actually be a part of your weight loss plan.
Here’s how the study worked:
Researchers examined 86 overweight men and women over a 12-week period, measuring the effects of a reduced-calorie modified glycemic index diet. They also added potatoes into the mix.
Three randomly selected groups were formed. They each had a diet that included five to seven servings of potatoes each week. All three groups lost weight.
The glycemic index, or GI, is a measure of the effects of carbohydrates on your blood sugar levels. It gives a rating to each food, from 0-100. The idea is to avoid foods with a high index rating, since they are digested quickly and leave you feeling unsatisfied following a meal or snack.
Foods with a high glycemic index value also tend to raise your blood sugar levels quicker and higher as compared to the lower glycemic index foods.
This study seems to expose a crack in the GI system, since baked potatoes rank high on the GI scale. One medium-size potato (with the nutritious skin intact) only contains 110 calories per serving, with more potassium (620 grams) than a banana, and almost half the daily value of vitamin C (45 percent). Not to mention it has lots of fiber, and unless you add unhealthy toppings, potatoes don’t contain fat, sodium or cholesterol.
Try some of these great potato recipes!